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.
(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.
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!