Why you can do your best work in the coffee shop

Aug 7, 2014

Everyone loves a trip to the coffee shop - the smell of newly ground beans and fresh pastries is mouth-watering.

Of course, it's a great place to take time out and to catch up on the gossip, but did you know that it is one of the most productive places to work? Here's why:

A change really is as good as the proverbial. Freelancers spend hours at home staring at the same corner of their office/or into the fridge. It might be peaceful, but it isn't very stimulating. Getting out to the nearest café for a fresh vista can be all you need to get the creative juices flowing again.

There’s power from the people. Working creatively can be a lonely business - just you and the blank laptop screen. That's why being among others, even if you're all studiously refusing to meet each other's eyes can be hugely beneficial. It's one of the reasons JK Rowling headed off to her local café to pen the Harry Potter sagas. The other being that it was warmer than her dingy flat.

Fewer distractions can bring better focus. This might not seem obvious with the screech of the cappuccino machine and the chatter of the other customers. However, the fact that you’re away from your usual distractions - the fridge, your desk, your TV - can make all the difference. Take with you only the things you need for the task you need to accomplish and be surprised by how much better you get on.

Look busy and be busy. The fact that there are others around you can spur you into greater activity as you don't want to be seen gazing at your toes or dozing on the job. Looking like someone who is deep in the middle of something important is a sure-fire way of keeping interruptions at bay too. Tell yourself you want to look like a busy professional and, before you know it, that's exactly what you are.

Look the part for the public. As a home-worker it's all too easy to sit at your desk first thing in the morning in your pyjamas "just for a few minutes". However, more often than not, that leads to spending the entire day dressed in comfy leisure lounge wear and, possibly, not smelling altogether lovely either. This down-time appearance can leak over into your work. Cure it by making yourself presentable to face the public.

A little latte deadline can push you onwards. Obviously good manners dictate that you can't hang around soaking up warmth and free Wi-Fi all day on the back of one single cup of coffee. The baristas will start letting you know you've overstayed your welcome soon enough. But this is great news, it sets a deadline for finishing the task before you have to re-fill. Ask yourself: "Is this a two-cup job?" And stick to it.

The right tools for the job. Obviously it's hard to get anything accomplished if you don't remember to bring all the things to get the job done - a laptop, notepad & pen. But what about the files you need? Use OfficeWrx and sign up with your Google Docs account. That way you can find exactly what you're working on and save it where you can find it somewhere else.

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