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Time Hacking for Digital Nomads: Getting More Time with the Right Systems

Filip Stankovski April 16, 2019


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Why We Need a New Way to be Productive?

When you’re growing a remote business and traveling, one of the things you’ll quickly find out is tough to stay disciplined and focus on work when you move into a new city. You immediately lose all your routines, habits and start to slack off work…

How do you break out of this cycle?

In a recent podcast episode, Callum McVickers, co-founder of Weird Ape, hit on a very simple tool that you can maximize your limited time when you travel. This tool is something that we all use, but we fail to optimize on a personal and business level at the level we’re capable of.

What is that tool? One word – SYSTEMS!

Understanding Systems: Why Systems Create Leverage and Use Time in Our Favor


Think about it. Why are computers efficient at what they do? They have systems. Computers complete organized activities on a consistent basis. When you click on an icon to open an app, the computer goes through the necessary activities to do what you asked it to do.

Computers don’t take breaks. They don’t lose focus. They don’t scroll through Instagam or Twitter for the 5th time in the last minute because no one commented or liked their fabulous beach photo.

And lastly, they don’t wonder around the new city and wasting hours on what to eat in the new restaurant… They simply work according to their system.

Now, think about your average human. (Please note that I’m not downplaying humans, because I happen to be one.) As you’ve probably read, humans have about a 7 or 8 second attention span, often pursue vague goals, and not consistent on the goals we make. Which makes us inefficient and ineffective if we operate without a system.

Making Your Life More Systems-Like

Applying the “entrepreneur” or “digital nomad” label to your name or reading a bunch of “productivity” books doesn’t make you any different from any other human. You still have to do the work of creating the right system to get the right results in your life…

In fact, it’s even more important as an entrepreneur, especially if you are a digital nomad to get your systems right. There are so many decisions that you need to make on daily basis that it can get a little overwhelming (aka decision fatigue). If you make new decision each day about when to eat, where to eat and what to eat, it’s going to take energy points that can be redirected to building your business.

So, what can you do? Simply – MAKE LESS DECISIONS!

Front-loading Your Decision: Why Systems Beat Willpower Every Time

Callum shared the concept of “frontloading your decisions. In other words, answering of the much “When, What, and How?” of an activity before you do it.

If you’ve ever worked on a job, you’ve seen this. Your boss already figured out what you should do and how you should do it. (If that supervisor hasn’t, then you’re in chaos). If you’ve ever been to a place where people work (like a restaurant), you’ve seen people follow a process. (“Can I take order?” Would you like fries with that?”)

By front-loading your decisions, you can “free up” mental space to focus on other things that might require more attention in your business or life. For example, if you create a process for onboarding clients, your business can free up more time to grow your business rather than getting bogged down in the daily administrative work that comes with clients. You can work smarter, not harder.

How do you implement more systems in your life? You can begin with a simple, 4-step process.
1. Create
2. Choose
3. Commit
4. Control

Let’s take a quick look at how this might work in the real world. Image you’ll need to move from your home town to Chiang Mai for the next 3-6 months.

The moment you’ll arrive at the city, you’ll start losing your routines and habits. At first you’ll say to yourself – “I deserve a break; I live only once; Tomorrow I’ll start”.

However, 2-3 months will pass and you’ll wake up and realize that you haven’t done anything and created unhealthy routine. Rather than continue to depress and complain about it, you could try this:

1. CREATE a system before you migrate to a new city
-> Written system you’ll always follow (eg. find favorite restaurant, coworking space, scooter, internet etc)

2. CHOOSE the decisions upfront – favorite food, gym, networking place, working hours etc
-> Eliminate all unimportant decisions upfront

3. COMMIT to follow your system religiously for at least few weeks until it’s on autopilot
-> You need to set your system in 2-3 days or max 1 week after arrival
-> Use your will-power intentionally until you develop the routine / system

4. CONTROL the system using accountability methods – eventually everybody will be lured away by “more interesting” things to do and neglect the system for a day or two that will end up breaking up the system
-> Have an accountability partner or use some app to track the habit patterns

You can use this process to systematize the way you handle money, handling your email, and plenty of other things in your business and at home.

Don’t leave it to chance, have a system for your core goals in life!

Callum McVickers

Your focus should be on systemizing the important parts that you want to control. Things like:
⦁ Finances
⦁ Paperwork
⦁ Email
⦁ Your fitness habits
⦁ Processes in your business

By choosing to make your decisions ahead and reinforce those decisions, you give your brain an opportunity to focus on other things that can put you further ahead in life. Systems also make it easier to deal with the unexpected. Systems also make it easier to persist in a habit.

This is why Callum emphasized systems over willpower. After a point, our willpower, which is influenced by our emotions, can run out. That is when we need something else.

By creating a system, we’ve made it much easier for our brains to go with a decision that it has already made rather than rely on feelings to get things moving.

Let’s systems rule your life and don’t make the same decision over and over again!

Callum McVickers

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Author

Filip Stankovski

I'm a top rated sales freelancer on Upwork and Level 2 Seller on Fiverr. I believe that the new entrepreneurs are remotepreneurs and the purpose of the podcast is to teach people how to adjust to the new future of doing business - REMOTELY!

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