Whether you’re telecommuting, freelancing or self-employed, it’s not always easy to work from home or at the office. Staying motivated and focused on your work can be a challenge when you’re surrounded by so many distractions. It’s easy for things like food, colleagues, naps, TV, and errands to take up your entire morning.
Once in a while, it’s great to switch up your environment. Studies show that working from different locations can help improve your memory, inspire creativity and give you a more frequent state of productivity.
Our team works in a wide range of locations and can be found in both our offices, local coffee shops and at home. One of my favourite places to get work done is at quiet little coffee shops that are hidden gems.
Here are a few things that I’ve done to ensure that my time spent at a coffee shop is well spent:
Start the Day Off With Perfection
Just because you don’t have to go into the office or make it to a scheduled meeting, doesn’t mean you can sleep an extra hour. Wake up early, have a good breakfast, and prepare for the workday. Ditch your pajamas, take a shower and get dressed, make a task list and get to the coffee shop so you can start your day with a combination of both accomplishments and efficiency. Order a large cup of your favorite blend, plug in the headphones and get to work!
Limit the Coffee Consumption
This cannot be overstated. Don’t drink the coffee shop dry. Coffee shops can be a great “office” space. They have endless amounts of coffee, treats, free Wi-Fi (mostly), and lots of white noise. Seems like the perfect formula. But it can also be a breeding ground for caffeine-addicted side effects.
Whatever you do, reject the urge to have that third cup of Joe. Keep in mind, you’re probably not the only one in the café who’s focusing on a task or desperately trying to keep their concentration intact. Nobody needs a neighbor in the shop who’s bouncing in their seat because they had one too many cups.
Too much caffeine can interrupt concentration, bring on nausea and dizziness and, lets be honest, can make you irritating to the person working next to you. Try tracking your daily intake and reduce it if you start overdoing it. Switching to tea or non-caffeinated drinks is also a good way to stay hydrated without over caffeinating.
Pack Everything You Need for Maximum Productivity
Forgetting something or brining too much stuff are both situations you want to avoid. Some must-have items for working in a coffee shop include:
- Extra battery for cell phone and laptop – incase the plugs are occupied
- Notebook and pen – sometimes you just need to write
- Noise canceling headphones – and the right background music
- Business cards – you never know who’ll you’ll run into or meet
- Prong converter – you never know what type of plug you’ll be using
Never Hit On The Barista
Just don’t. I know it doesn’t really need to be said but I’ve watched it happen on a monthly basis. Some chap comes in with his laptop and thinks he’s special because the Barista calls him Hun. You’re not special. Stop flirting. It’s awkward.
Typically once you find a coffee shop with a good Wi-Fi connection, comfortable chairs, good food options and a pleasant atmosphere, you will want to go there frequently. Don’t mess up a good thing by hitting on the barista and making things weird.
Break Up Your Day
Don’t work 8 straight hours, instead work 3 or 4 hours at the coffee shop and get wired-in again later on at home or the office. When you’re at the office you’re likely to have more human interaction. I find it helpful to work in 1 or 2-hour time blocks with some buffer time in-between for relationship building and planning
Getting out of the office is an easy way to get the creative juices flowing. The coffee shop also provides an opportunity to run into some familiar faces and establish new relationships that you would miss staying at your cubicle. I’ve spent many hours in coffee shops over the last few years and have a series of shops I visit on the regular.
If you have a love for coffee shops but don’t have the luxury to get out of the office, you should check out Coffivity. It’s a site that plays the sounds of a coffee shop to will give you the feeling of being at that little café down the road.
Coffee shops are just one of the many spots where you can be productive. Where else do escape to when you’re looking for a change of scenery?