3 Signs You’re Out of Rhythm in Your Business

Cleaning my house used to take the word “CHORE” to a whole new level. I consider myself to be an organized person… but throw two kids, a husband, and a business into the mix, and even the Marie Kondos of the world are left feeling like their homes are flipped upside down regularly.

I used to clean my house all at once. It was usually when the house was past the point of no return and I simply couldn’t STAND it anymore!

I would dedicate an entire weekend to… 

  • Purging
  • Sorting
  • Wiping
  • and vacuuming the entire place in one fell swoop. 

In the end, I felt accomplished… but exhausted. This process took up so much of my time and it left me feeling like I didn’t want to see another sponge or Lysol wipe for at least 10 more weeks. 

And sometimes that’s exactly what would happen. My marathon cleaning spree left me not wanting to clean another thing. And so I would go through this vicious cycle of deep cleaning, no cleaning at all, and more deep cleaning. 

It’s not that I was BAD at mopping or “Windex-ing” or folding. I just didn’t have a system that worked. I had no RHYTHM in my cleaning routine. There had to be a more sustainable process out there because this just wasn’t working.

I came across a cleaning checklist while scrolling through Pinterest one day (see, sometimes aimless social media time can be a good thing). It recommended daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning rotations. Each task was low lift and wouldn’t have to be done again for another cycle. 

I figured: anything has to be better than what I’m currently doing! So I gave it a whirl. 

And it made all the difference. 

Now, my house is by no means perfect. BUT I have a system that works for me and my family. It is manageable, consistent, and easy to do. Gone are the days of overhauling the house and sacrificing my entire weekend to wrangle the chaos. Now I know what I need to do and when so that our household can run smoothly. 

Ditch the overwhelm, find your rhythm

Good News: Just like I wasn’t BAD at vacuuming, you’re not just “bad” at that thing in your business. You know…that thing you just CAN’T seem to keep up with. Some people steer clear of their bank statements while others dread networking. Whatever that “thing” is for you, you don’t need to write yourself off as a failure.

More good news: if you THINK you’re “bad” at it, you probably just don’t have the right rhythm in place (yet)!

It is pretty easy to identify the rhythms that are off in your business. These are usually things you put off, avoid, detest, or wish you could just hand off to someone else once and for all. 

I say this because as an entrepreneur I KNOW you aren’t lazy and I KNOW you have the tools you need to figure stuff out. 

You wouldn’t be here otherwise! 

You simply haven’t found a system that works for YOU and fits into your work and lifestyle. 

I wrote this blog post to help you… 

  • understand what rhythms are in your business
  • identify outdated or out of sync rhythms that aren’t serving you
  • paint a picture of what it could feel like to have strong rhythms in place
  • & identify the types of rhythms you can put in place for the foundational pillars of your business

How to know if you’re out of rhythm with your business

It can be tough to confront the challenges in our business. It is easier to put a band-aid on the problem in the moment and keep moving forward. But if you’re noticing issues that pop up repeatedly or you’re experiencing overwhelm in your business, it is likely because you don’t have a strong rhythm in place. In some cases, the rhythm may never have been established at all. In other cases, your business might be growing and the rhythms that were working are no longer serving you. 

Here are three ways to tell if your business is out of rhythm so you can take action and get back in sync:

  1. You avoid tending to important parts of your business because it feels daunting or overwhelming.
  2. Running your business feels like a never-ending juggling act. No matter how hard you try, you keep dropping the ball.
  3. You feel frustrated and don’t know where to start to solve the problem. 

We’ve all been there…

→ The blog post you meant to post last week is still a draft in some long-lost Google docs folder…

→ You haven’t looked at Quickbooks since tax season and can’t shake the looming feeling about your finances…

→ You try to respond to every client email but several have fallen through the cracks lately…

Sound familiar? 

You’re not alone!

With so many tasks and people to manage, it can be impossible to know where to focus your attention. Even when you do try to focus on one thing, your mind quickly gets pulled in 5 other directions. 

If this sounds like you, the answer isn’t to “try harder.” You’re already trying SO hard! 

The problem isn’t you– the challenge is you’re out of rhythm with your business. Until you pause to notice and address the many facets of your work, it will always feel like you’re playing catch up. 

What are Rhythms in Business?

Rhythms are recurring responsibilities that cycle in your business. Some rhythms may be dictated to you such as finances or marketing, while others may be more flexible or industry-specific. Basically, a rhythm is something that comes up again and again and it is essential for your business to operate, scale, and thrive. 

Thinking of these parts of your business as rhythms can be a HUGE mindset shift! It can be tough to wrap your head around. But once you stop thinking of your business as a bunch of mini fires you’re constantly trying to put out, or feeling defeated that certain responsibilities are just going to be hard forever, you can empower yourself to take ownership of your business and your life. 

Why you can’t afford to ignore the rhythms in your business

The biggest challenge I see in my work as COO and business coach is that many entrepreneurs avoid the rhythms of their business like I avoided the rhythms of house cleaning. 

They keep chugging along until they abruptly realize something is wrong. At this point, they go into solution mode and desperately give a big push to get back on track. They consider the job done and often ignore these rhythms again until another issue comes up. This becomes a vicious, unsustainable cycle that leaves many CEOs burnt out and neglecting certain foundational pieces of their business. Plain and simple, it’s a huge time-eater

Paying attention to the rhythms of your business will help you be proactive instead of REACTIVE.

It’s time to get in the rhythm of things. 

What it can feel like to be in rhythm with your business

Being in rhythm with your business starts with being intentional. When you carve out time to pay attention to, take care of, and nurture these rhythms, you set yourself up for success.

When your business is in rhythm, everything works together in a balanced, harmonious way. All of the individual rhythms start to gel together and work cohesively. It’s like a band. Each instrument has its own rhythm, and when they coordinate, the result is MUSIC, not NOISE.

Now, I’m not trying to paint a picture of rainbows and puppy dogs here. You will still encounter challenges and setbacks in your business. That’s part of the process. However, rhythms can support you through adversity

Think of the rhythms of your business as your foundation. With these pieces running smoothly, you are better able to navigate and respond to issues that arise from one day to the next. Rhythms build and maintain momentum, so if one thing falls off, it’s easier to pick up and keep moving forward.

When you’re OUT of rhythm, any small setback can feel catastrophic. When something falls off, getting it back on track is a HEAVY lift.  This becomes a snowball effect that causes everything else to spiral out of control. 

When you’re IN rhythm, you can handle anything that comes your way with a cool head and peace of mind that you have the right systems in place. 

Types of Rhythms in Business

Rhythms in business tend to occur at regular intervals. If you take the time to assess your work, you’ll notice that certain parts of your business need your attention at consistent times throughout the year. 

There are some things you need to take care of daily, others that only come up once a month, and vision-casting rhythms that you return to each and every year. 

Rather than stockpiling all these rhythms and getting overwhelmed all at once (which, let’s be honest, SO many of us do!) you can assess and plan for the consistent rhythms you experience. 

Here are some examples of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual rhythms in business:

Daily: project communications

Weekly: status updates for a client

Monthly: progress reviews, invoices, reconciling your books

Quarterly: seasonal planning

Annually: updates for pricing and policies, offers, & long term agreements 

You don’t have to let these rhythms happen to you. Stop feeling blindsided each time they pop up. It’s like cranking a Jack-in-the-box for the 100th time and expecting it NOT to frighten you like it did the last 99 times.  

Instead, planning for these rhythms will help you structure your time and schedule around these recurring responsibilities. You’ll be able to manage them with intention and strategy. You can plan proactively, rather than running your business reactively from one day to the next hoping (fingers crossed!) you can keep up with it all.

Rhythm Categories

When first taking inventory of your unique business rhythms, I suggest entrepreneurs focus on these categories. Each category has its own rhythm types (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and/or annually).  Some categories may have combinations of all of these rhythms, while others may only utilize one or two depending on the types of tasks that fall under that umbrella. 

When implementing rhythms, I suggest choosing one category to focus on at a time. Ideally, focus on the category you avoid or resist the most because this is likely your biggest area of need. Getting this category in rhythm will have the most positive impact on your business. If you try to tackle everything at once, you’ll be left feeling more overwhelmed than you did when you started! When you solidify one rhythm, you can steadily layer on additional rhythms as you go.

The 8 essential rhythm categories:

  • Finances
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Communication
  • Engagement
  • Creative Time
  • Strategic Planning/CEO Time
  • Operations and Systems

Take time to sit with each of these pillars and assess what you do regularly to pour into this part of your business. Which pieces can you strategically plan for at certain times throughout the year? How can you create steady rhythms of work or tasks to support each one?

COO Tip: I am a huge fan of taking CEO Time for this type of strategic brainstorming. This is time you carve out to wear your CEO hat.  I love to leverage this time for vision planning or to assess big picture systems and operations outside of the day-to-day of my business. If you want to learn more about how taking CEO time can give you the space and clarity you need to set healthy rhythms in your business, check out this blog post

Let’s sum it up

Don’t leave the foundational rhythms of your business up to chance. 

You may get by for a time by “flying by the seat of your pants” but if you fail to set intentional rhythms in your business, you’ll eventually feel stressed out and burnt out. 

Paying attention to how you can support all aspects of your business on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis will get your business running like a well-oiled machine. If one piece gets out of sync, you can seamlessly address it without skipping a beat in other parts of your work. 

If you’re looking for support, I would be thrilled to guide you along your journey. Schedule a free strategy session with me. Together we can prioritize your plan to set rhythms in your business that will serve you now and in the future.

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