As a digital nomad, I’ve been working for myself for a very long time. Since I run an online business, I don’t have to go to the office every day in order to get my work done – I can simply do everything on my laptop. Therefore, I’ve been a superfan of international travel for more than one decade.

  • Get rid of low-leverage activities.

As I am able to travel the world while doing remote work, I have decided not to do the following low-leverage activities:

  1. I don’t answer phone calls from unrecognized telephone numbers anymore. This type of phone calls only leads to bad negotiation position as well as unwanted interruption. I simply let this kind of telephone calls go to voicemail and I listen to the voicemails before I decide to call them back (or not).
  2. I don’t check my email first thing in the morning every day. I don’t want to ruin my priorities for the day, so emails could wait until 1pm when I have already finished my priorities. I also don’t check my emails last thing at night because I don’t want to have sleeplessness.
  3. I don’t agree to meetings with no end time/clear agenda. An effective meeting shouldn’t last for more than 20 minutes. I hate busyness which poses as high value.
  4. I don’t let people ramble when I’m on the phone with them. They have to get to the point fast.
  5. I don’t check my email Inbox multiple times a day. I only check my email Inbox once a day.
  6. I don’t over-communicate with clients who are low-profit and high-maintenance. Overcommunicating with high-maintenance and low-profit clients is the sure path to failure in business. I can’t make everyone happy and I don’t even want to please everybody. In reality, 20% of my clients bring 80% of my revenue; 20% of my clients cause 80% of issues in my business. Therefore, I have to stop overcommunicating with those who are wasting my energy and time.
  7. I don’t overwork in order to fix overwhelm. In the past, I would work for 16 hours per day (including weekends) in order to overcome overwhelm because there were so many things to do. But now I choose to prioritize. I focus on the high-leverage activities in my business and let small bad things happen. In other words, I work on the big picture and do certain things less well because small details don’t really make a difference (only big strategies change the game).
  8. I don’t carry a smartphone 24/7. Because I am an international traveler, I use my phone quite frequently. Yet I recently decided not to carry my phone all the time. I don’t have to be available all day every day.

I learned these techniques from my hero Tim Ferriss who is a well-known author and entrepreneur.

international travel

  • How to better performance:

In the section above, I discussed why a ‘not-to-do’ list is oftentimes more effective than a to-do list in my freelance business. Indeed, what I don’t do determines what I can actually do. After getting rid of the above-mentioned nine common and stressful habits that many freelancers have, I’ve upgraded my performance in business.

What’s more, I’ve cultivated some new habits that are really beneficial:

  1. I go to bed early. When I was younger, I used to go to bed very late at night, e.g., 3am in the morning! Nonetheless, nowadays I choose to go to bed very early, e.g., 9pm. Yes, productivity starts the night before I need to be productive.
  2. I do my workout first thing in the morning. Usually, I dance to Madonna’s songs in my living room for about 40 minutes before I eat my breakfast.

“As an international traveler and freelancer, I have some very good tips for people who are looking forward to a similar lifestyle.”