Join our managing editor Hao Tran on ‘How I Work In Vietnam,’ a new series exploring productivity in the creative and business communities of Vietnam.
Last year Hao Tran joined the office of an investment firm in Vietnam. He’s now the managing editor of Vietcetera. With his Vietnam journey just starting, here’s his breakdown of how he works.
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Current Gig: Managing Editor at Vietcetera
What does your morning routine look like?
Within the first 20 minutes of waking up, I drink one litre of water. For breakfast, I eat four sunnyside eggs and a banana. I’ll read The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. I also scroll through my Twitter feed, which I curate for financial news and travel content. I’ll read Saigoneer for daily Vietnam updates. I try to skip coffee until I need my midday pick-me-up.
How do you plan your day?
A couple days in advance. It helps make sure that my meetings are near each other. You can spend a lot of time in taxis here in Saigon.
How do you stay on top of your tasks?
I use tools like Trello, Messenger, Gmail and Google Calendar. I memorize keyboard shortcuts to speed up tasks. I don’t have any games on my phone and keep the real estate on my phone below 20 applications. For applications outside of work, I mostly use Instagram.
What’s your favorite spot to get stuff done in Saigon?
I work at Workshop Coffee and Vietcetera Cafe.
When in the day are you the most productive ?
In the early morning, when the breeze is fresh and the crowds are thin.
What’s your best tip for saving time?
Delete Snapchat, YouTube, and any games from your phone. Invest into the best laptop and phone your bank account can buy. It’ll save you much more time over its lifetime, than the money you’ll save with a cheaper option.
What do you do that no one else does?
I collect frequent flyer miles! I love traveling and am always finding ways to refresh my passion for it.
How do you keep yourself healthy?
Set aside a time to keep fit. Practice a balanced diet and be consistent, especially for breakfast.
How do you wind down in the evening?
Read a magazine or watch an interesting documentary. I just watched a documentary on Netflix about French society and its relationship with Les Bleus, France’s national football team. It’s an interesting perspective about modern day social challenges in Europe.
Best advice you’ve received while working in Vietnam.
Don’t get excited too early and don’t be a pessimist.
Can you recommend one book on self-help or productivity?
The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau. It helped set the model for Vietcetera, among other online businesses I’ve worked on in the past.
How do you keep your motivation up in tough times?
The support and trust I have with my friends and family.
What new skills are you learning and why?
Empathy, negotiation, and discipline. You can only learn these skills by actually practicing it.