I was thinking about something the other day: that success as an entrepreneur is largely a game of energy management. You may remember when we had Jim Collins on the show to talk about his idea of the “20-mile march,” from his book Great by Choice. In the book, Jim talks about the idea of going 20 miles a day, no more and no less, and it's that consistency that'll get you to your goal. Even if you feel like you can do more, you don't because you want to manage that energy and establish a habitual rhythm or cadence.
But what about the days when you just don't have the energy? If you were to just “plow through” and keep going anyway, it could actually compromise the quality of what you're creating.
Now, if you're just starting out? Yes, march on. But eventually you'll get to the point where you have to make some decisions about how to manage your time and energy—and yes, this means you can have a little bit of freedom and be a little more creative with that time and energy. So let's dig in today and talk about what that might look like.
SPI 588: Entrepreneurship is an Energy Game
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he needs to sleep with two soft pillows under his head in order to get to sleep at night, Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: So I was thinking about this the other day, the idea that success as an entrepreneur or becoming successful with entrepreneurship is largely a game of energy management. And this is interesting, 'cause I was thinking about the times that have talked about energy management and productivity here on the show. And I had once brought up this idea of the "20-mile March." This is from a book called Great by Choice. And in that book, Jim Collins, the author talks about this idea of, you know, just going 20 miles every single day. And you'll eventually get to the point on the other side of the, you know, your trek. If you just go 20 miles a day, whether it's a good day or a bad day of weather, you just go 20 miles. And if you feel like you can go more, you don't because you just want to continue to manage that energy and have that sort of habitual rhythm or cadence every single day versus the person who, you know, goes super long and hard on the days that are good weather.
Pat Flynn: But then, you know, some days are bad and then they stay back, but they lose energy 'cause they went like 60 miles in one day and then they have to catch up. So that's important, right? The idea of just consistency. And I think on that level, that analogy or that story makes sense. But then I started thinking a little bit more about energy management because yesterday I have to tell you, I just did not have the energy to do what I need to do as a creator. And it's one thing to just walk because walking or marching 20 miles a day is not necessarily something that requires a lot of creative energy, but in the world of entrepreneurship, especially as a creator, a blog or a podcaster, a YouTuber, somebody who needs to write, uh, is on social media needs to interact and engage with an audience.
Pat Flynn: I mean there are just some days where we just don't have the energy. And if you were to quote-unquote "plow through" or keep going anyway, many times that would actually, the quality of what you're creating would suffer a bit. Right. And I almost recorded podcast episodes yesterday, even though I didn't want to. Now if you're just starting out yes, march on. Right. But eventually you get to the point and you might be here already and you just don't even know it to a point where you can have a little bit of freedom with when you are creative. There are a lot of levels of energy management when it comes to an entrepreneur, right? There are different times of the day. For example, maybe you are more productive in the morning before the kids get up or maybe you are more productive in the evening after everybody's asleep or maybe right after lunch because you power through this incredible milkshake and then boom, you just have energy for two hours and that's the time you maximize your creative efforts.
Pat Flynn: It's gonna be different for everybody. You know, I, I remember telling people, you know, "do your work early in the morning before everybody else." And that's when I got my book done. That's when I have created a lot of courses, but my energy levels are different than yours. So I, I can't give you the prescription for what will work for you. You need to experiment and figure it out. But as opposed to just plowing through, even though you don't want to, you might have the opportunity to be able to manage your energy levels in a way where you can make a choice on certain days, not to do things because you know that you just aren't in your best mindset. At that time, there might be something going on in your life. There might be just maybe you partied hard the night before. And when it comes to the creative work that you do, I think it's important to be at your best creative self when you are creating.
Pat Flynn: And this is why that understanding when you are the most creative is, is very, very important. Now this is a lot easier said than done, right? It's so easy just to tell you like, Hey, when you don't wanna do something, don't do it. But of course we wanna stay consistent. We wanna stay on that schedule. So how do we manage this? And I think the number one strategy, in fact, I know the number one strategy that I've used to manage my energy levels with creation is batch processing. It's this idea of that when I am in a high creative, high performance mode during the day or during the week, I will go hard and create a lot, right? So I might record four to five podcast episodes in a day if I'm feeling it and to give myself a block of time to complete something, but also have the opportunity to keep going if I need to or not.
Pat Flynn: If I need to, if I feel like it, right? And you know, I might have a two hour block to record at least, you know, two podcast episodes during that time. But if I'm feeling it, I might record another one or even one more after that, because I want that momentum to keep going, right? You feel like you're in the zone. It's that zone of genius. It's that? What do they call it? The flow. And when you're in the flow, you wanna try to take advantage of that as, as much as possible to get into the flow state. I think understanding your energy levels, understanding what you put into your body actually matters quite a bit in terms of good amounts of water, great nutrition, not like nasty, gross food. That's going to take your creative juices away from your brain and put them into your digestive system.
Pat Flynn: Like those kinds of things actually do matter. I'm not a doctor and I'm not telling you or prescribing anything. I'm just telling you what I have learned from my own experience. But when it comes to bad processing, I try to find those pockets of time where I have the best chance to get into flow state. And when I am in the flow state or I notice I'm in the flow state, I keep flowing, keep going to keep flowing or keep flowing. When you're going, go, go flow. There, there's a phrase in there somewhere that might make this easier. Although now you might, might not forget it because I'm fumbling with my words. So mission accomplished anyway, but take today. For example, now I had mentioned yesterday, I was just not in a good state and I don't know why. It could have been perhaps because the night before I decided to have a beer, right, maybe that had something to do with it.
Pat Flynn: And I'm sure it had two days prior to that, I went on a full-day fishing trip. So I was definitely out of, you know, I was just tired. So when it came to my recording day, Tuesday, I wasn't feeling it. But today, Wednesday, I'm going ham. I'm going crazy. This is the fourth podcast episode I've recorded today. And it's because I've found myself in that flow state. It took an extra day to get there. And I made sure the night before that I didn't eat anything crazy or eat late at night, that I drank a lot of water in the morning. And again, stacked things in my favor. And when I do that, I often find myself getting into that flow state where I can then go ham and go crazy. And what that does is two things. Number one, I'm essentially depositing into my content bank, right?
Pat Flynn: I'm getting ahead on my content schedule so that when those times come where I'm just not in that creative mode or in that creative state, or definitely far from flow state, I can be okay with saying, you know what? I can't do it today. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow. If there's room like there is today for me or being okay with the fact that, you know, I didn't get to it this week. So I'm going to make up for it the week after. Now, of course it's not gonna work if you keep making those sorts of excuses. And you know, I talked about excuses last week. I think it's one thing to make an excuse because you don't want to do something, but it's another one to know that you are just not in the right state of mind to do the thing. And therefore, hopefully you get juiced enough to come back the next time and kind of, you know, not just make up for the one that you missed, but even get ahead on that.
Pat Flynn: And again, getting ahead on it, batch processing is really, what's making it work for me because I have not... I'm, this, this might sound like a dream to some of you and it was for me, but, but I'm here now. And I wanna share it with you because this is something to aim for. I'm at that point now where I don't feel pressured to make content. I'm just creating in a flow state. So it's part of also the reason why we hired out the marketing on SPI. We invited a person named Mandy to come on board, and she's our marketing director now, which takes a lot of those tough decisions away from me. Now that definitely went into my creative tanks and siphoned a lot of that. She's now handling a lot of that and I trust her. We trust her to do so on the team such that I can be in this creative state, like I'm in right now as much as possible, cause this is when I am not just most productive, but this is when I'm most happy.
Pat Flynn: Right? And I, and I think it's important to do work or get to the point eventually or work toward the point by which you can do the work that you love to do. And then you find other people who are loving the work that perhaps you don't love to do, but they love to do it. And then that team kind of gets formed, right? And that's the ideal state that we wanna be in. But again, this energy management is really key. So on the body level, understanding your own body in terms of when you are most energized, when you are most creative and when you're not, it might even get to the point where you might not even know that and you'll need to keep track of it. Keep track of the things you eat, keep track of what you did the night before and how that plays a role in your creative efforts the next day or the next week or the next month, even.
Pat Flynn: Right. And then from a production standpoint, offering yourself the opportunity to pass when you are in those sort of lower production levels, because you definitely went in when you had high production levels. Now there's a line. Of course you could feel like you're in the flow state and go 10 hours straight and then completely burn yourself out. And I think that's what Jim Collins again from Great by Choice, that book was talking about that we don't wanna do. So this is a sort of a compromise. It's not 20 miles every day, no matter what; it's 20 miles every day, maybe a day that you just feel ill or don't wanna do it. Okay, take a break that day. It's okay to take a break, but then you come back and you go, maybe not 40 miles the next day or 80 miles the next day, but you go 25 or 30 and then you do that for a couple days.
Pat Flynn: Then you're back to where you were and then you keep doing 30 and you come back and then maybe there's a day where you just wanna take a break and you're back at zero. And it kind of evens out over time. But as far as the creative work that we do, right, we're not just walking or marching, which is a mindless thing. Although that would be an amazing opportunity. I would imagine like any hiker or any person who's doing the Pacific Trail or doing, you know, those kinds of marches there, there's a lot of benefit to it. And I'm not saying that that's like a mindless thing. It's mindless to step one after another, but I'm sure there's a lot of things going on in your mind. And a lot of meditative qualities to that, which are beneficial. But as far as creative work, as far as podcasting blogging, writing, recording video, coming up with stories, problem solving, customer service, even sometimes engagement, planning, initiatives, these things are the things that are gonna require the most creative effort from you and are gonna require you to be at your highest energy levels.
Pat Flynn: So pay attention to your energy levels because I think that can do you some huge favors. And even if it's a little bit more energy for those moments, when you need to be creative, those things stack up over time and exponentially can help you out in the future. So energy, there we go. So again, thank you so much. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you in next week's episode, which I'm just gonna give you a little bit of a preview. It's one like I've never done before. It is probably one of the most interesting conversations I've ever had with somebody who I think when you see it on Wednesday next week, you're gonna be kind of going, what, what, what happened here? It's a really interesting story and I hope you listen. So again, check it out when it comes out. Till then, peace out, thanks so much, and as always, Team Flynn for the win. Cheers.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at smartpassiveincome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.