Few people can cram more productivity into a day than Pat Flynn.
The entrepreneur runs “Smart Passive Income,” a resource designed to help others run an online business and optimise it for passive income. The endeavour generates $135,000 a month on average for Flynn — some months it’s in excess of $170,000 — and involves frequent blogging, podcasting, and public speaking.
On the side, this year he also published bestselling book “Will It Fly?,” a guide to developing your own business ideas without wasting time and money, and he still manages to spend quality time with his wife and two children each day.
The ex-architect may have stumbled into the role of digital business entrepreneur by accident, but he’s honed practical methods for making it work that could be adopted by anyone trying to maximise their side hustle — whether that’s writing a book, learning a new skill, or starting a new small business.
At a recent roundtable for top independent authors who’ve published through Amazon’s platform, Flynn revealed two crucial habits that help him balance at all: obsessive scheduling and setting boundaries.
“I’ve had to create a schedule for myself, and it’s gotten more intricate with the more things that I’m doing,” said Flynn. “If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done.”
Flynn wrote his book between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., using the time his kids wake up as a hard deadline. He blocks out 30 minutes a day for social media — no more, no less.
Once, before they had kids, Flynn’s wife caught him drifting while they were having a conversation, and she correctly called him out for thinking about work when he shouldn’t have been.
“We were talking and she was like, ‘Wait a second, you’re thinking about your business right now,'” Flynn recalled. “I’m glad she caught me, especially before we had kids, because you really need to set those boundaries. The time boundary is very important.”
At home, to ensure his family doesn’t get short shrift, Flynn also sets a physical boundary: He does all of his work in his office. When he leaves his office, he “turns it off” and focuses on family time.