Creating IDEs for Life ๐ŸŒŸ

Posted on: January 24, 2020

Not to be confused with Ideal Development Environments, I define IDEs as โ€œIdeal Day Environmentsโ€ as environments where I can make the best of every day.

An ideal jog one ideal day in an ideal day environment ๐Ÿ™‚

Letโ€™s start with the fundamentals:

Fundamental #1: Big success is an accumulation of small daily wins

You achieve big goals in life by executing small each day. The accumulation of these small wins appears like big successes at the end of the year.

I always say โ€œThere is no great year, only great daysโ€. What you can control right now is how youโ€™re going to spend your day. And the good news is: Thatโ€™s all you need to fix. You make your ideal days, and the days will make your ideal life.

Hence, you need to define your goals not by the end result but by the daily habits that will lead to the end result.

Fundamental #2: Your ideal day is one where you execute all your daily habits

Once youโ€™ve broken down your life goals into daily habits, youโ€™ve automated your goals. Letโ€™s say you shortlisted 10 habits you want to execute daily, then an ideal day would be one where you can get all 10 of them done.

Here are some examples of great daily habits you can pick from based on your life goals.

Fundamental #3: Habits remove the dependency on will power

Now, you cannot rely on things like discipline and will power to make sure you execute those habits every day.

Instead, you should create a machine-like system that executes the habits as a way of life. This is exactly where the concept of IDEs come in.

What are IDEs?

Every machine has a rating. To work at its best, the machine needs to be in a certain temperate range. Many machines have a power rating, a voltage rating, and a frequency rating.

Hereโ€™s another less technical example:

Some wines are best served at room temperature while others have a specific temperature rating. Some wine glasses bring out the flavor and smell of the wine much more than other regular glasses.

These parameters define the environment in which the wine or the machine tastes best or performs best.

Similarly, we all need IDEs. Not to be confused with Ideal Development Environments, I define IDEs as โ€œIdeal Day Environmentsโ€ as environments where I can make the best of every day.

A lot of highly productive people go on deep work vacations to their IDEs however during these days, they focus on getting a lot done. And then, they come back to their cities or families.

My approach is to live in my IDEs every day so I donโ€™t need to accumulate my ideal life into small capsules of time.

My Ideal Day Environments

Since Iโ€™m a digital nomad, I can define multiple ideal day environments.

Iโ€™ve considered places the quality of life and cost of living ratio is ideal. Additionally, as explained above, rather than adding friction to my daily habits, these places support them.

Iโ€™ve set the criteria for my IDEs as follows:
  1. Excellent wifi speeds for digital work (essential requirement)
  2. A forest, lake, or beach around for jogging/running (fuels my daily habit of jogging and the beach is my favorite place to go for a run)
  3. A good quality gym nearby for workouts (the best gym is the one closest to you)
  4. Availability of clean and fresh vegetables (places with abundance of organic vegetables or farmer markets)
  5. Where the foods you eat are affordable and high quality and natural protein and nutrient-rich โ€“ this includes seafood, tofu, and eggs (this aligns to my new pescetarian eating)
  6. Good cafes to work from at good prices (I prefer cafes run by local entrepreneurs over the Starbucksโ€™ of the world)
  7. The people element โ€“ has existing or potentials friends and family-like people who can associate and hang out with but only when you want and only with those who fuel your growth or ideal days (People are good but you donโ€™t need people who bring you down)
  8. Has clean air quality compared and is not extremely crowded (Personal wants after spending a lot of time in New Delhi)
  9. Has nature around or natural environments (preferably the sea) that can be reached quickly around โ€“ for example, every weekend or every other day
  10. It is easily reachable from Delhi and visa is not required or is on arrival and easy to get (essential requirements as I donโ€™t want to break by habits streak due to visa requirements!)

Iโ€™ll take an example of Bangalore, India and Da Nang, Vietnam below to explain the difference in the 2 cities based on my IDE criteria:

This is how I go about making a decision. Itโ€™s important to compare the factors that matter for you and not factors in general.

For instance, if someone is running a startup that needs access to physical resources, communities, and meetings, they would prefer Bangalore over Da Nang. But fortunately, I have no location dependency for resources which makes me free to consider other parameters that matter more to me.

When it comes to the cost of living, you should compare items you use daily and not just a general cost comparison index.

For example, beer is cheaper in Da Nang than Bangalore but if you need good quality wine, you would find more options at a better price in Bangalore over Da Nang. Again, these factors are not as important for me which is why you donโ€™t see them in the list above.

Note that this is just a sample comparison but itโ€™s real because Iโ€™ve lived in both places for enough time to be able to note these differences.

My current IDE is Hoi An, Vietnam until the month of March.

My next IDE is Mangalore, India from the month of April. Itโ€™s one of the most underrated digital nomad destinations with one the highest best (quality of life) : (cost of living) ratio.

Another IDE I loved was Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

I choose places which are not on the Nomadlists of the world as theyโ€™re crowded with co-working spaces and communities which I really donโ€™t need at this point. I consider a place with local culture and the absense of international chains, international restaurants and international people a plus.

Here are some IDEs Iโ€™m considering for 2020 and Iโ€™ve explored these options in the past to shortlist them:

  1. Mangalore, India
  2. Cam Ranh, Vietnam
  3. Trang, Thailand
  4. Vung Tau, Vietnam
  5. Quang Ngai, Vietnam
  6. Chiang Rai, Thailand

I will keep updating my personal IDEs on this blog as I explore them. Meanwhile, I would recommend everyone reading this to design their own IDEs. And remember, you donโ€™t need to go very far!

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