Many Internet Marketers dream of leaving the concrete jungle to go about their work with laptops on sandy beaches. It’s the stuff those work from home jpegs are made of, right? Having stomached the first half of a bitter London winter, I would be lying if I said I haven’t been itching at the balls to fly out here to Thailand and kickstart my new life of luxury.
Even though I’ve only been in Bangkok for a week, it’s already clear to me that the quality of life is worlds apart from what I’ve known in the past. The people are friendly. They call Thailand the Land of Smiles, while my old neighbourhood was more like the Ensemble of Chavs. The food gets better seemingly every day, and my taste buds are on fire. Literally. Somebody should have warned me how the Thais love to douse meals in chilies. Of course, the weather here is bliss too.
I’ve waited a long time to live like a nomad. The biggest challenge now is to remain focused on my work while the sun is beating through my window. And if the last six days have been anything to go by, that’s something easier said than done.
I’ve always believed that your environment plays a big hand in your ability to achieve your targets. If you can’t turn your head away from the television, you’re going to miss tomorrow’s moneymaking niche. If your wife is trampling around your office telling you to do the dishes, you probably don’t want to be scouring through female dating pics.
To put it simply, your working environment dictates what you’re able to accomplish. Nothing affects an attention span quite as harmfully as a poor working environment.
I consider myself lucky to have found initial success as a young guy in my 20s, without any kids, without any mortgage and with relatively few responsibilities. It gave me the freedom of locking myself away in my bedroom and sitting at a desk throwing shit at the wall until some of it stuck. Many of you do not have that luxury.
Whether you’re working in Thailand or England, in a home office or at the kitchen table – you need to be able to cancel out the distractions of everyday life fucking with you. I’ve only just noticed since flying out to Asia how badly television can affect my productivity. How eating out can zap monumental hours out of my day. I’m still searching for a balance between work and play. And no, the equation doesn’t involve ladyboys.
Once you find a situation that allows you to focus properly, it’s easy to find a rhythm where to-do lists become yesterday’s waste in the litter basket. It’s what we call the grind. But it’s damn near impossible to slip in to that grind at the snap of your fingertips. We can become ruled all too easily by the environment around us.
So much of the success we enjoy as marketers is carved through momentum. I believe in the theory of 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration being the blueprint to success. Momentum is everything. If you don’t have an online/offline switch helping you to gravitate between work times and social times, it’s your work that will suffer the most. And probably your friends too when you explode with anger through the stress of knowing you’re not working efficiently and haven’t earnt your ticket out of the office.
There’s nothing I find more frustrating than being frustrated with myself.
I’ve become so tuned in to my former working environment that it’s truly a bitch to get my head down and work in a different climate. When I looked out of my window in London, I would see a stretch of grassy nowhereland and maybe – on a busy day – some dude being dragged along by his dog. When I look out of my apartment in Bangkok, I see a city waiting to be explored. The low hanging fruits of my work over the last few years, ready to be plucked and enjoyed.
How do you stay motivated when everything you’ve worked for is sitting on your doorstep?
I’m treating this first week as a holiday that I’ve earnt. Nobody can travel halfway round the world and expect to snap in to a working routine. So much of my success as an affiliate marketer has come from an almost robotic tendency to stay rooted to one spot and churn out profitable campaigns. It was the by-product of a mundane working environment, but a very effective one.
To get the best out of myself, I need to be in an situation where I have complete focus and concentration. As much as I enjoy working on laptops in the sun, a quiet office where I can shut myself away from the world is just the tonic I need to get by. Maybe itâ€™s the snobbery of a guy who swears by his dual screen, but Iâ€™m finding it pretty difficult to function without seventeen windows at my disposal.
Laptops are suitable, I guess, if your entire job involves sending emails. Anything more and I need my Mac. Unfortunately it’s still in transit and my productivity has gone down the shitter ever since. I don’t like having to use my finger as a mouse and I’m acting quite grouchy at the idea of having to work out of my established comfort zone. It all comes down to that environment.
If you’re working from home, you need to become a master of your own work space. Maybe the ultimate goal is to one day pack up your bags and migrate to warmer shores. But even when you’re there, there’s no such thing as retirement for an entrepreneur. Understanding how to get the most out of your working day, and how to control your environment effectively, is a prerequisite to success.
So while I’m sitting here pissing around with a shoddy baby laptop and a failing Internet connection, take a look around the room and see how you can channel some extra focus towards your work. Maybe it’s a television that needs to be switched off, or a little white noise to cancel out the cars from the street below. Maybe you should throw your kids over the balcony. Anything to focus your energies where they need to be. Actually please don’t throw your kids over the balcony. Or at least close this window before you act on impulse.
There’s always a way to control your environment. But you can be certain that most of your competition are chained to their own. Working harder and smarter than the rest, with more discipline and more drive, will nearly always get you results. The problem I’m finding, is how I can maintain that level of focus with the allure of Thailand shining through my window…
Recommended This Week:
If you haven’t read it from front to back already, snap up a copy of the brilliant 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Inspiring stuff for any affiliate marketer.
If you’re looking to explore some very different but potentially very profitable micro-niches, take a look at ShareASale. It’s like a CJ that isn’t run by a bag of dicks.