Last week I talked about how I’m right back to where I started when I first launched my copy career 10 years ago. (If you missed that blog post about business coming full circle – read it here).

It’s made me think a lot about how I run my business (and my life) – and how much that’s changed over the years.

When I first launched my biz, I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s one of the world’s most popular hubs for “digital nomads” – and the people I met there had a huge impact on how I built my business and live my life.

^^ Some of my favorite people in the world who I first met in Thailand. I swear there’s more than a few good men in there too… but they don’t pose for the ‘Gram.

Back then I was a tenacious 24-year-old willing to try anything and everything to build a freelance business that would allow me to continue my travels.

But even for those of us in the group who were older (and – mostly – wiser) …

We all joked that Chiang Mai was a sort of “never never land.”

You never had to grow up, responsibilities were fairly limited – and for the most part – you ran around like an unsupervised teenager, doing pretty much whatever you wanted, and getting away with things you probably shouldn’t.

So much free time to act a fool… you know what they say about idle hands…

While every place has its downsides (nowhere is perfect) – life is generally pretty easy in Thailand.

The food is incredible, the people are wonderful, everything is convenient, and a (seemingly small) amount of money solves most problems you encounter.

Arbitrage is a wonderful thing.

But the thing that stands out most to me is just how much TIME you have each day.

So many times in the Western world, I feel like the day runs away from me. You’ve probably felt something similar…

It feels like there’s never enough time to work on yourself, your health, your own business, or all the things you want to get better at.

But in Thailand, I would frequently “finish” my day, only to glance at the clock and realize it was barely past lunchtime.

I was working out 6 days a week, found time to read or journal every day, frequently went to 2 hour lunches with friends, and still got a solid day of work in – even with all the ‘distractions’ that come with working out of cafes or coworking spaces.

Lunch break mud run anyone? I’m pretty sure I ripped my pants on barbed wire in the first 5 min and finished the whole thing with my cheeks out.

Now there’s a few reasons for this…

For one – you’re usually 12 hours ahead of most of North America. So if you work with clients in the USA or Canada – that means you get to do all your work while they’re sleeping.

Answering emails or slack messages and NOT getting an immediate response that you feel you have to deal with, or check back in… game changer.

Knowing that no one would look at your message before the next day allows you to close loops in your brain, and saves tons of time.

Plus – knowing that you have ALL DAY to accomplish something before your clients or team even wake up and have their first caffeine injection…

That makes you feel like you have all the time in the world.

But now that I’m back in Thailand for a visit, I realize it’s so much more than that.

Today I sat down for lunch with my partner Branko, and before we stuffed our faces with half a dozen types of spicy grilled beasts…

We chatted about how (and why) life feels so much easier here than back ‘home’ in the States.

After doing some quick math, I realized that I spend close to 30 hours per week JUST maintaining our personal lives.

Between cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and planning around those things – it adds up to what most remote teams would consider “full time.”

Now, most weeks I work full time for my own business and my clients. 30+ hours a week writing, creating products, managing the team, coaching students, zoom meetings, and slack chats.

To realize that I’m adding ANOTHER full time job on top of that feels insane.

And I don’t even have kids!

Both Branko and I just stared at each other – sharing this ‘mind blown’ moment – realizing just how much LIFE we gain back simply by being here.

In addition to the perks of “living in the future”…

Someone else cleans my house
Someone else cooks all my meals
Someone else does my laundry
Someone else does my nails

And I don’t have to do any of things that take up time to make those things happen – sitting in traffic, planning grocery lists or meal plans, whatever.

I joked to Branko that this must be what it’s like to have a wife. He laughed. Nervously. Then silence ensued. 😛

The point is…

Your environment has a huge impact on your quality of life, and the way you work.

I recognize that I’m extremely privileged to have the ability to pick up my whole life and go live halfway across the world…

And I’m so grateful for my team, my clients, and my incredible business partner Kevin Rogers for giving me the space to have this kind of freedom.

But even if you’ve got circumstances in your life that put certain limitations on where you work and live…

EVERYONE has at least SOME ability to control their environment, and go where they’re treated best.

Maybe it’s working out a deal with your partner so you have a quiet space and a few uninterrupted hours to work…

Maybe you design an office space that fuels your creativity and limits distractions…

Maybe you can relocate to somewhere that puts less stress and pressure on your life – either by slowing down the pace of life, reducing expenses, limiting time spent commuting in traffic, or any other number of things that make it easier to spend time on things that are important to you.

It’s not always easy, and sometimes takes a little creative problem solving to figure out how to make it work for you.

But I promise – investing that time to set yourself up for success will pay you back 1000x over.

But of course, it’s easy for me to say this – sitting here in a cafe halfway around the world – living in the future. 🙂

I’d love to hear from you about your situation and what your ideal schedule or environment might look like to set yourself up for success. Hopefully, I can help make that happen.

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