Why I Commute 90 Minutes Each Day

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 03/11/10 •  5 min read

For the past few weeks I’ve been doing something I have never really had to do before: commute.  You might be wondering how I could possibly have a commute when I can roll out of bed and work in my boxers all day.   I’ve found it extremely important to find a workspace outside of my home if I have any hope of being productive.

It is a pretty wild concept for me.  In my previous life, I had a 5 minute drive with premium parking in downtown Portland.  Now I have more flexibility than ever before, yet I choose to spend a good 90 minutes round trip to make it to my “office”.

For awhile I had been going to a cafe down the street from my apartment, however I don’t think they were big fans of me squatting there for hours on end.  Which brings us to Third Place.

How I came to know about this spot is a bit unclear, but I couldn’t be happier to have come across it.  Third Place is a coworking space, where you can pay daily, monthly or annually for access to the space.  It is a beautiful open space with lofted ceilings, couches, tables and the best coffee I’ve found in Bangkok.  It is about $20 per month, but that includes many a free drink in the price.  Not to mention it is some of the fastest internet I’ve found in this country.


Outside Third Place

(Update, after failing to be able to do a video interview today due to a slow connection, the term “fast internet” is being rethought.)

3 to 4 days a week I walk 10 minutes to the BTS, take a 20 minute train ride, and then walk another 15 just to get to this spot.  However, despite the vastly increased travel time, my productivity has probably doubled.

So this what I do.  Why I do it is another question.  When I first moved here, I really struggled with productivity.  This could have been due to the black hole that was Koh Phi Phi, but I think the majority of the issues were in the fact that I didn’t know how to be productive on my own terms.  For two years I’d been complaining about the fact that I want to be able to work whenever I want, not whenever my boss wants.

Then I got that luxury, and was totally lost.  I failed to prepare for the day, as I would just sit down at my computer and see what happened. This was usually some combination of twitter, facebook and blog reading.  Not exactly the most productive use of time.

So after a few weeks went by and I stopped feeling as though I was on permanent vacation, I realized the time had come to make some changes, because no one was going to do it for me.

Step #1: Get out of the house.  If any of you have been struggling with productivity, this would be my number one piece of advice.  Go somewhere else.  A change of scenery works wonders.

So I was able to start doing that, but really never found a good, comfortable place to work until I came across Third Place.  Too bad it is all the way across town in Thong Lor (or the Beverly Hills of Bangkok as I’ve heard it referred to as).  Although, the trip over here is very good for planning.  By the time I arrive, I feel like I’ve wasted so much time getting here that I already know exactly what I’m hoping to accomplish.

Now I’ve got my work space and I’m slowly seeing my productivity increase.  I’m using a combination of Rescue Time and LeechBlock to help remind me of what I should be doing when my mind wanders.  Blog posts are slowly becoming more frequent, although I still have much grander plans that have yet to be implemented.  Most importantly, projects with the Tropical MBA are really starting to take off.  After a couple months of learning new industries, getting to know the team, and familiarizing myself with the systems, I feel as though I’m actually starting to add some value to the organization.  This is going to be a key component to ensuring that I can sustain this lifestyle in the coming years.

Don’t let yourself fall victim to the millions of distractions in the world.  If you have something you need to do, find a way to get it done.  God knows that I’ve struggled with this, but I appear to be coming around and really making a push on some key projects.

Third Place Deck

Third Place Deck

I don’t know why it can be so hard to work sometimes.  I mean honestly, after you have a good productive work session, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.  Especially as an entrepreneur, because you know that YOU are the one directly benefiting from the effort.  It’s kind of like running I suppose.  It can suck while you are doing it, but in the end you feel great about it.  Although, I actually enjoy my work, so it makes it even more of a mystery as to why motivation can be a struggle.  ADD anyone?  I swear whoever was in charge of diagnosing me as a child totally missed the boat.

I’ve asked this in the past, but how do you keep yourself productive?  I am still working through my copy of Getting Things Done, and seriously need to just sit down one afternoon and finish it.  More importantly,  I need to make more of an effort to apply some of the concepts.

Oh well, at least I now have a good place to apply them!

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Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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16 comments on "Why I Commute 90 Minutes Each Day"

  1. Moon Hussain says:


    Third Place looks incredible. Back in univ. days, I’d find that sometimes the local cafe enabled me to do more work than sitting in the library.

    Funny how our minds work. Of course, here at work, with white walls, they must think it does wonders for us (sarcasm).

    Would love to hear about what type of work you’re doing, esp. for Tropical MBA.

  2. Nick says:

    Hey Sean,

    It is your pal Nick. FYI because you are not in Portland, I am golfing with my pops and others at Pumpkin Ridge a week from Saturday. You need to come back so I can whoop you all over the course. Much love and my commute to downtown Portland for work is lovely too!!!!!


  3. Funny, isn’t it, how we can talk ourselves out of doing something that makes us feel so good? I’ve been slowly overcoming the battle with procrastination and my lizard brain and found that I just can’t work in the same spot for more than an hour or two without reverting back to bad habits.

    So, I ‘ve set up a rotation of places throughout my house where I can switch spots when I feel myself getting pulled away from my “work.” It helps a lot.

  4. Lol, I love the shrooms under the Play section of the Third Place website.

    Looks like a great place and brings up an idea of bringing something like that to a large college town that has some decent cafes and places to work and study but nothing unique like the Third Place.

    I agree about not being able to really do much productive in my own apartment. As soon as I am in a different spot or location, my productivity just increases, it is like I want to actually do some of the stuff I do not want to do. It is weird.

  5. Sid Savara says:

    Hey Sean,

    I like having a clean separation between work and play too – otherwise it’s really easy to bounce between the two, and even though I think i’m getting stuff done, I’m really not focusing

    Similar to you, I’ll head out to coffee shops every once in a while when I really need to focus and it helps put me in the mindset that I need to get work done

    Plus, if I go to Starbucks, my internet access is only good for 2 hours – instant automatic time box!

  6. Lilian says:

    Hi Sean,

    It’s good to realise what works and taking action for a change of routine that can make us more productive.What works for me is to get up, get dress and not stay in my pajamas for long. If I stayed in my pajamas, I’ll be slacking and have the illusion that I still have ‘whole morning’ when it’s already noon – time wasted.

  7. Earl says:

    Getting out of the house was the key for me as well. I spent two weeks trying out a new cafe every day here where I’m living in Mexico until I found the space that allowed me to be most productive. And now I’m there every day…

    But next time I’m in Bangkok…Third Place it shall be!

  8. Ash says:

    Funny you mention this–just in the past few weeks, I had the pleasure of meeting not one but two owners of different co-working spaces–one in Philly, (@alexknowshtml) and the other in NY (@tonybgoode). I was floored by the concept, and think it’s fantastic. The digs in Thailand are looking pretty sweet, I must say!

    In order to be as productive as I should, I’ve had to force myself to shut down Tweetdeck, X out of my Bloglines, and ignore my email…and just focus on what I’m doing. But you’ve got to be deliberate with it, I’ve found, because otherwise next thing you know you’ll be commenting on people’s blogs who are living the dream in Asia and making you extremely jealous. :p

  9. nomadic matt says:

    90 minutes? yuck.

  10. Robert says:

    90 minutes! well I must say I’m stunned…but on to the more important part…being productive! keep the tasks small, keep the dreams in front of you.

    i constantly work off a task document with small details to check off happily but it’s also a daily practice to take a step back and look at my wall where i’ve places all sorts of goal/dream visualization. perspective keeps me going along with relationship…others involved in the same endeavors…relationships are fuel!

    Nice work using RescueTime…love using data to make smart changes!

  11. Yael says:

    Hi Sean,
    Just read your blog for the first time, really enjoyed the “bucket list” – very inspiring!
    Anyway, about this post: the place looks amazing, I know I would like to find a place like that to work, sometimes just to get out of the house. About getting things done: I strongly recommend the book “Work the system” by Sam Carpenter. It really helped to organize the schedule and get the important things done (requires some initial work but it’s worth it).
    Good Luck

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