Learning How To Build Capacity With Balanced Time & Energy


This morning I woke up at 6 am here in Sydney and jumped on a What Works Community webinar hosted by Shawn Fink.

The topic was How To Build Capacity With Balanced Time & Energy and this was the description that Shawn wrote for the event:

If only we had endless amounts of time to do all the things — including taking really good care of ourselves. Being the CEOs of our businesses, though, means a constant running to-do list that seems to never end. How do you build capacity with balanced time and energy?”

Even though I was 20 mins late I’m glad I joined the session (honestly, I had totally forgotten that it was happening until I looked at my calendar when I woke up).

I found Shawn’s prompts valuable and enjoyed the sharing from everyone on the call.

My Key takeaway:

“You can feel the energy in your business when it’s working” vs when it’s just “busy work”.

Are you experiencing misalignment in your business?

Something that became apparent for multiple people on the call was that they felt the things that lit them up and felt passionate about were outside of their business i.e. in their personal life. Then there was the act of doing not-so-fun work to make the money.

Shawn challenged this by suggesting that if you’re not doing work that you enjoy then there’s perhaps misalignment. So you’ll need to go through a process of discernment to understand if what you’re doing is really in alignment with the life and business that you want to create.

There’s another school of thinking that is worth exploring here – Hugh MacLeod’s sex and cash theory. Hugh’s theory basically suggests that:

The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs. One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.

Related reading: How to Be Creative by Hugh MacLeod

I feel that there’s no one way to approach this. It’s all about feeling into what works better for you.

My belief is that…

the more time I’m doing things that I’m passionate about and engaged by,

the more I’ll show up as the best version of myself,

the more that people will be attracted to my positive energy and want to be around me

and the more successful I’ll be.

The trick for me is to consciously choose more activities that give me energy rather than giving too much of my focus to activities that take energy away. I talked about this once on my friend Steven Napolitan’s More Business More Life podcast.

What I do know is that whenever I’m chasing the money, and not paying attention to balancing that with doing things that I enjoy – that’s when I get burnt out. Been there multiple times and I’m feeling that I’ve definitely improved this over the years.


It’s not about only doing things in your business that you enjoy either.

I feel it’s unrealistic to expect that everything you do lights you up at all times. As with any job, there’s going to be parts of it that you absolutely love and parts of it that you don’t get jazzed about, but you can do it (or delegate it).

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I own. What assets can I build in my business that give me time and money leverage?

I first came across the idea that “income follows assets” in 2015 when I came across Dent’s Key Person of Influence book and subsequently signed up for their 40-week accelerator program.

Here’s a quick video that explains this concept:

Doing marketing versus feeling marketing

Another interesting distinction that Shawn made was “doing marketing” versus “feeling marketing”. In other words, how different would your marketing be if you were feeling great whilst writing your marketing copy or recording a video?

This is why I resonate with education-based marketing and sharing my tips on podcast interviews or through public speaking. When I do those things I’m passionate about it, and they don’t feel like I’m selling. What happens is that I’m in flow and then I often get people asking about my B2B marketing services afterward.

I’ve literally had multiple occasions where I’ve been interviewed for sixty minutes on different podcasts about how to craft compelling case studies that help you sell more, and when the host hit stop on the recording they said “I need your service. How can we get started?

Over the years I’ve learned that I need to sell like the Projector profile that I resonate with, which means I need to wait to be invited and not push for sales (doing cold outreach for example). When I focus on pull energy, not push energy, magic happens (funny how that works).

Taking on too much and chasing too many distractions lead to overwhelm and burnout

This is one of those “no-duh” moments, but it’s an easy trap to fall into. I’m definitely guilty of it.

One cause for this is that we don’t often consider the opportunity cost of chasing the shiny object and switching from what we’re currently doing.

Tara McMullin put it nicely in her IG post:

“We’re so eager to consider the benefit of choosing one direction or the other that we rarely stop to weigh what we’re giving up no matter what we choose.

(Entrepreneurial optimism compounds this tendency by convincing us that we can DO IT ALL. Not that I would know anything about that…)

Now, opportunity cost isn’t a bad thing. It’s a really useful tool.

Being aware of the opportunity costs of any opportunity or choice helps us make stronger decisions about the route we’re going to take to get where we want to go.”

Here’s the full IG post:

How much of your working day are you dedicating to impact moves?

This is what Shawn refers to as an “impact move”.

What is an activity that you do that produces good results for you such as attracting more sales? Once you’ve identified it, do more of it. Then consider:

How can you intentionally design your business and schedule your days such that you’re creating more opportunities for impact moves?”

Take a moment to ask yourself this question and write down your answers.

A vision of where I’m headed and how I will build capacity in my business this year

Shawn asked some powerful questions during the session. Below are my answers.

What actions do I need to have higher capacity?

  • Teaching others and seeing them succeed,
  • Facilitating workshops,
  • Interviewing inspiring people,
  • Writing without pressure,
  • Morning walk

What are my impact moves?

  • Working towards getting speaking engagements
  • Serving clients in a way that gives me energy eg. coaching, consulting, facilitating workshops, sharing videos + frameworks
  • Building assets that leverage time and money eg. podcast, book, frameworks/templates, courses

What is the habit that you need to begin, or what do you need to stop, so that you are being more consistent so you’re not falling into burnout?


  • Overcommitting myself to too many projects
  • Saying “yes” to things that are distractions


  • Book speaking gigs
  • Producing weekly articles to grow my website traffic and leads
  • No people/client day


  • Using ZipMessage for async meetings
  • Choosing which communities/groups to engage in (max 3 at a time)
  • Doing more things that light me up during the week
  • Saying “no”

So why am I doing all this?

This year I’m rethinking my business model. I want a business that looks more like this:

– More space for family, adventure, spontaneity, travel (when we can fly again), and doing things that light me up 

– More of my income coming from digital products/productized service/affiliate sales, and less direct time-for-money exchanges (copywriting clients and project work I’ve been doing for a client)

– Increase leads via organic website traffic, my podcast, and appearing on other peoples’ podcasts and blogs.

– Introduce automated sales systems (inspired by this interview that What Works founder Tara McMullin did with an entrepreneur who has automated a great percentage of her sales process)

So what’s next?

Well, I hope this recap has been helpful to you in some way, and that you create the time and space to regularly question how and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Does it align with who you want to be, the life you want to live, and the direction you want to move toward?

If you want some additional resources I recommend:

  • Check out Shawn’s website, listen to her podcast, and follow her on Instagram.
  • Read Work Less, Make More by James Schramko or listen to this series of life lessons which were the foundation of what became the book. James’ book lays out a pathway for building a leveraged online business. It’s written by an entrepreneur who’s created a successful business that allows him to spend more time surfing (a passion that he only picked up a few years ago) and being present with his family.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter. I’m committing to writing more and sharing more of my entrepreneur journey, as well as marketing tips, on a weekly basis.

(Photo by Andy Hutchinson on Unsplash)

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