I’m Dekera Greene Rodriguez, and I am the owner of Grinding Out. I started this blog to catalog my journey–my grind–to entrepreneurism. I’m a lawyer working towards becoming a non-lawyer entrepreneur, so I perfectly understand working during the day and grinding in the early mornings and late evenings to realize your goals.
I’m also a wife, mom, and stepmom, so balancing family while working and pursuing a goal is no easy feat. I’ve learned quickly that it requires sacrifices, honesty with myself, and importantly, a system that functions to allow me to accomplish what I need to, in order to grind, and that respects my home life and necessity for work. This is why developing productivity strategies is not just an idea to live by, but a necessity.
It’s tough to feel like you’ve done everything you were supposed to do, but you still feel like you haven’t yet tapped into your most important work. It’s even more difficult when you don’t have a handle yet on what practical steps to implement in order to begin creating the life you desire. You’ve read all of the books, and blog posts, and you study the Stoics and Benjamin Franklin, but when it comes to practical application to your own life, seeing something that reflects how you live and think, and ways to improve them both you feel like you’re at a loss. This is how I felt.
Until I figured out how to make the advice digestible and applicable to my set of circumstances, I was at a loss. I learned how to take what worked for me, and to learn from what didn’t. It made me acknowledge my limits, and push back on places that I thought were set limits, which allowed for growth. Most importantly, it made me happy, because I finally figured out a way to create in a way that was uniquely important to me.
I believe that my most important work is still to come. Even though I have achievements that reflect a path that I chose earlier, the designs that are closest to my heart are still left to be fulfilled. For me, this means becoming a better writer. For you, it might mean something else. But figuring out strategies that are time-tested, yet also practical is what this journey is about.
Creating your best work, and figuring out how to create space to do that work are two critical approaches I explore here. Because knowing what you are purposed to do is not enough, determining how to make that happen in an already full life is what Grinding Out aims to uncover. In this respect, it requires delving deep and studying habits, routines, perspectives, productivity, decision-making, and other core concepts in order to produce great work.
When I wasn’t productive, I was a mess. It was difficult to check things off of my list, because I had not clearly identified what I wanted to accomplish. I had these long to-do lists, that didn’t articulate how discrete tasks led to a larger goal, and a list of goals that only described some vague idea of where I was supposed to be, based on time and money metrics that I had conceived of years before.
I tried to figure out what successful people whom I admired in different areas: sports, art, literature, music, leaders of liberation and freedom movements, etc., all had in common. I thought, there must be this one mystical thing that I am missing out on, that’s standing in the way of me realizing my goals. So I continued to read biographies and autobiographies of all of these people I esteemed in one regard or another, I searched the references to their Wikipedia articles, and found other business and success books, articles, and blogs, to figure out what that amorphous success gene was, until I realized that it was not just one thing–and it wasn’t magic.
When I recognized that all of these individuals had success routines and beliefs, processes and systems to ensure their productivity, certain habits that they had engaged in for years, I recognized that it really was just emphasizing the simple stuff, just to the nth degree. Since I’m a recovering obsessive goal setter–I saw that perfectionism really stood in the way of me accomplishing my goals, because it assumed that there was only one perfect way to realize them, and that I had the ability to perfectly execute in every endeavor. Because I knew that wasn’t the truth, I was already setting myself up for failure.
I recognized that a more pragmatic approach required me to accept my limitations, but to work towards growing beyond them. This is what I aim to do here–discipline myself by engaging regularly and figuring out solutions that may or may not work and investigating why. I like to deconstruct others’ success by looking at their process and borrowing jewels to incorporate into my own, and while in the process of doing that, I will share anything that can add to your own grind, since we are all grinding out, trying to achieve our goals, bit by bit.