In this article, I’ll show you three simple habits to get way more done, have a much easier and stress-free life, and make more money. Almost guaranteed. Based on science!
But there’s a catch: these habits are often tough to implement for employees. I know because I have been there and done that.
When I finally created my own freelance-based business as a coder, all people in my environment were employees, and, unfortunately, nobody I knew implemented them. So I almost missed them! 😖
Here are the three daily habits that will increase the quality of your life and your success as a coder:
Habit #1 – Work from home
People think commute time is not a big deal.
In truth, commute time ranks among the most expensive things you can do and is highly detrimental to your financial success and your happiness.
Let’s start with happiness:
In a 2019 paper titled “How commuting affects subjective wellbeing”, researchers showed that long commute times reduce your happiness and can lead to mental issues like depression:
🎓 “It is found that longer commute times are associated with lower job and leisure time satisfaction, increased strain and poorer mental health.”
I could provide many more sources showing similar results, but let’s move on to the financial and time impact.
The average one-way commute time for Americans is 27.6 minutes, according to the Census Bureau.
In a year with 260 working days, that’s a whopping 240 hours of reduced productivity that is stressful and reduces your work energy.
For employees, you could argue it doesn’t matter. But as a self-employed freelancer, you could work 240 hours with an average freelance developer income of $50 that’s a $12,000 annual time opportunity cost.
Over a working life of only 30 years, contributing $6,000 to a passive index fund (ETF) at an average 10% annual yield would result in a whopping $1,136,118 nest egg.
You may miss out on becoming a millionaire just because of one hour per day in commute time!
Okay, let’s assume you’re stuck in the conventional mindset of believing your time is “free” and it doesn’t matter.
💬 Question: How much does the commute time actually cost in hard dollars without considering opportunity time costs and the drain of energy and happiness?
The average American commutes 41 miles a day to and from work (US Censor Bureau).
The average cost per mile of driving a car is $0.58, according to the US Department of Energy.
So, the direct annual costs of commute time are 41 miles per day times $0.58 times 260 working days equals $6,182.
Thus, over 30 working years, here’s another missed $1.1 million USD nest egg if you’re the average American employee!
(See previous calculations.)
👉 Summary Commute: As an online freelance developer working from home, you’d easily pick up that $3.3 million USD over 30 years — just from saving commute time and investing the difference in the stock market.
And you’d be happier too!
I’d be missing out if I wouldn’t let you know about our current offer:
But are there more simple gains you could add on top of those?
Yes, they exist! Let’s look at the second easy productivity habit that’s easy for freelancers but often tough to implement for employees!
Habit #2 – Have a 30-Minute Nap at Noon.
I sleep for half an hour every day at noon. My wife is from Spain, and it’s normal for my wife’s Spanish family to take a long siesta at noon.
Instead of plowing through a long 8-hour day until exhaustion, they work a couple of hours in the morning, sleep and recharge, and work for a couple of hours in the evening.
I love it – my quality of life has skyrocketed since I implemented this habit into my daily life.
And I became much more productive too.
Now you may ask: Is there scientific evidence on the benefits of daily afternoon naps?
You bet there is! In fact, there are too many studies to count. Here’s one:
In a popular MIT paper titled “The Economic Consequences of Increasing Sleep Among the Urban Poor,” researchers found that after more than three weeks of daily 30-minute naps, employees were more productive and invested more of their money into savings accounts.
Another paper titled “Effects of a Short Daytime Nap on the Cognitive Performance” demonstrated that napping in the afternoon improved all types of cognitive performance.
One study showed that the performance was improved by at least 2%, even considering the lost time through sleep. Although I believe taking a nap is way more beneficial than that if you’re a knowledge worker (=coder), let’s work with 2%.
2% of an average coding income of $100,000 USD yields an additional income of at least $2,000 per year. Put into the S&P 500, this yields an additional net worth of almost $400,000 USD after 30 years.
Other results of similar studies are that people who take a daily nap are happier and healthier.
Not surprising results – but all the more powerful! And almost nobody is doing it!
Is it because today’s work environments have not yet caught up to the research? Maybe.
As a freelance developer, you can implement this simple habit in an instant — and make more money, be happier and healthier – just by sprinkling a little bit of sleep into your day!
Habit #3 – Go For a Morning Walk in Nature and Listen to Business Books.
There is strong scientific evidence for the benefits of daily walking, such as
🎓 “For every 2,000 steps, risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death decreases by 10% […]” – with some convergence at the 10,000 steps per day level.
Also, walking in nature increases your work productivity and creativity:
🎓 “In 2014, two Stanford University researchers published some remarkable findings in a paper titled “Give your ideas some legs: the positive effect of walking on creative thinking”. […]
The results identified a clear link between walking and higher performance on the tests. In fact, compared to sitting, walking increased participants’ creative output by around 60 percent.”
Now, let’s layer in listening to business books on a daily basis while doing the walk.
From personal experience, I know that productivity goes through the roof as you keep compounding your business knowledge by reading business books.
It can easily increase your business results by double-digit percentage points every single year!
Let’s assume a mere 10% productivity increase from walking and listening to business books daily. (I think it’ll be 10 times that but let’s stay conservative).
As a freelance developer, your income will jump by $10,000 per year (or more). Over a 30-year life investing the difference in the S&P 500, yields a whopping $2,000,000 net worth.
And that’s not considering all the health benefits, reduced health costs, and increased life satisfaction when going for a walk daily.
By the way, here’s your first business audiobook, “Leaving the Rat Race with Python” (PDF + MP3). 100% free for you as a regular reader of this email academy!
💡 Note: This content originally came from an email sent to my coding email academy. You can signup here (free).
Summing It Up
If you implement habits (1), (2), and (3), that is, you work from home, take a nap daily, and go for a daily walk listening to business books, you can accumulate an additional fortune of $2.2M + $0.4M + $2M = $4.6M USD.
Now read again, and look how easy these habits are! Indeed, they are fun!
And your quality of life and health will improve – it may add years to your life expectancy! Low-hanging fruits, right?
To your success! 🚀
One Final Note
Creating my own coding business has been the best decision in my career – it set me free in an instant.
If you want to learn the strategies to succeed as a business owner of a thriving coding business online, feel free to check out my Becoming a Freelance Developer course.
It’s fun and has already changed hundreds of students’ lives!
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com that has taught exponential skills to millions of coders worldwide. He’s the author of the best-selling programming books Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), The Art of Clean Code (NoStarch 2022), and The Book of Dash (NoStarch 2022). Chris also coauthored the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books. He’s a computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.