Do you enjoy working in a coffee shop? Every so often I like to spend a few hours somewhere fresh to spark some creativity and also just get out of the damn house. For someone who works from home all day, every day, I find these trips to be really important for my sanity.
However, I think it definitely takes a little effort to do it the right way. I was someone who worked from home occasionally at my previous 9-5 job. This meant that I got into a really good habit of holding myself accountable and getting work done even if it’s from the comfort of my couch. I did this a few ways, and they’re all relevant to staying productive while at a coffee shop as well.
So whether your office lets you step away to the cafeteria to work, or work from home. Or if you’re a work from home kind of person but want a change of scenery, here’s how to stay productive at coffee shops.
How To Be Productive At Coffee Shops
1. Make A List
Personally, making a list is essential for me. But when working from home or at a coffee shop, a to-do list specifically for your time at the coffee shop will be helpful. It will help to keep you on task and not get distracted by that croissant in the display.
I like to make my lists manageable for the few hours I’ll be working from home or a coffee shop. A coffee shop shouldn’t be the place you handle a major project that could take hours. But it can be the ideal spot to knock out a few tasks that keep you motivated to knock them out before wrapping up for the day. If you do have something important to work on, break it up into tasks so you can easily manage them while working from home or at a coffee shop.
When at a coffee shop you may find that certain tasks are easier or more difficult for you to get done. For me, the change of scenery helps to spark ideas and creativity. So I sometimes like to go to a coffee shop solely to write blog posts. This post came about while writing other content at a coffee shop, then I got this post idea as well. It may take a little trial and error to figure out which tasks you perform the best while at a coffee shop or working from home, and which ones require maybe more desk space, your team, and so on.
2. Set Your Time
I feel like the great thing about stepping out to a coffee shop to work is that there’s a solid end time. You’ll go for X amount of hours and it should be a goal to finish that task or work solely on something for the duration. Either force yourself to finish that one thing, or set a few hours that you plan to be there. Having an end game is important to staying focused. If you’re just there to do whatever, then you may not do much of whatever. But if you force yourself to finish that big proposal, or write at least 5 blog posts, or be done by 4pm to miss rush hour traffic, you’ll find yourself focusing to finish.
3. Choose Great Music
You may be a work in silence kind of person, and if you are, get yourself some noise-canceling headphones. But if you need some background noise, a coffee shop may be great for you to thrive. I like to personally listen to music ALL DAY LONG, so having my headphones helps to keep my head down and focused. I find if I don’t have my headphones in I tend to listen in on people’s conversations or just start to day dream a bit. This goes for working from home too, music helps me get into a groove!
4. Take A Break
Whether working from a cubicle or a coffee shop, it’s important to take small breaks occasionally. At coffee shops, it can be as simple as taking your headphones off and saying hi to the barista you’ve been watching make espressos for the last hour. Or simply sitting back and enjoying that cup of coffee or croissant you ordered. It could even mean getting up for a little stretch or step outside for fresh air. Taking small breaks can help boost productivity as you come back to your desk refreshed and ready to hit the ground running again.
5. Bring A Notepad
I always have a notepad next to me at my desk, and it’s just as important even when I’m away. I usually pack mine in my laptop case so it’s handy. Sometimes being outside of your usual surroundings will spark ideas, so write them down! Or use your notepad to write your list down so you can physically cross it off. I prefer the cross shit off method as it’s much more satisfying than putting a checkmark next to it in your To Do List app on your phone.
Photos by Vivi Carrasco