8 September 2019

How do entrepreneurs switch off? Lawrence Jones MBE

Recording this week’s podcast while on holiday – some might say that’s not doing a very good job of switching off but for me it is!

Do you remember when the Blackberry launched? You could suddenly read and reply to business emails on your phone. Wow! There are no two ways about it, it revolutionised the business world and what it meant to be an entrepreneur.

No longer were business people confined to the office to get the job done. Less late nights and early starts, right?

Then came the iPhone with its apps and seemingly limitless opportunities. Documents, email, social media, and everything else, all in your pocket. An office on the go.

However, what seemed incredible at the time, a decade and more down the line, we’re seeing the real consequences of. Yes, it’s useful to access the office from anywhere at any time, but where do you draw the line? We no longer leave the office behind when we close that door on the way out.

So, what did you do this weekend? Did you take the time to switch off?

It’s all well and good taking time out, going on holiday, avoiding the office at the weekend, but what is the point if your brain is still in the office? So many people are reaching the point of meltdown because we physically and mentally cannot cope with the pressures of modern life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager sitting exams or a billionaire managing a business portfolio – it is all relative and we all feel pressure.

Why isn’t it easy to switch off?

It’s obvious that we need to rest our minds more, but is it really that easy? So many people are talking about how important it is, but not about how to do it. If I am honest, switching off is something that I struggle with. It’s by no means easy! When you think about it, we teach ourselves that to be successful, you have to be thinking about your business and goals 24/7/365. So much so that we condition our brains to do more and more. The amount of people I’ve heard showing off about the long days and lack of holidays to get the job done. Yes, you need to put the work in to build a successful business, but not at the cost of your health and wellbeing. There has to be a balance.

For me, the usual methods don’t work that well. I have tried yoga. Have you ever tried yoga when your mind is so busy that even yoga won’t work? That’s me. So, my solution is finding something to distract my brain and focus on one task that isn’t work.

I switch off by painting, playing chess, writing music, exercise and by going on holiday. These are all activities that I completely lose myself in. They take all of my focus and energy. Invariably, I come out of the recording studio or gym feeling mentally refreshed and ready to carry on with whatever the rest of the day holds. That’s part of my magic formula.

Summer holiday

Holidays are an interesting topic, really. I have never been very good at them! We book a family holiday and inevitably I will do some work along the way – calling in to various teams at one of our businesses. I’d become so inspired that I had to get back to things before I even returned to the UK.

However, this year, it has been different. Sitting in Spain at the end of last week, Gail and I were coming to the end of our summer holiday. The kids were getting ready to go back to school and we were gearing up to get back to work.

Enjoying dinner, we realised that this was the first time in a long time, possibly since we started UKFast, that we’ve actually switched off while we’ve been away. No meetings over the phone, no pulling up documents on our laptops when we should have been relaxing. We’ve been focussed on enjoying every moment of time with the family and each other.

There is something magical about a holiday, even just a few days. In a new location, the world looks different – literally! Camping or in a hotel – it doesn’t matter. I guarantee that you come back reinvigorated and refreshed.

So, as I prepare to start the working week tomorrow, I can’t help but reminisce on one of the most special holidays we’ve had simply because we really took that time out to enjoy the holiday and switch off. I suppose it is an oxymoron, but I have found that the best way to stay focussed on your goals is to get distracted from time to time.

I talk more about this topic in this week’s podcast which will be released tomorrow morning. Subscribe to receive it directly to your device.

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