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How to find your off switch and use it to your advantage.

“scenery of mountain hil” by Matthias Patzuda on Unsplash

Almost any entrepreneur can tell you what excites them because it’s a speech they’ve given hundreds of times. It’s their motivator to get up in the morning, to keep working long hours, and to do the work even when they haven’t seen success yet. Passion keeps the wheels turning, even when the bank account is dry as a finance 101 lecture.

However, ask a new entrepreneur what turns them off, and many would be speechless.

Passion has consequences.

Many new entrepreneurs fall into the ‘work harder’ trap, putting in more hours and striving to reach the mirage that is the end of the to-do list. This mindset is often to the detriment of all the reasons they started a business in the first place.

Spend more time with family — nope.

Get to the gym more — nope.

Go on holidays and work from anywhere — not on your life sunshine.

Not while the business is leaking money like a rowboat full of bullet holes.

The solution is to work harder, right?

I used to think so.

I was working 60+ hours per week in my online fitness business and often used to say:

“I’m working my arse off. Why isn’t this working?”

In hindsight, I was doing the wrong work.

I was thinking too far ahead. Building systems and planning for an influx of clients that never came. It never came because I was too busy working in the future to think about what I should do today to move my business forward. I drew the dots of the bigger picture, but I never did the work to connect them.

What’s worse, I was so passionate about my business; it’s all I thought about. I’d take over dinners with my partner with talk of business plans. I’d work every weekend because I couldn’t handle the anxiety of leaving my phone unchecked for a few hours.

I never stopped long enough to figure out what turned me off.

It wasn’t until a few weeks before I closed my fitness business that it dawned on me. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and disappointed. Slowly but surely, I’d become so caught up in my passion I completely forgot to look after myself.

After a solid month of reflection, then 3 months of prioritising myself, I’ve discovered it’s incredibly important to understand what makes your mind stop. What activities force you to be fully in the moment.

For me, lifting weights, cycling and fighting fires switch off my incessant inner monologue. I cannot afford to think of anything else while I’m riding along a busy road, holding 50kg above my chest or standing in front of a wall of flames. Oh, and cooking, because I’d be devastated if I ruined the food.

How to figure out what turns you off and use it to your advantage.

  1. Take 5–10 minutes to sit in a quiet place and reflect on the activities in your life — current and past. Consider which of these tasks makes you completely focused on the present moment.
  2. Once you have your list of 2–3 activities, add them to your daily life. Schedule them in your calendar and prioritise time to switch off every single day.

The key to implementing this strategy…

Is understanding the tasks within your business that will bring you the highest return on your investment. Identify what moves your business forward, then complete those tasks first, every single day.

By prioritising what matters, you not only move your business closer to success every day, you also reduce the feeling of guilt when you take time out to look after yourself. When you’re confident you’ve done the important work for the day, it’s a lot easier to feel relaxed about going to the gym at 2 pm.

Want to identify your High ROI tasks in the next 10 minutes?

Click here to download a free checklist which you can use to identify the priority tasks within your business.

* All I ask is for a quick share on LinkedIn to grab the worksheet. Simply click the link above, tap the ‘share’ button, and you’ll get instant access to the Instant Daily Minimum Effort Checklist.

Download your free copy here.

Originally published at on November 8, 2018.