4 September 2019

How do entrepreneurs switch off? Lawrence Jones MBE

Recording this week’s podcast while on holiday – ironically not doing a very good job of switching off!

We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we need to switch off. You will often hear me imploring people to take more time for themselves to avoid burning out. But is it really that easy to switch off these days?

Ironically, many of the messages telling us to switch off reach us through social media platforms, when we’re scrolling instead of taking a break. With our entire world connected through a device that is always to hand, how exactly are we supposed to switch off? It is impossible, right?

When you also add in the entrepreneurial streak, it becomes even more difficult. When you spend years training your brain to be busy, to keep going through the longest of days so that you can build a successful business, how do you then teach it to switch back off again?

I certainly don’t have all of the answers but I do know what works for me, which I share in this week’s episode of the Mind Your Own Business podcast.

For a start, it doesn’t matter if you are a teenager doing your GCSEs or a billionaire we all face pressures in our life that can build up and cause stress. Ultimately, that inevitably leads to burnout. And when you’re burnt out your productivity levels are lower, your passion and energy are lower, and you put your health and wellbeing at risk. 

Burnout is the single most disruptive thing on your journey to success. You cannot be successful if you burn out. And ironically, the more successful you become, the more pressures mount and the more susceptible you are to burning out. However, the more successful you become, the harder it becomes to turn off. 

So how do you switch off?

In my experience, daily, temporary switch-offs are essential. These are those moments when you get a change of scenery or pace. You take your dog for a walk, you move to a different spot in the office, or take a moment to do something different. For me, that is exercise or playing chess. Keeping my brain busy on one task, instead of having everything about the business buzzing around in my head, is my secret. 

I have tried the much-recommended yoga techniques for meditation and switch off but they just don’t work for me. So, instead, to switch off I distract my brain with something that I enjoy and can give my entire attention to. It works. So much so, that often after a game of squash, the solution to an issue suddenly pops into my head reducing the pressure I was feeling beforehand!

You could argue that sport or chess are not really switching off, but I disagree. For me, sport and chess are the only ways that I can truly switch off from work and thats’ how I prevent burnout. 

A lot of people have messaged me on social media asking how to switch off, which is why I talk about that very topic in this week’s podcast. Share your experiences in the comments below and on social media, to help others find their way of switching off from work and giving their brains a much-needed reboot.


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