Free time. It’s something we all want more of.
Unfortunately, whenever we get more free time we end up filling that free time with more things to do. That keeps us busy, overworked, and overburdened.
It can also lead to burnout. That’s the worst thing in the world — when we can’t do our work we can’t serve our audience, let alone the relationships around us.
Today we’re speaking with Jenny Blake. Jenny’s been studying and writing about getting more free time in a way that doesn’t hurt us or the businesses we’ve created.
She has a new book out called Free Time. I’ll tell you more about it during this episode — we'll actually unpack a lot of things related to this.
Things like hiring out and letting go. Things like understanding what your priorities and your goals are, and being okay with not working so much.
Jenny has been on the podcast before and she’s back with her third book — let's get into it!
Jenny launched her business in 2011 after five years at Google and two years at a political polling start-up, YouGov America. She’s the author of Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, a book inspired by navigating her own successful business.
- Visit the Free Time website
- The Free Time Podcast
- Jenny’s latest book: Free Time
- Check out Jenny’s other books: Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One and Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want [Amazon affiliate links]
- Jenny’s previous episode on the SPI Podcast
- Tips for starting your own business while working your day job
- How to use systems to “buy back” your time
- Strategies for setting boundaries around your work hours
- How Jenny makes sure her team members enjoy their work
- Jenny’s advice for micromanagers and perfectionists
- How to take guilt-free vacations from your work
- Mike Michalowicz: Clockwork [Amazon affiliate link]
- Run Like Clockwork
- Jonah Berger: Contagious: Why Things Catch On [Amazon affiliate link]
- Nir Eyal: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products [Amazon affiliate link]
- Follow Pat on Twitter and Instagram
- Power-Up Podcasting®
- SPI Pro
SPI 559: How to Get More Free Time and Enjoy Your Work More with Jenny Blake
For any of us who used to work in corporate, we were taught to work Monday through Friday, nine to five. Then we go start our own business, and keep the same days and the same hours.
Why? Who is that working for? Those hours and those days are not in service of each person’s individual health and wellness, and presence with their family. It’s in service of the company.
Our mind and our health is our biggest asset. If we are running the business and we’re burning out the whole business suffers.
Free Time. It’s something that we all want more of. Right? Unfortunately, for us entrepreneurs and creators, whenever we get more Free Time we end up filling in that Free Time with more stuff.
That keeps us busy, and overworked, and overburdened, and sometimes can lead to burnout. That’s the worst thing in the world, because then we can’t do our work. We can’t serve our audience anymore, let alone the relationships that are around us.
Today we’re speaking with Jenny Blake, who’s been studying and writing about getting more Free Time, but in a legitimate way that doesn’t hurt us or the businesses we have created.
She has a new book out called Free Time. I’ll tell you more about it during this episode, but in this episode we actually unpack a lot of things related to this.
This relates to things like hiring out and letting go. It relates to understanding what your priorities and your goals are, and all those things that intermingle with being okay with not working so much.
This is a match made in heaven, and I’m so excited because Jenny has been a former guest on the podcast and she’s back with her third book, and we’re going to unpack it for you today.
This is Jenny Blake, the author of Free Time.
Jenny, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income. Thanks so much for your time today.
Thank you, Pat! I’m a long-time listener. Just absolutely thrilled to be back.
Thanks for having me.
I think it was 249 that you were on. We’ve doubled that number and then some, and so it’s been awhile. It’s been a long time.
You’ve doubled the number of podcasts and number of episodes.
That’s true. I’ve done a lot of content creation, that’s for sure.
You have a new book coming out, which we’ll dive into, but what’s exciting in your life these days?
Most exciting thing? Working on the new book, as you said. Geeking out over Notion. It’s my favorite new software.
I think we’re similar. I just love tinkering in my business, trying new tools and things. My German shepherd, he’s a little over two years old. I don’t have any kids, but my husband and I—he kind of just lights up the house.
I know you know what that’s like, little fury friends. They’re so chill, or happy, or playful, and that’s it. Or they’re just sleeping and a adorable. His name is Ryder.
Did you know that there was a character named Flynn Ryder in Tangled, which is like a Rapunzel Disney type of movie? Yeah. Flynn Ryder. So, if I was with your pup I’d be Flynn Ryder, Pat Flynn Ryder.
Yeah, I love it.
Let’s talk about your new book. It’s called Free Time, which I think is something that all of us want. We want more. Free Time and the tagline, I love lose the busy work, love your business.
I think a lot of us business owners, we often do feel that we’re just staying busy and sometimes it feels good because we’re feeling like we’re getting work done. But oftentimes when we look back and go, well, what did we accomplish? We go, well, maybe I shouldn’t have done all that. And many business owners are unhappy. So before we dive into the tactics in the book and stuff, I’d love to know. Well, what compelled you to write about this? Was this something personal that perhaps you’ve got.
Yeah. I mean the Free Time the title is kind of has a double meaning Free Time. The results and what we do with our Free Time, but also as a verb, how do we continually free our time as business owners? And of course free our time to do fun things we know for so long in the digital nomad sphere. There’s pictures of people traveling and going on adventures and beach side laptop working.
But I also mean it in the sense of how do we free our time to do more of our best work. And I know something that’s a focus of yours. How do we get out of the weeds and out of the busy work and out of being the bottleneck for everything so that we can create things? Because I think one thing I noticed is that so many of us business owners have a creative drive and a passion to create.
Not as many people start a business and I, you know, I’m part of your community. I could say, like, I think not as many people start the business to run a business and manage people. It’s usually as a creative outlet, as a passion, as a way to express ourselves and to serve in the world. And yet running a business can get so overwhelming.
And there’s so many moving parts and in my own life as well, I’ve been self-employed now after leaving Google for over 11 years. And I’ve been building an online platform for 15, and it’s just this constant tension of trying to find joy in the process and in running the business. While still freeing up time.
And I, you know, I like to think about the operational efficiency side of things. So this book is really a result of finally also giving myself permission to talk about business. I think for a long time, I mean, even still, as the book went to press, I’ll get waves of imposter syndrome where I go, I’m not making kajillion dollars.
I’m not making, you know, eight figure revenue, who am I to talk about business. But finally, when the pandemic hit. It’s time and going all in on heart-based business, giving myself permission to write a book, to share what I’ve learned, even if I’m not, you know, Jeff Bezos even Pat Flynn.
I’m glad that you’re, I’m glad that you’re Jenny Blake though. And that you’re here with us. And I don’t know if I would get as much value from Jeff Bezos, to be honest, because this is a really important topic. I mean, I would imagine that Jeff, isn’t having a lot of Free Time to do a lot of the things that he loves because he’s so busy running everything.
And I’d love to ask you for us entrepreneurs. Not running giant corporations, but more our own solo or semi solo business. Where do we go wrong? How do, how do we lose track of that time? Where ha how do we fall into these traps so easily?
Yeah. And I find too that. Who I wrote this before and who I’m passionate about serving are people who will often make choices. That aren’t just about the money. So in the book, I call them high net freedom individuals. Yes. We might be building toward high net worth. At the same time, we will not take a client or a job or a project just for the money.
And so that introduces a different set of considerations because what I found is a lot of business books are so growth, orient. And I think, you know, you asked where do people go wrong? My myself included, it can be easy to just fall into these sheds. I call it sailing the sea of shiny sheds, what everyone else is doing online, how everyone else is making money online.
If I had a dollar I’ve been running online courses, just like you for over a decade. But if I had a dollar for everyone who just said to me, have you ever thought about creating a flagship online course? It’s like, yes. You know, but that doesn’t have to be the business model for everybody. So I think there’s just so much shiny stuff out there.
And so many different ways to grow a business, but growth for the sake of growth is often unfulfilling. And I think we all reach points of boredom or burnout, or where were the bottleneck that we realized it’s time to stop and reconsider. And I do think that the pandemic as tough as it was for entrepreneurs also gave a lot of us pause to just check in with ourselves and say, I’m happy with how things are going.
If not, what changes do I need to make again? Yes. To earn more and earn abundantly while serving the highest good, but also with less time. So not just burning ourselves out.
So what’s the first step in the process. Is it understanding what your goals are or cutting all the noise out it’s very difficult to avoid those shiny objects that we see everywhere. So how do we best manage our own draw to want to do more and grow just for the sake of growing? How do we do, how do we even begin to do.
Yeah. Well, the, in the book I share the Free Time framework, it’s three stages aligned design. I’ve. I still find a lot of business books talk about how to design systems, how to grow revenue, how to create sales sequences and optimize your funnel. And there’s a lot of tactics in the entrepreneurial space.
The align stage for me is about each of us looking in, and this is nothing new, you know, what’s your zone of genius. What’s your unique ability in strategic coach parlance, but really looking within the businesses that each of us has already running. What is aligned and what isn’t. And here we come back to the sheds.
So what are you doing? That’s just a remnant. I don’t know about you Pat. I mean, I, at one point I counted, I had over 12 different streams of income and that creates so much complexity and I know you’ve shared, you’ve been so open and transparent with how you earn income. I remember in the early days of all of this back in like, you know, 8 9, 10.
It was all about diversifying revenue streams. And so I, I tried to create as many as I could, of course, as many passive as I could, but then only, only recently when I started expanding my team and realizing how important it was to document process for everything and have clear customer roadmaps and all of this, I realized that actually having so many different activities in my business was hurting me.
It was not helping. There was so much complexity, it was hard to keep things current. So you asked what’s the first step. I think the first step is actually in this align stage is taking stock and saying of everything I’m doing, what falls at that intersection of revenue, ease and joy. And yes, I do prioritize joy for the business owner for the team.
What is it in the business that produces the most revenue with the most ease and a sense of joy as you work. And that can be different products. It could also be different types of clients. It could be ways of serving those clients, but that actually less is more. And I think a lot of business owners, we start out with so much in the beginning just to see what’s going to get traction, what’s going to work.
And then we never really pare it back down. And that’s what creates a lot of this.
These part is interesting because we often, for whatever reason, gravitate toward, without knowing it, the most difficult things sometimes, or if something is easy, it’s almost too easy, too good to be true. We make it more difficult than it has to be.
How would you encourage a first time entrepreneur? Who’s going through this who determines nothing to be easy yet because it’s a new Path.
How do, how do we find that Path toward an easy that overlaps with those other things?
I would look at what comes easily to you. So even if not everyone else would call it easy, what comes easily for me when I was starting out, it was one-on-one coaching. That was my bridge income. That’s what helped me leave Google. And then later it was only later that I realized, okay, my job is to run the business and work on the business, not work in it.
And I really wanted to free up my time and my calendar, but I did coach one-on-one coaching for 10 years before I sunset it, that stream of income. And now I have a team of pivot coaches for my previous book that if somebody reads the book and they want extra support, I want it to be able to provide. but it doesn’t have to be from me. And so I think that’s an evolution as well. If you start with what comes easy or ease fully to you. Document the process. I mean, that’s what we all have. This asset that we were sitting on, we probably don’t realize is that our way of doing things. And so even if you’re starting out in the business, working in the business and fulfilling services, how you fulfill those services, your unique way of doing that is valuable information.
And that’s what will, can allow you to step out of the business later on when you’re ready or step out of that aspect. I think that’s a fun, creative exercise is to not just while we’re working is not just be doing the work, but actually thinking how would I teach someone else? And I don’t know about you, but the first times that I started delegating and hiring contractors, virtual assistants, even the pivot coaches, I remember being so nervous and just feeling like who’s going to do this as well as I will.
This is going to be, this will be a huge mistake. Everyone’s going to run for the door. And there was really no negative impact. I mean, there’s always growing pains, but it ends up being worth it. It’s just so hard to go from that zero to one moment of being by yourself, in the business to starting to delegate and document things.
Well, this is the, assigned part of the ADA, sequence that you shared. Right? So, Aline making sure that you are in alignment with what it is that you’re doing and headed down the right direction, design coming up with those systems. Like you said, write this down, come up with those standard operating procedures that now somebody else can do when you assign it Which I think is really great when it comes to assigning though, like you said, it can be very difficult to let go. What are your tips for letting somebody else take over that work that you created? That is your baby often.
You’re right. Well, part of the design stage. So once you know, the work is aligned with your strengths, your energy, your value. As an owner, as a business in the design stage, you do give some thought to what is your ideal outcome for this business area or project? What is your ideal impact on the intended audience?
And then you’re designing the process so that by the time you assign it, as you said, that you’re more clear, you’re assigning not just the work and it checklist, you’re actually assigning the outcome and the impact. And you’re getting somebody on board with the vision. Yes for the whole company is great.
And I saw you have your company, vision and mission and values right there on the website. That stuff’s all really good and important. But I also think before delegating anything, even a project, even a stream of income is it’s getting clear on those, that impact outcomes and the process so that when you delegate, it’s so much clearer.
And I always like to explain my logic to. So I’m always just sharing with my team and here’s why we do it like that. Or here’s the logic. even just today, I’m onboarding a new podcast production team. And I said to them, yes, you can send me the draft of the show notes in a Google doc. But if you do not hear back from me on.
Please go ahead and draft and schedule that episode of megaphone. Anyway, don’t let me hold up the process. And I think that’s another thing that as business owners, it’s very easy to become the bottleneck where everybody is peppering you with questions or waiting on you to. Give them what they need approve something for next steps.
And everything starts to just pile up on the odors digital desk. And I just find that I need to continually week after week, say to the team, do not, let me get in the way, keep moving. And I’ll check in on things. Even if it’s already live, I can make edits. It’s not the end of the world.
I really like that framework of, Hey, if I don’t, if you don’t hear back from me, do it anyway, or do it like this, this gives you freedom to. Make that decision for them, so that they can continue to move on. And, it doesn’t mean that you have to tell them before it happens. So you’re relieving some stress on your end as well and stress on their end, too. I really liked that. I think that I’m going to be perhaps using that a little bit more to continue this conversation with.
Assigning and helping other people do the work that you’ve created and, and, fulfilling the needs of your clients or your content platform, whatever it might be. how do you avoid micro-managing in that situation? Because I know some people have hired to remove some time and burden from them only to end up spending more time managing those people in, you know, is it a, hiring thing?
Is it a, how do you get over.
I know it’s so hard, especially I think a lot of business owners, maybe not everybody struggles with this. But a lot of us are really passionate about what we do. And therefore the dark side of that is control and wanting to control everything and control how it’s done, especially for those of us where our persona of who we are is attached in some way to the brand or to the business.
So it’s, it’s a little different delegating, something where our name or persona is still attached versus if we were operating a widget factory. And then I also find too, it’s hard to delegate because. I, I think you and I are very similar Pat, like, you know, warmth and high touch is important. And so how someone communicates with customers, how they write emails, it matters.
It’s important to me, how people feel when they’re interacting with my business. So falling into micromanagement. I I’ve been thinking a lot about this because this is something I’m constantly trying not to do without also going Mia, which is the other side. I just disappeared. And, I think that micromanaging can happen if it’s happening in the beginning to get a process really dialed down.
That’s one thing, if it’s happening a little farther in, it’s possible that the person, the tasks that they’re doing, either art in their zone of genius, they’re just not good at it, or they don’t enjoy it. And therefore it’s still not getting done up to par and maybe it’s the type of thing that. How their mind works.
They’re never going to be able to wrap around it. Like I’ve, there have been times I tried to delegate creating a database and Notion to certain team members and they just came back to me so frustrated and they’re like, I cannot, for the life of me, figure this out. We were trying to design a gifting database where you, whenever I want to give someone a gift and moves through a little card, moves through the life of a gift and Notion.
And I realized, so this is something I would do for fun. I’ll sit here, designing it with joy, with ease, with delight. So sometimes it can be a misalignment to the person, to the task. And then I think if you find that you’re micromanaging somebody constantly within no avail, and even after having documented the process, it just might not be the right person.
So I’ve realized too, like at some point, no matter how well we try to operate our processes and everything. Sometimes a person it’s, they’re just not a fit. I always do try to ask what is, I’ll ask everybody on my team and I don’t have any full-time team members. Just what is the work that you love to do?
And I tell them I never take it personally. If there is work that you’re doing for me, that is draining to you or that you’d start to not enjoy, you’re getting bored. Just tell me it’s not personal. I don’t care. I actually want to help you figure out how we can move it off your plate, who we delegate to or subcontract or.
Or eliminate altogether. So I’m always reinforcing that message as well. Like just trying to get people working on the things they actually enjoy. And none of this is personal. So I think micromanaging is the owner not really wishing control, cause there’s also some sort of trust issue. Like they don’t trust the work’s going to get done the way they want it.
And then for the owner perspective, I would just say, each of us need to ask ourselves. Does this really matter? Like these areas that you’re micromanaging, does it matter if it’s not done.
If every I and T is not dotted certain areas of the business, it does matter. it’s of utmost importance and then they’re going to be other areas to just let it go.
And I used to do that all the time, the same way you and I would not create anything, not even a podcast episode or this conversation, if we waited for it to be perfect. I have to remind myself of that with delegating. Nothing is going to be perfect. And that’s okay. At least it’s this 80, 20, 80% is getting done.
We keep moving. Nothing’s perfect. It’s okay.
I love that. Thank you for that. It’s almost permission from you to not have to get it down. Perfect. But it’s still useful. Can still buy you that time back. Let’s say you do buy your time back in some way, whether it’s better systems efficiencies and of course hiring, like we just spoke.
How do we avoid the common trap that a lot of us entrepreneurs fall into, which is, oh, we got more time.
Let me fill it in with more stuff to stay busy because I love my business so much.
How do we draw that line mentally so that we’re not only trying to find more time to then fill it in again with stuff that keeps us.
Yeah, that’s a good question. Like just the tendency to tinker around, or, I mean, if someone’s really enjoying that and there’s no negative impact. Like when I was single and I lived by myself in a studio apartment, it just did not really matter the hours that I worked. I personally always tried to leave by three in the afternoon to go walk to a yoga class or something. So I always was playing around with my time boundaries. even to this day, I think honestly, if you, especially, if you run a business, I think 20 to 25 hours a week is plenty that it can be done. And that actually, if, if you have a family and you want to focus on your health and fitness and rest and relaxation and preparing dinner and all these adulting things, I actually think 20, 25 hours is.
The right amount. So you can do all the rest of that stuff. So I’m really passionate about, yeah, don’t, don’t work in the business out of a sense of guilt or a sense of this remnants of the factory system. That for any of us who used to work in corporate, we were taught Monday through Friday nine to five, or some people are nine to nine and then we go start our own business and keep the same days and the same hours.
Why, who is that working? Even when you’re an employee of one of those companies and you’re working those hours, those hours, and those days are not in service of each person’s individual health and wellness and presence with their family. It’s in service of the company. So I think as business owners are our mind and our health is our biggest asset that if we are running the business and at least if the owner is still highly involved, And we’re just burning out the whole business suffers.
So I guess to that person that you said, who’s tempted to go back in if they’re enjoying it. Great. But if not just release the pressure to work, what you think you should be a certain number of hours. It’s so much more important. What is getting done and then make it a game of how much else you can delegate or how focused you can be during five hours.
For me, I liked it. I only sit at the computer about 10 to two or 11 to three, something like that, and then really zone in. And I find that so much more rewarding than just the slow burn, steady drip of constant notifications and inboxes and social and text messaging. That drives me crazy to just have like, Scattered, they call it time.
Confetti time researchers call it time. Confetti. Just your time is like splintered into all these little pieces across the whole week that I think is more exhausting than just focused sprints.
Two things. Number one first about how do we know when it’s time to put, put the paintbrush down, right? Think of a piece of art. You can always add another stroke. You can always darken something a little bit more. You can always add another like detail. When it comes to entrepreneurship. I know that for me, it’s very difficult to sometimes put the paintbrush down because there’s always a little bit more I could do.
So even though I do set my own hours, it often, sometimes is enough pull for me to just continue and keep going because there isn’t necessarily an end. I can always build more relationships. I can always send more emails. I can always, you know, more fine tuned. Minecraft. How do you define done when it comes to a day?
I know us. Yeah. I want to know what you think on this topic. This is a good question of how do you define done and how do you define enough because of what you just shared?
You’re right. Even with networking. I mean, I have friends, I live in New York city who can go out every night and I admire them so much.
These people are like, imagine how many coffees and dinners and fun things you could get. I have the energy to meet somebody for coffee or dinner or a drink once a week, if that. And so I think knowing your own personal energy set point of what gives you energy, and then what you find more draining or tiring is really important.
And also, I don’t know about you Pat, but this is where I get really into compare and despair mode. Like I’ll look at other people and I’ll see, oh my gosh, they’re working this many hours or they’re putting out this much content. I should be doing the same and I have to really step back and check in with myself of what, what is the set point that I can do?
That’s enough for me that I can create and try to, I call it in the book. I say, eyes on your own paper. Like we all know taking an exam in high school. The teacher said eyes on your own paper. And that’s just my reminder to myself to, again, work when it’s creating. But also give myself permission to just ship.
I’m curious how you define something as done, because for me, there’s, I’m doing too much in the business and creating content. I kind of like when I record a solo podcast episode, I just do it in one sitting and that’s done. I don’t care if it’s not perfect, otherwise I’ll never do anything. How about you?
Like, how do you let yourself know when it’s done and getting.
When I get to that point in the calendar, in, in the calendar that says you’re done working on this thing. So I, I time block time block is my strategy for making sure I get things done when I’m supposed to. And don’t do things when I’m not supposed to. And so for me, it’s done at that time and any overtime on that takes away from something else.
And so I, I know that. I just have to do it. And that helps me press start to starting. It is often the hardest thing. And once I get going, it finally starts to get producers starts to kind of manage its way into finality at some point. But it’s the, it’s the clock it’s, I have to honor that clock and I don’t work nine to five.
It varies depending on the things that I’m doing every day and every day of the week is different, but, that’s what keeps it exciting for me. Which is funny. Cause like you asked me a question and you’re going to interview me tomorrow. So if you’re listening to this now make sure to check me out on Jenny’s podcast soon.
Cause we’re going to have more of this for sure. But I appreciate that question. Cause I think like a diet, everybody has a different body and it responds differently to different ways. So I think you have to kind of find what works for you but I do appreciate your thoughts about one owns energy and what, you know, works for them.
Cause like you said, we’re all different and I appreciate that. When it comes to celebrating that Free Time that you have in working on your own stuff. How, how do you mentally not get drawn back into the busy work? Right? Like you take a vacation, but you’re thinking about business the entire time. How do you turn off?
I know. Okay. I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling where you go sprinting into the vacation, like you’re on this crash sprint to get everything done, just so you can go and not feel too guilty. And then as soon as you come back, it’s like you’re punished. Everything has piled up. And I really appreciated the book clockwork by Mike and Adrian Dorson.
That’s a lot of her IP too. What I like about that is that. The work should not just be piling up when you go on vacation or you’re taking time off or you have Free Time. Ideally, you’ve gotten the business to a place where when each of us does step away, things can still keep moving. And that goes back to the owner, not being the bottleneck.
So one thing I’ve done in my business, I used to always ask myself and this ties into vacation and I’ll come back to it. But, I used to always say, what if I get hit by a bus? And I would ask myself this, even before I was a business owner, I was just always had this awareness. What if I get hit by a bus and I die, or like can’t work anymore?
Or I become an, I do have disability insurance, but this was so negative that I started asking myself, what if I got whisked to Fiji for three weeks? And I had no devices, what would happen? What would happen to the business? And you have no devices and no ability to tell anyone what’s going on. And eventually as I started expanding my team, I told all of us the whisk to Fiji test is this.
If any of us were to get whisked to Fiji for three weeks with no devices, no way to connect, no way to check anything, could any one of us step into your role and seamlessly? And I have to say, this has come up so many times, maybe I had a massive ear infection in the fall. It took me out. I was in 10, out of 10 pain all day, every day for over a week.
I couldn’t even log into my team slack and say, guys, I’m out for the count. I mean, I barely, I probably did that one message and they just had to know what to do. I didn’t even have it in me to delegate or, you know, do anything above and beyond what had already been. Then about a month later, I got bronchitis.
Same thing with COVID the last few years. I mean, we don’t know when any one of us is going to just get sidelined at best where we recover bounce back in two weeks, I have friends that took three months. So part of enjoying the time off is again, creating enough systems and redundancy and documentation, which some people sounds like eating your business.
Spinach. But where, when you are taking time off, you’re not worried. You’re not panicked. Then anything’s going to fall apart or fall through the cracks. The team has permission to step in and do their thing. And that you, I think it’s so important as the owner to not go it alone because.
We need that time off. We have to rest and recharge and recover. When I go on vacation, I take a month off at mid-December to mid-January and I block it off my calendar a year in advance. Now it’s on a yearly recurring and the month of August. And I just put in my email autoresponder, I say, I will not respond to messages during this time where I will not even check messages sent during this time.
Please resend it when I’m back. So there are little things you can do to. Release the burden of having to catch up with everything that has gone on.
That’s great advice. I love the, thought experiment of getting swept off to Fiji. And what if that were to happen? I like that better than
The bus. sort of example, is it always a bus by the way? Like, are there that many buses that are crashing into people? I don’t know
I know it’s very six feet under the first pilot episode. And then the, Another thing I talked about in the book is like, are you ready for your big break or would your business break? Because, so we have the, am I going to get hit by a bus? Okay. We’ve changed it. Are we going to get whisks a Fiji?
But then the other thing that I think sometimes we fail to prepare for it. These big moments where we get on a big podcast you’re on SBI or some cool thing happens. And that can be as stressful. Sometimes we all know Tim Ferris, what does he call it? The hug of death, where, when he promotes something on his podcast or his newsletter, sometimes the company he’s talking about their servers crash, they run out of inventory.
Like it actually is. Stressful for them because they can’t handle the influx. So the other preparedness drill that I like my team and myself I’m always thinking about is what if something really awesome happened? What if Oprah did call? Am I ready? And how can I be as ready as possible for that kind of scenario two?
I like that thought experiment for sure. And that’s happened many times. I’ve been on other people’s shows and then the servers crashed this back in the early days. You know, we have redundancies now and things to sort of, you know, keep that from happening. I also love the positive thinking behind that, right?
Because that means we were just getting ready for when the big break does happen and it can happen. And as long as you stay consistent and keep moving forward and keep learning as you fail, you’ll get there. But, if you don’t believe that can happen, then it’s definitely not going to have.
How, how do you deal with, and there’s been a lot of books about this, you know, contagious and hooked and whatnot, but these are all about the devices we use and the notifications that come in and the barrage of emails.
And how are you best controlling the confetti as you talked about the time confetti out there so that we have bigger blocks of time and have the ability to actually move on the things that when we are working and therefore have more.
Yeah. I mean, for one thing, although I was on social media in the earliest days, like 2008, I think I got on Twitter. I’m not on anymore. And I’m pretty vocal about that. That’s something I found. I was doing that a couple of years ago. And then now it’s more, it’s more socially acceptable. It’s, it’s kind of not be on any of that and just issue it altogether, but people will kind of ask me flabbergasted, how on earth do you run a business?
If you’re not in social? But what I realized was that it was creating too much time, confetti fractured attention. I was feeling guilty all the time. Like if I, cause I’m a giver like you are, and I like reciprocity, I would feel usually so bad if I would post something on social and I didn’t have time to read the comments or even reply to the comments.
I was just carrying this constant sense of guilt that people were communicating with me and I was ignoring them. So maybe not want to post or when I was just posting to be up on my own soapbox, promoting my own stuff, that felt really hollow. It was just not in my zone of genius, totally draining. So I kind of drew a line and I realized, you know what, so I’m sure I could have a bigger platform if I was very active on more, more sites.
Like if I was active on Facebook and Instagram and TikTok and YouTube, I’m not really active on, on any of those by not really. I mean, not at all. And. Sometimes I wonder, well, what if, what if I had been, but on the other hand, I don’t think I would have written my third book because I would be so busy in the day-to-day and the way I operate as a creator, it feels like death by a thousand cuts.
Whereas I would rather just be a hermit and maybe not have as many friends, but like create big things in the world or as big as I’m capable of creating. And I just really cherish that focused attention. So. well, to your question about all these apps, I really encourage everybody listening to ask themselves who is profiting from the pressure you feel.
So if you feel pressure to post on social media or pressure to meet some algorithm or pressure to produce X amount, who is profiting from that, if it’s you great, you can keep going. If you enjoy it and you’re profiting from it. Great. But if some other company is profiting from your attention, we know the same.
If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. I am just very, very skeptical and reluctant. I don’t even post on LinkedIn, which is where in theory, I could probably get a lot of corporate speaking clients, licensing clients, not going to do it. And like you, I’m a big believer in building on my own digital land.
Yeah, I don’t want my audience dispersed over 10 new platforms. And then the next new one that’s inevitably going to come. I kind of, I know you’re diversifying you’re on YouTube. I love what you’re doing on YouTube, but I just think that, sometimes people go all in on those platforms and they don’t build their email list and they don’t build on their own home, their own plot of digital land.
That’s going to make it so much easier for the long run, rather than chasing the shiny objects and the short.
Sure, thank you for that. I I’d love to finish off asking you, since you mentioned the book, you know, again, Free Time lose the busy work, love the business, or love your business. I know you approached this book a little bit differently than you have your other two, you know, you had pivot and then another one come out, but tell us what’s different about this book and why you made those choices And what that experience is about.
Yeah. I mean, I feel like a lot of business books are very boring. Take themselves really seriously. FreeTime is. I wanted to have fun with it. I mean, even there’s confetti on the cover because it’s meant to be a celebration and running our own business, creating content in the world, this is a privilege and as challenging as it can be.
Thank you, Pat, for showing that cover as challenging as I can be. And we know. You know, all of us running our own businesses are already paying a risk and pressure tax. We already feel the weight of that and the uncertainty that we live with every single day and the questions that you’ve asked, how do we spend our time, just the cognitive load of what should we work on?
How do we build it? How do we delegate? Are we now micromanaging? Oh my goodness. We’re pulled in so many directions. So I really wanted to write this book to give all of us permission to do things different. But also my favorite is to give very, very practical tools and templates and techniques that work.
And I think it’s one thing to understand at a high level. Yay. Let’s all have more Free Time, but it is quite another to learn strategies. Creating it. And as I said to you, when we connected, I just have this vision of all of us collectively freeing like 50 million hours and just like setting this time free into the world and not being so shackled, especially in the U S we’re so identified with our work.
That just, how do we just free ourselves a little bit, because life is already hard enough sometimes. So how can we have more fun while we’re creating what we are?
Hmm. I love that approach and I’m really, really excited to dive in.
I just got this sent to me the other day, but I wanted to have Jenny to talk about the book. And I also know that you didn’t choose to self publish or you didn’t choose to go traditionally published on this one either. Right? How did you approach how you wanted this message to get out?
Oh, yeah. So my life after college was with a small press running press that came out in 2011. Pivot was with penguin, random house, big dream. That was like dream come true land, a big publisher. And that came out in 2016. And with this one, I did have a meeting with my team from pivot. But I just realized the whole spirit of this book is agile delightfully, tiny teams.
And for one thing, just first and foremost, if I had gone traditional the book, wouldn’t even be out until the late 20, 23. And I feel like we are all going through such massive change. That that was too far away. We are writing away for right now. All of us, we are all inventing the future more than ever before.
And so with idea, press they’re hybrid independent. So they still bring an entire team. Well experienced from publishing industry professionals and all their knowledge and expertise and strategy. But the big difference is that I fund the process. So I hang all the upfront money. I’ve actually had to give myself an advance to do this book, but now here we are a year from signing the idea press the book is coming out and it took one year instead of two and a half or three.
And for me right now, with where we’re at in this moment in history, that was really. I have to say that creative control has been a dream. It’s the first time in my life. I
Feel I’ve been able to see a creative vision through all the way, 100%, the challenge of hybrid and self-publishing is cash and cashflow.
I did not realize how much money is involved. Like even I pay for shipping, I pay for storing the books at the book warehouse, you know, from doing your switch
Yeah, super fans was, well switch pod. Yeah, but I mean, even my last book, super fans was published, not through a depressed, but a, another publisher that was a hybrid as well, where we had to upfront the cash and the costs to store and to print and descended.
It’s kind of risky. It feels sometimes, right.
But when you know that you have this message, like, you know, that you want to share, it’s important. I think the timing is also perfect for it, which is why we actually moved you
Up on the schedule. I wanted to make sure we were able to, to amplify this for you. it is risky, but I think that this book is going to do really well and I hope people check it out.
Thank you so much.
Where should people go in and check it out?
Well, I’ll say, I’ll say aye. Given how much money.
Over 200 grant, like so much money, the cost of paper spiked during this time supply chain issues, just printing the books was a hunter grant. Yeah. So I was saying, this is I’m at this moment in time and all of you listening, you’re just right here.
It could go either way. Either people, people are going to look at me and be like, oh my God, can you believe what she did? Like, can you believe how much money she spent on. Or we will all look back a year from now and say, wow, what a brilliant move how’d you have the courage to take that risk? It could, it could truly, truly at the moment we’re recording this pack.
It could go either way. And I think these big risks that we take as business owners. They don’t come that often, but this is one where I just felt like I got to go all in. I may look like the stupidest person on earth, but at least I’ll know I, once in my life, I really went all in and all out on a creative vision and truly the jury is out.
So I appreciate you bumping me up and having me here and just helping generate some early momentum.
Of course, you’ve always been such a, a supporter of SPI and, you know, it’s the least I can do to, to offer back. And obviously we only bring people on the show who I know can provide value to the audience. So it’s a win for everybody,
So, everybody go check out Free Time. Where can they find it?
Thank you. You can go to ItsFreeTime.com/book. You can learn about the book and buy it.
Definitely for your audience, Pat, or for anyone who pre-orders, but if you’re listening to this even after the book comes out I’m happy to give you a free audio book if you purchase the hard cover.
If you go to ItsFreeTime.com/book, once you purchase—I’m actually doing a buy one, get one, give one—so if you buy the hardcover you can get the audio book via private podcast feed and gift one to a friend. That’s fine. That’s the kind of thing I can do with independent publishing. Then just search for the Free Time Podcast With Jenny Blake wherever you’re listening to this podcast. Pat’s going to be on soon to talk about stepping out of the CEO role so he can do more creating. I think it’s really tough. It’s not easy, but such an exciting move that’s on your mind.
Yeah, that’s the next leg of the journey, and I’m excited to chat about it.
Look for me on Jenny’s podcast. We’ll put all the links in the show notes for everybody, and good luck on the book launch. We’re rootin’ for you, and thanks, again, for putting it together for us.
Thank you so much, Pat. Thank you everybody for being here, listening and watching.
Alright. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Jenny Blake, author of the new book Free Time.
You can find the book at ItsFreeTime.com/book, and you can find her podcast Free Time, With Jenny Blake.
I recommend you check out the show notes. If you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/episode559 you’ll find all the links to everything we talked about today, and the previous episode that Jenny was on.
I love what she said because the title of the book, similar to my book, Let Go, is not just about letting go, or in this case Free Time. It’s actually a call to action. In my book Let Go, I tell people you got to let go to grow. It plays perfectly with this book because you have to let go in order to get some Free Time.
Jenny wants you to free your time. It’s a reminder, and it’s a call to action for you. I hope this calls you to find more time, but also continue to enjoy your work, and remove all the busy work that doesn’t belong within your zone of genius.
Thank you, again, for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast and all the reviews that have been coming in, and all of the support for the show. We have some amazing guests coming up, so make sure to hit that subscribe button if you have not already.
Thank you, once again. Take care, peace out, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.