One of the major benefits of being an entrepreneur is complete control over your own schedule. Depending on your business, this might open the door for some international travel that you've been putting off for years. The question becomes: Can you effectively work abroad?
The good news, and I know this might come as quite a shock, is that the internet is rather global. I know, it’s straight out of left field. If your business is the kind that doesn’t require you to be physically present to function, you really have enormous options when choosing a destination. If it does require you to be present to function, do yourself a favor and start taking steps to build in automation.
Now, this article isn’t going to cover the ‘ins and outs’ of setting up yourself or your company for efficiency and autonomy -- that’s a different story all together. Instead we’ll talk about a couple of the not-so-commonly recognized benefits that come up when trying to navigate working from another time zone -- of at least six hours or more.
The glorious email delay. One of the great parts about working abroad with a substantial time change is that you wake up to all the emails from the day before, and thus, can hammer through them in a pretty short period of time while those to whom you respond are fast asleep. This means that you don’t get trapped in the back and forth that can occur throughout the day when emails turn into full-blown conversations.
You’ll have to be careful about this point when responding to emails because you cannot leave open-ended or overly-general questions on the table. Re-read every email that you’re about to send at least twice and ask yourself, “what questions are the recipient(s) going to ask as a result of this email?” Then reconstruct the message to include concise answers to any potential responses to limit the back and forth as much as possible.
Gone are the normal distractions. When you’re working from your usual place, you are constantly distracted by everyday happenings. Although you may not realize it, trust me, it's happening. The dog needs to go for a walk, your neighbor needs help jump starting their dead car battery, a lunch that you scheduled as a favor to a client, a mandatory happy hour with an old college friend you barely remember -- the list goes on and on. It’s not to say that these items aren’t important, but they do provide time-consuming distractions that lead you away from efficiency.
Want to know what’s great about working abroad? They’re all gone! Your time is split up between only two items -- work and enjoying your travel. That’s it. If you take and set aside three to four hours each morning, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done without these common items occupying your time and brain power.
If you can figure out how to create overly efficient days while abroad, you will allow yourself to spend less time working and more time enjoying traveling and exploring the world.