Can You Pass the "Switching Off" Test?

Updated: Apr 23, 2021


“How can I get more done in a day?”

The answer to this is one of life’s holy grails. If we knew how to reliably squeeze more juice from our day, there’s hardly a limit to the benefits we’d experience.

More success. A sense of control over things. Less stress and more time to relax.

There are many proven methods to improving productivity. Most of them focus on how you manage your time. You’re probably aware of a bunch of them.

But what if the master key had nothing to do with those things at all?

That key is the theme for today’s reflection. It's something the greatest of all time have mastered, from pro athletes, to top executives, to the special forces.

It’s one of the things that set Michael Jordan apart from his peers. George Mumford, Michael Jordan’s mindfulness and performance coach, described it this way:

“[Michael Jordan] was like a cat.”

What did he mean?

Watch any cat—from lions, to cheetahs to your average house cat—and most of the time you won’t see much happening at all. They are the definition of low key, whether resting or nonchalantly slinking about. But then…

POUNCE. They spring into 100% intensity and are FULLY ON.

We tend to focus on what’s happening during the ON phase. That's the part we notice about people who are at the top of their game. It’s true for how we view a guy like Michael Jordan and his abilities. It’s also true for how we view our own ability to get stuff done as professionals, as parents, you name it.

But we’re overlooking the very enabler of incredible output AND well-being—and that’s what’s happening in our “in between” periods.

When you’re off, are you really OFF? Are you recovering and refilling with the same coolness, ease, and efficiency Michael Jordan did during his 2-minute breaks on the bench so you can go back out and crush it?

Or are you half-plugged-in, still thinking about what you need to do, replaying the past, churning and burning mental and emotional energy, with your tank only at 70% full when it’s time to reengage?

There is an art and science to switching fully off. It takes intelligent practice. But it holds the key to getting more done and enjoying life more in the process.

What can you do today to implement 2 minutes of completely unplugging? Start there.

I call it the Switching Off Test. Set a timer for 2 minutes and do absolutely nothing (including not actively thinking)… just relax as deeply as you can and allow your inner tank to refill as much as possible.

Do you come away feeling noticeably better? If not, keep practicing. Because that kind of rapid recharge is possible.

If you’d like to dive deeper, watch the 4 TIPS FOR UNPLUGGING FASTER video:


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