If you've ever Googled the words, "How can I make money while I sleep," then you've most likely clicked on one of Pat Flynn's articles, videos, or podcasts.
Founder of the internet empire "Smart Passive Income," Pat Flynn is one of the best-known digital marketers in the industry. He is an author, speaker, host, and more, but his real claim to fame was his transparent approach to the financial side of online marketing and advertising.
It's common for marketers, and even influencers and celebrities, to share just enough information about what they "do" for you to understand, but not quite enough for you to be able to implement those same strategies yourself.
When Pat Flynn came on the scene, he flipped the equation. He positioned himself as the go-to expert for all things "that actually work." And he startled the market with how open he was about the returns on his investments--specifically the things he built once and continued to collect monthly revenue on.
Over the years, he has built an internet presence and personal brand that has extended into handfuls of different markets. However, no matter which direction he goes, he always stays true to his primary mission: building smart, passive income streams for yourself.
I had the opportunity to chat with Pat. And the most fascinating part wasn't so much his accomplishments to date (although the list is impressive), but rather his journey to finding work/life balance.
You would think "Smart Passive Income" would come with balance built in, but that's what was so interesting about chatting with Pat. He explained that finding balance takes work, and as an entrepreneur it can be easy to lose sight of how important it is for the long term.
"It's hard, because when you're in a 9-to-5 job, then you know that at 9 o'clock you're at work, and then at 5 o'clock you can leave the office and turn that part of your life off. But when you're an entrepreneur, you can always go into your phone or onto your laptop and continue working. And it got to the point where I was getting obsessed with my work. It's actually because the work was going very well. But it was also having a negative impact on my personal life. So that's when I had to start setting boundaries, and structuring my daily routines a bit differently," he said.
Pat explained that the trick with balance is to not teeter too far over to one side or the other, and that if (and when) you do, to have alerts in place to help you get back to the middle as fast you can.
"That's how I live my life now," he said. "I know there are ebbs and flows when I'm going to be completely with my family, and then other moments when I'm going to be completely into my work. It's a give and take, but what's important is that you're paying attention to which side of the fence you're on and for how long."
How does Pat Flynn recommend doing it?
Structure your schedule for you.
Over the years, Pat has learned to allocate certain tasks to certain days. For example, Mondays are his writing days, Tuesdays are his podcast-recording days, etc. This schedule allows him to stay in a certain mindset for the majority of the day, instead of going between different (and sometimes conflicting) states. Bouncing back and forth between introspective writing and extroverted podcast hosting can be exhausting. So better to save them for different days.
Set physical boundaries.
Pat was adamant about the importance of physical "workspace" environment boundaries. He explained that it's important to know, as soon as you walk into a physical space, that it's time to "work." At the same time, when you leave that physical space, you are no longer "working." The physicality of it helps act as a reminder of when your mind should be in problem-solving or grind mode, and when you should be present with friends, family, or even yourself.
Create your "miracle morning."
Coming from Hal Elrod's book, The Miracle Morning, Pat spent considerable time implementing those strategies into creating his own highly effective morning routine.
"In the morning, before the kids get up, I have already exercised, I have meditated, I have journaled a bit using the fiveminutejournal.com, and I have done some visualization on what I want to get done that day. Doing these things first thing in the morning helps me be more in tune with how I am feeling, and acknowledging wherever I am at, what I'm thankful for, and what I want to crush that day," he said.
End of the day reflection.
Pat starts every morning with a small journal entry and visualization exercise, but he also ends each day reflecting on what he'd written that morning. This provides a long-term roadmap of things that have happened and certain experiences, and can help give perspective when life gets stressful. A few minutes a day makes all the difference.
"This has become a huge surprise for me... how effective meditation is for improving focus and overall skill," said Pat.
He said that, at first, he thought meditation was a joke. But then he started to hear about other entrepreneurs using meditation as a form of practicing focus, which got him interested in trying it out. It was actually a friend of his who showed him a product called The Muse, which is a headband embedded with brain sensors to read how active or not-active your brain is--and connects via Bluetooth to an app. The app then shows you how you're progressing over time, gives you little rewards, and helps gamify the meditation process. And for Pat, who has always been a gamer and tech user, this was his language.
"Not that I am able to get rid of all the traffic in my head, all the time," he said, "but I'm more aware now when that traffic is there and my head is cloudy. I can get back on track much faster because of it."