Goodbye routine, hello rhythm; how embracing rhythm can grow your businessDec 21, 2022
Morning routine this.
Bedtime routine that.
Routine is all the rage.
But, routine ignores your energy ebbs and flows.
Let me introduce you to my good friend rhythm.
In today's newsletter, we'll talk about:
How they're difference
Why rhythm is a better answer
How it'll change your business
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Goodbye routine, hello rhythm; how embracing rhythm can grow your business
In the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
The event is held every February 2nd and is based upon the cultural tradition that if the groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, winter will continue for six more weeks.
If the shadow is not seen, that means spring is nearing and that the winter weather will be ending soon.
Phil Connors is tasked with covering this weird tradition for his news station.
So, this story starts the morning of February 2nd.
Woken by the alarm radio, he goes to the bathroom and washes his face.
Goes downstairs and makes himself coffee.
The same day, the same people, over and over and over again.
We’ve all been there.
5 days a week waking up at the same time, going to the same place, talking to the same people, and often repeating the same conversations.
Routines are often good. They:
Reinforce good patterns
Increase our productivity
Improve our time management
But, even good routines can turn stale. And when stale, the inflexibility can create burnout and result in stalling personal and professional growth.
I’ve done this time and again myself.
I implement a new routine and stick to it for weeks at a time… no deviation.
Then, a busy day, sickness, or a bad mood results in a missed day. One missed day compounds into two, then three, then complete abandonment of the routine altogether.
All progress made is soon gone and you’re starting from ground zero again.
What if there was a better way?
I was recently reading a collection of books on the idea of the Sabbath, which is the Jewish tradition of a day of rest and worship. It’s observed each week, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.
In this, I came across the idea of the rhythms of life.
Rhythms, not routines.
A rhythm is simply a repeating pattern.
But, with its relationship with music, it has more feeling to it than routine.
The Interaction Design Institute talks about 5 types of rhythm:
The specifics of the types aren’t all that important, other than communicating the sense that rhythm has some flow to it.
With Sabbath, there 6 days of work and 1 day of rest. This rhythm is repeated week after week. With the Jewish tradition, this pattern is also repeated with crops. 6 years of planting, 1 year of rest.
We see rhythms all throughout our lives.
The annual rhythm of the calendar.
They’re even built into our biology (pulled from Healthline):
circadian rhythms: the 24-hour cycle that includes physiological and behavioral rhythms like sleeping
diurnal rhythms: the circadian rhythm synced with day and night
ultradian rhythms: biological rhythms with a shorter period and higher frequency than circadian rhythms
infradian rhythms: biological rhythms that last more than 24 hours, such as a menstrual cycle
2 types of rhythm
When I think about personal and professional life, I put the types of rhythms into two categories:
Time-based are based on what goes on around us.
When we put these rhythms in place we’re acknowledging our limits and putting guardrails in place to avoid reaching them.
But also, we then unlock a new level of performance.
When I’ve practiced Sabbath in my life, I’ve seen an uptick in performance for the next week.
It’s like the break clarifies thinking and renews energy (who would have have thunk it, huh?).
Feeling-based are an acknowledgement of our physical and mental state.
It’s listening to what’s going on around you and adapt your output to those conditions.
Have a lot going on at home? Work less and take care of the family.
Have a big project coming due? Push hard to complete it, with rest at the end.
Not converting sales as you expect? Be patient because it’s a rhythm of life and an opportunity to focus on something else.
The positives of rhythm
So, how does this apply to you and your business?
A few things.
Rhythm creates room for creativity
We’re often so close to our limits that we don’t allow for breaks.
It’s when we allow room that our creativity flourishes.
By not allowing room, we’re focused solely on measurable outputs and today.
Rhythm helps you and your team bring their best
The reality is tired people don’t perform well.
Overworked employees make more mistakes and are measurably less productive.
Rhythm honors the natural ebbs and flows of growth
Constant pushing leads to burnout and relapse.
When working out, you don’t lift the heaviest weights 7 days a week.
You naturally peak and then rest, allowing your muscles to recover.
By acknowledging rhythm, you’re acknowledging that each end of the spectrum (work and rest) is needed for growth.
Rhythm improves happiness and well-being
Studies have shown that working less makes you happier.
When you abandon all hobbies and work becomes all consuming you lose the balance that makes the extremes enjoyable. Work hard, play hard right?
Rhythm encourages connection
When we acknowledge rhythm, we acknowledge that not all work is done with your head down.
By taking a 15 minute break every hour, you have conversations “in the hall” at the office, that result in deeper connection with your coworkers.
It’s when you let that conversation go long, refusing the pressure to rush back to work, that you really connect with those around you.
What are some ways we can apply this?
Without intentional action, we will fall into our same patterns. So, what can we commit to now to embrace the concept of rhythm in our personal lives and the lives of our coworkers?
Take breaks. Build in breaks to your day, week, and year. Plan these in advance and stick to them.
Limit your hours. Stick to an 8 hour day. As you work more, our return on your hour get worse and worse.
Encourage connection. This has to be natural, but you can also schedule regular lunches and coffees that send the signal that connection is okay.
Build in fun activities. Fun creates a mental break and builds on connection.
Practice openness. Be open with your experiences and schedule. When you need a break, tell them. When people are comfortable in the environment they’re in, they’re more willing to acknowledge the rhythms of life.
The reality is there are ebbs and flows in life that aren’t acknowledged by routines.
Sometimes we need to override these flows with a routine, but other times we need to acknowledge them.
Embedded in routine is a stiffness… the moment we get off track the system breaks down.
Embedded in rhythm is a resilience… the moment we get off track we’re still “on track.”
They work best when they work together.
While not a strict money concept, I think this does impact our money.
Constant pushing can lead to:
A lack of flexibility in the process
Allowing a flex can make you more resilient and quicker to bounce back.
If anything, let this be a reminder: we want to focus on the long-term outcomes, not the short-term ones.
By allowing rhythm to be a part of your culture, you’re setting yourself and your business up for long-term, repeated wins, ultimately leading to higher profits.
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Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, and star of my two part series on fraud has been extradited to the US. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and how much time he spends in jail.
Friend of the newsletter, CJ Gustafson, recently wrote a summary of the year in 2022 SaaS fundraising and it was fascinating to see the themes and estimates of raises, valuations, etc. Check that out here.
Interested in learning more? Here are 2 ways I can help:
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See you next week,