What keeps the world rolling?
What keeps your company making money?
What keeps you showing up for work everyday?
There are two big things “digital nomads”, freelancers, online marketers and entrepreneurs don’t talk about. One is Family. The other one is Discipline. It’s my favorite word.
You see, once you GO ROGUE. there will be days when you won’t feel like leaving the bed.
In fact, I have the theory it’s most days, for most people.
Even if you are the owner of the company. Even if you are the drive behind the project.
Now I don’t know why this is. And you don’t know either. Maybe you are rich already. Maybe you have enough. The first good new is I don’t need to know why. I don’t judge reality. I adapt my strategy to it and hustle. I can solve a problem even if I don’t understand its root cause.
The point is it’s a bothering feling you have to fight against (and win) every day in order to get your side hustle up in the air.
So we need to come up with a way to override that hurdle, because your goals, and who you want to become as Man are on the other side. The second good new is I found a way to do this.
I’ve written massively about it in Experiment&Standardize:
- Campaigning and Marathoning
- The Burning the Ships Strategy
- Taking Things to the Next Level While Everybody Else is on Holidays
- The Executor Mode
- These are the best articles about Discipline & Productivity.
In fact, the very name of Experiment&Standardize comes from the thought that the more processes you put on auto pilot in your life the more free you are.
FREEDOM THROUGH DISCIPLINE.
Many people hate companies. Old companies suck. They make a slave out of you. They have strict timetables, lots of rules and limitations. A law firm will demand a 15 hour daily shift of everybody in it. HR makes sure everybody is on time and look like they are working. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the reasons digital nomads exist in the first place.
Of course, this creates massive inefficiencies. Like people not being very productive or checking facebook for two hours out of eight, when they should be working.
But it’s also the main reason why companies WORK. In every company there is a system that forces workers to show up. Not to work, not to be productive, not to be brilliant. Just to show up.
“If I’m not dead or in a coma, I show up.”
Then, the unwilling worker thinks: “since I’m here, I’ll try to make the most of it.” And magic happens. You start producing. You outline the business plan. You cold call ten leads. You start executing your selection process. Even if you didn’t feel like it in the first place.
Magic happens. People work even when they didn’t feel like it in the first place.
It’s like going to the gym or boxing. Didn’t you ever wake up and think:
“Damm, I really don’t feel like being punched in the face this morning.”
Of course you have. Cassius Clay did. Connor McGreggor does. Great athletes. Still human.
What made them succeed is they still went to the gym. It’s also what will make you accomplish your gym goals. You just go to the locker room and think: “since I’m here, I’ll try to make the most out of it”. Then you just read your pre-scheduled excercises or do what Coach says.
Being productive is being productive in any area of your life. Also at work.
Now we’re trying to get the best from the corporate world and apply it to our entrepreneurship lifestyle.
The problem to solve is that when you go freelance you have no “skin in the game” to put in the hours. At least not as much as when you worked in a company.
The problematic is: what are those specific features/facts/specs that make people show up in a traditional company (that you don’t have now you are an entrepreneur)?
THE SECRET TO PRODUCTIVITY
The Ultimate Guide to Keep Being Productive When You Don’t Work in an Office Anymore
I’ve identified the factors that make companies work and how you can implement them into your freelancer routine.
Let’s start with the basics. Companies are not only money making entities. They also have at least one physical place attached to it.
It’s the reason people sometimes say “go to the office” instead of “go to work”. At least they do in Spanish.
Physical places massively influence our feelings and motivations (remember the locker room example before?). If you are in a working space, the ambience will make you feel like working.
Therefore, don’t try to put it the hours your start up requires from the sofa of your comfy home. Make it personal to leave the house and go to the office everyday in the morning. Don’t think what you will do once there, don’t ask yourself why. Just go.
Go where? Well, rent your own office, find a serious looking coworking space, share an actual office with other workers. But go to a working place. Not to a café. Not to a room in your house. Not to the sofa.
Move your body. Commute. Walk. Bike. Take the car if you must. But remove yourself from the house and go to a working place.
I read somewhere that the secret to finding your passion in life was asking yourself: “what would you do if you were forced, at gun point, to leave your house everyday?”.
Well, this is the answer. Go to the office, whatever your office is. Every morning, you go to the office.
You use the sofa for sex, chilling and jumping while dancing to a music your neighbours hate. Not for working.
N#1: Associate WORKING with a PLACE different than home by displacing your body to that “OFFICE” everyday.
In other words, you need a PLACE to show up at in order to be able to show up for work at all.
This will set your mind in a working mode. You will get there and meet other people that work, which takes us to the second point.
N#2: Go WORK where other people WORK everyday.
It’s the reason cafés don’t work for working (pun intended). That and having to leave your laptop and papers unattended while going to the bathroom.
You need the social pressure of showing up or you won’t always show up. I don’t care if you think you are not influenced by people at all. It’s a lie. No man is an island. You want other people to see how much you work, even if they have no idea what you are working at. You want to talk about football by the coffee machine during your breaks, even if you know nothing about football. You want to feel a sting if you are checking facebook or texting girls while everybody else is working. And my favorite, you want to feel amazing if you are alone in the office, still putting in the hours at 23 pm, while everybody is at home resting.
Amazing things happen when many people are working together in the same space.
Don’t make this a solo trip. I learned this the hard way. If you have more than 3 workers in your company (meaning you are 4+) I would still be in a big office with more people.
It’s very easy to stop being productive if you are working with three friends in a basement. Instead, go big. Go work with more people even if they belong to another company. Cool stuff can happen, like meeting somebody you are interested in (professionally or personally) or that word many people talk about but nobody really understands: s-i-n-e-r-g-i-e-s.
We’ve emphasized four things in this guide so far (I know, I also hate it when it’s more complicated than just following the bullet points).
- The Movement of the Body (from Home (or wherever you wake up, bastard) to the Office).
- The Power of Showing Up.
- The Place per-se (The Office).
- The People in The Office).
Two to go. This is by far my favorite.
Did you ever put an ironed, fresh shirt on and instantly felt better? Do you like taking care of your shoes? Here’s how to do it properly:
- Nurture the leather
- Wipe so it’s absorbed
- Polish again
- Spray some shiny protector on it
You get what I mean. Any respectable office has a dress code. It’s one of the things I liked about working corporate: dressing my best everyday. It made me feel empowered, amazing, capable of anything.
It may be Casual Business, like the crazy guys at Google Inc, but it’s still a dress code. If you follow my advice 100%, dress like a PIMP to be more productive. If you don’t like the PIMP analogy (researching google images I only found shiny clowns) dress like my friend Alphonse:
Make it a ritual to wear your three pieces suit. Enjoy how people treat you when you look your best. Get used to it. And think about this:
“If you put so much effort showering, dressing your best and showing up at the Office where other people are working, are you really not going to be productive?”
So unless you are some code cracking hacker with a world domination plan in execution:
N#3: Dress for WORK.
Somebody told me once: “It’s not creative if it doesn’t make you money.”
I say “it’s not work if you can do it in your pijama.” It’s not serious business if you don’t have to dress up. Actually, 80% of a Man’s work could be reduced to dressing up and showing up (and maybe not talking too much). Because once there, surrounded by other workers, social pressure and your own logic makes you lock in, start up, hustle, get down to it. It makes you work.
DRESS SHARP TO FEEL SHARP.
Even if you are not 100% in. Even if you’re not the most efficient while working.
Sometimes it’s not about how productive you are but about how many hours you put into being “a little” productive.
These rules are the basics. I will expand on the accessories some other time (like having a cool place to work at, sleeping the right way or making it easy to wake up by preparing the perfect breakfast, or working on something that challenges and pushes you, or having good women back at home to recharge your batteries with).
There is a last rule and it’s a reason it’s last. Sin ambajes:
N#4: Make money.
Frequently overlooked. It doesn’t matter if you’re sucking from a fundraising pot. Make sure you’re cashing in all this effort. Your bank account must be growing NOW or real soon.
If you are starting up and it drags in time (stalls?), without external funding (i.e. a salary for the founders), you should not look to keep it up for more than 3 months.
It’s not good for your reputation. It’s not good for your brain. It’s not good for your feeling of self worth.
Whatever you do, it should be worth it.
Finally, fellow entrepreneur/digital nomad, remember that you will be most productive the less you travel. Accept it. Routine is needed for productivity.
That is not to say you can’t alternate really productive sedentary weeks with short less productive trips elsewhere.
But, isn’t that similar to working from Monday to Friday and then take a plane on the weekend?
I want to have a house that I can decorate with all the beautiful things that I collect during my travels!
-A female digital nomad.