road trip

How "Turning Off" Creates Success

It’s been two weeks since we returned from our epic 46-day road trip. That’s 14 straight days of waking up in the same time zone, something I never thought I would appreciate.

If you snoozed for the last 2 months, my cofounder Martin and I traveled the country for our Discover Your inner Awesome podcast and had conversations with some of the brightest and best entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurial-minded people.

People like:

and many more.

We gleaned a ton of wisdom from these folks, but do you want to know the two things I noticed the country’s most successful and happiest people do better than anyone else?

  1. The most successful people are GREAT at blocking off distractions

  2. The most successful people give themselves “me” time


Let’s dig deeper into this.


Blocking Off Distractions

How often do you find yourself ready to work on something (it could be at your job or a side passion project) only to have an email come in and screw it all up.

Very reasonably, you think, “Okay this will only take a minute to read and respond to.”

You read the email, and responding actually takes about 10-15 minutes. And in that time, another email comes in, so instinctively you decide to read that as well because who can stand to have unread emails in their inbox?? 


Before you know it, it’s an hour later and you haven’t even started on the actual work you wanted to accomplish.

The most successful people aren’t a slave to notifications. They actually--gasp!--close out their email when they want to get something done. They block off time later to look at their email.

And this isn’t just email. This applies to texts and other phone notifications too. One day in LA I was riding in DiPiazza’s car and he asked me to look up something on his phone. I noticed he had 87 unread text messages. 


            Actual Screenshot from Daniel DiPiazza's phone I asked him to send me today

            Actual Screenshot from Daniel DiPiazza's phone I asked him to send me today

He said he’s gotten to the point where texting gives him anxiety, so he just ignores most of it altogether.

Courtney Slade, Photographer and Adventurer with Under30Experiences, has removed all notifications from her phone, except for phone calls (cuz you know, emergencies and shit). You know what that means? SHE tells her phone when SHE’S ready, not the other way around.


How can you put this into practice immediately?


Yes, it’s totally fair to say, “But so much of my job is in email, I can’t not email!”, or “I work in sales! I need email to prospect!”, or “My coworkers need me! how can I not respond??”

So here’s what you do:

Start small.

I'm no saying ignore 100+ messages. I'm saying close out your email and put your phone on Do Not Disturb for 30 minutes. See how much more efficient you are. Scale up accordingly. If you’re in sales and need to send outbound cold emails, turn off receiving inbound emails while you’re prospecting. As for your coworkers? They will find out very quickly that the things they think are urgent aren’t actually urgent, and they do have more ability to figure out a problem on their own than they gave themselves credit.

At the marketing agency where I used to work, I can’t tell you the number of times someone emailed me asking for something purely because they didn’t want to look it up themselves. Sound familiar?

But you know what happened when I had email closed out because I was prospecting? I’d go back into my email an hour or two later and see one email with a request, then 20 minutes later an email from that same person saying, “nevermind we figured it out!”

As a rule of thumb: If it’s truly urgent, people will call your phone.

This year for me is a practice in gaining more focus, and I started by loosening the chains from email. Rather than start my day by logging into gmail and being reactive to others’ wants and needs, on most days I don’t look at email until two or three hours into my morning. I combined that with placing my phone on Do Not Disturb for the same amount of time. And since coming back from the road trip, I’ve pulled a Courtney Slade and all notifications on my phone are turned off. Contrast this to the days when I would roll over in bed and look at email on my phone first thing. The worst.

Now I'm probably 5-10x more productive.

And when the Idea Lemon tribe gets emails from me (hint hint--SUBSCRIBE!) and I ask them to reply, I do read and reply to every single response, but I block off time to do so. I don’t stop what I’m doing the second after they hit “Send”.

That started with closing out email for 30 minutes and building my way up. Now, I’ve detached enough that when I do see an email come in, I don’t feel compelled to take action on it RIGHT NOW!

That, in turn, sets the expectation with the people trying to reach you that you don’t spend your day in your inbox or on your phone. You’ll start to notice a steady decrease in the number of supposedly urgent requests, and an increase in people magically figuring things out on their own, and hell you’ll even have some meaningful phone conversations again.

By the way, this applies to social media and all those other apps too. Have you ever heard someone say the best day of their life included crushing through their News Feed?

Want to be happier and more successful? Want to dominate your job? Cut out the distractions. You’ll actually get shit done.


Leave a comment below with the one thing that distracts you the most.

Take care and be awesome today,


Road Trip Diaries: What Did We Learn? (Nashville & The End of Our Trip)


Idea Lemon is on an epic road trip August 8 - September 20, taking our Discover Your Inner Awesome podcast around the country in partnership with our friends at the kickass travel community Under30Experiences. If you daydream of going to places like Bali, Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, Iceland and more, you HAVE to hit up U30X. Their trips have changed our lives. We're all about helping you do more of what you love, so use Promo Code "idealemon" for $100 off your booking.

After 46 days on the road and 12 locales, our epic road trip finally comes to a close in Nashville. We departed on this journey when it was Tazo Iced Tea season and return during Pumpkin Spice Latte season.

What a journey it’s been. From making amazing new friends, to tasting local cuisines, to starting dance parties, to podcasting with people we are grateful to now call friends, there is so much we’ve learned. We bottled as much of that knowledge as we could into the season finale of our podcast. No guests on this one, just Martin and I having some real talk with each other.



This episode is way longer, 2 hours in fact, but that's just how much we had to talk about. Trust me, it's all worth listening to, just maybe break it into two separate listens.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

+The difference in work habits and approaches to work in different regions of the country

+Finding your ‘pockets of interest’ wherever you are

+Figuring out if your potential is capped by your location

+Embracing the things you actually like

+Giving yourself a break when you feel you need it

+Going from being a spectator to being the one who people spectate

+Finding focus in your interests

+You don’t have to do everything from scratch

+Breaking away from a starving artist mentality

+How money validates that your idea has worth

+How new technologies enable more people to fail, and fail longer

+Just because it doesn’t make you money, doesn’t mean it’s not part of your career

+The most successful aren’t the best, they just kept doing it

+Getting started gives you a baseline and benchmark to work off of

+Acknowledging your default activities and doing more of your defaults

+How we tend to devalue our own work when showing it to others if we feel it’s not perfect

+Letting your emotions go in order to move on to the next thing

+How to get started when you feel like you have so many ideas and don’t know where to get started

+Taking on a “don’t think, just do” mentality

+How Tony Hawk was able to go all in on one thing and still explore everything

+Making yourself necessary all the time

+Moving past limiting your own creativity

+Everyone has a “something” they can do quickly and do great

+Leveling up in your skill set and interests

+Granting yourself access to a seat at the table you want to sit at

+Taking a good hard look at what you did wrong and using that to improve in the future

+Finding and embracing the things you do that get people excited

+How to get people to feed your creative engine

+It’s not as hard to make new friends after college as most people think

+Becoming the catalyst for creativity

+How to get people to gravitate towards you

+Leaning into excellence by being around people who elevate you

And that wraps up what truly was an epic road trip. Shout out to everyone who helped make this possible, and made it memorable along the way, and thank you to all of you who followed along. Our journey doesn't happen in the first place without having an audience to create for.

More good stuff to come your way when we launch season 3 of the podcast. Until then,

Take care and be awesome today,



Road Trip Diaries: The Real Life Diaries Of A Nomad (Austin)

Idea Lemon is on an epic road trip August 8 - September 20, taking our Discover Your Inner Awesome podcast around the country in partnership with our friends at the kickass travel community Under30Experiences. If you daydream of going to places like Bali, Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, Iceland and more, you HAVE to hit up U30X. Their trips have changed our lives. We're all about helping you do more of what you love, so use Promo Code "idealemon" for $100 off your booking.

Here are our final notes from Austin!

Back when we spent time in Belize this past January as part of an Under30Experiences vacation, we noticed several people call out that they wished they had the life of the company founder Matt, and trip leader/adventure photographer Courtney Slade. It’s something we found interesting because the life of the nomad is something that’s often glamorized but rarely analyzed.

As we’ve been on this road trip, we’ve encountered several instances where people ask what we did during the day and our answer is, “we worked,” much to their surprise and confusion.

Being a nomad is definitely an amazing thing, but to know if it’s right for you it’s important to understand everything that goes into it.

As we get closer to closing out our road trip, we were able to catch Courtney at her home in Austin, Texas while she was on break from leading Under30Experiences trips for 9 straight months. We explored nearly every detail of life as a nomad and tackled the question, “What’s the best approach to a nomadic life?”. We covered the highs, the lows, the parts where you have to pinch yourself, and the parts where you just need to let out a good cry.

                             photo by Courtney Slade. @sladesstory

                             photo by Courtney Slade. @sladesstory

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s truly like to live a nomadic life, listen to this episode.



In this episode, you’ll learn:


+Dealing with the ‘real world’ things while traveling

+Realizing the things that are truly important

+Finding ways to cut out the noise

+How routines are crucial to living nomadically

+The effects changing time zones and climates on a regular basis has on your body and psyche

+The benefits and drawbacks of overpreparing and underpreparing

+Why we need comfort even when we break our comfort zone

+Why it’s necessary to be okay with the unexpected while traveling

+Whittling down to the essentials

+The smell of your laundry can sometimes tell you where you’ve been

+Thriving off of not knowing what each day brings

+How to let go of the little things

+How travel makes you find new solutions

+Taking an “I’ll be back” mindset to be more relaxed as you travel

+Living for the “in betweens” of your journey

+Being a solo flyer versus a social flyer

+The difference between good movies, and “airplane good” movies

+How you sometimes crave alone time when traveling

+Finding the activities that help you recharge and recenter

+Listening to your mind and body to become more in tune with yourself

+The culture shock you can experience when you take a break from being a nomad

+The beautiful moments you experience where you have to pinch yourself

+Traveling through the eyes of a photographer

What up! My name is Rajiv Nathan and I'm the Cofounder of Idea Lemon. That banana peel you slipped on to land here came from me. That's because I fancy myself a human Curious George, and the yellow hat I chase is life's authentic moments. I share my chase one story at a time through this blog, our email newsletter, and as a rapper. Follow along here to learn how to build a fulfilling lifestyle that gets you noticed for what you love.