This year’s Christmas went on record as the lowest key (a bottom C) ever as illness hit our home like freak weather, keeping us all under house arrest. My wife stayed in bed for five days, crawling out to cook on Christmas morning (I know, a hero right?) and then retreating back under the covers, having cancelled all invitations to join in with the extended family festivities.
Now it’s all over I guess most of us are sitting down and surveying the damage of 2022’s Christmas indulgences. We’re beginning to look forward to 2023 with renewed focus and, as always, we promise ourselves a new, improved routine…
Wait a minute though, a new routine? Where’s the reward in that? For me, a well managed routine alone does not excite. Just because I resolve to manage my time better in the New Year does not mean that the completed tasks will give me any more joy and yet, at this same time of year, each year, I experience a profound desire to reset my schedule…
It’s true that there are benefits of setting and sticking to a routine. Some of us are definitely more spontaneous by nature but there is a comfort in the mindlessness that routine offers. I guess the reason for this is that doing things according to a set routine requires very little conscious thought. Whatever we do routinely becomes second nature and rather than worrying about everyday stuff that we haven’t done we are freed up to focus on more complex tasks, adapt to other people and deal with the unexpected.
So routine is necessary, along with an awareness of time, but all this being said, is there something better we could promise to ourselves as entrepreneurs, leaders and business owners for the coming New Year?
You know, managing time is helpful to us as managers, but for entrepreneurs and leaders, the most important thing to manage (I feel) is your energy. Managing energy better was the reason for bringing in a four day work week at Cre8ion. The idea was to create more energy by giving more time with family, friends and a sense of freedom to explore.
The business has a rhythm that we have to get back into coming back from the break, and it takes time to get back into the groove. Ultimately, we are surrounded by rhythm. The seasons have a rhythm and the week has a rhythm around work and play. Even football players either lack rhythm or they find it, and this is then linked to their form.
You see, when we are trying to gauge our level of success we often look to routine, but actually, we need to look to rhythm. Are we on the beat? Routine can get us to move to the beat of a drum, but we need to lean into the rhythm of our heart, follow it and not get constantly distracted constantly by demands to change it.
A story should also have a rhythm. A film that has a rhythm flows and the story is memorable. It will become unwatchable when there is no rhythm to it.
So how do you get rhythm into your life?
Routine gets you there, rhythm keeps you there.
Going running requires a commitment of time and energy (a routine) but hitting a rhythm when running makes it enjoyable. As you get fitter, the routine fades and the rhythm becomes the reward. Maybe we need to be looking to find our rhythm rather than just a routine alone.
Rhythm helps us flow not flounder.
When we’re in our flow, time fades and pace has a beat to it. Routine can weigh us down, but finding rhythm can be the difference between getting the job done and truly excelling.
Rhythm is a continuum, routine requires breaks.
As a drummer, there is nothing better than hitting the beat and enjoying the moment. Routine, on the other hand, brings a burden with it because when it gets broken it makes us feel guilty, but when we find our rhythm it brings joy.
Rhythm changes, routine doesn’t
Following routine can become religious (dogmatic) and being dogmatic kills our joy. Relationship, on the other hand, promotes rhythm. Due to my wife’s illness this Christmas we changed our rhythm at home and routine lost out. We had to reject our normal Christmas routine and, although we felt a bit guilty at first, it was clear that the rhythm had to change (ie. dial down a bit). So we leaned into it and found our flow.
Routine (like time) constrains, energy and rhythm liberate.
Focus on utilising your energy and you’ll also find your rhythm. For instance, if you’re rubbish in the afternoon, find less demanding tasks for that time. When your energy is low, find a different pace. If mornings are where you smash it, then why not consider starting earlier and finishing earlier? Use your energy for different things in the afternoon, like exercise, (physical, not mental) and it may change your life!
Rhythm is the life of your business.
Your business has a rhythm and you’ll be busier at certain times of the year and less so at others. Recognising this rhythm over a period of time facilitates planning and adapting. If we are planning to scale we need to consider this. We all want to scale BUT only 4% of businesses hit 7 figures. Rhythm becomes a priority when you want to scale for long term success. Ask yourself the questions: What is out of sync? What is in sync? Doubling down on rhythm allows you to tune up the engine, especially if you’ve been running it a while. Like a car that needs a service, you’ve been moving forward but it hasn’t been a smooth ride!
This Christmas has been odd. We missed family. It sucked. Yet our team, Team Irwin, have reconnected. Yip. Even working and schooling from home you can be in the same place but be somehow disconnected. Thankfully, our rhythm changed and, rather than get upset over routine, we leaned into it. Now as the beat gets faster again (which it will over the next week) we’ll need to pay attention to keep in step, and recognise when it is time to slow down. We have been fighting for our business for the past three years and a little downtime (even if enforced) has gone a long way to restoring our fitness. Like a boxer going back into the ring, fitness helps when taking punches. With no energy and a lack of rhythm, those punches hurt way harder than they should.
So, as you step into 2023, don’t allow routine to rob from you, align your heart with the rhythm that brings you joy and fuels your energy.
Don’t manage time, manage energy.
Don’t just be a slave to routine, follow your rhythm.
Time and routine serve the moment, energy and rhythm create momentum.
Contact us and become a movement in 2023. We’ll help you to ensure that you have your finger on the pulse.