Have you ever found yourself trying to work on something for hours and still ended up with nothing at all? Sometimes, the best way to actually get work done is to just walk away from it and have a change of scenery. Let’s admit it, there will always be times when you’d want to just get away from the cubicle dungeons and I’ve found that one of the best places to seek refuge on would be the nearest cafe.
Why coffeeshops just work.
it’s not so much about the expensive coffee but how it makes itself conducive for work. A cafe is a good balance between a prude office environment and your home that’s too comfortable for real work to get done. It can be surprising what you can accomplish in just 30 minutes to an hour. As I said above, while coffeeshops are technically more distracting than the confines of offices, the change in environment is what we’re really after. Simply put, it’s peace among strangers.
But for me, it can’t be just any coffeeshop. I still do have my preferences as far as choosing which coffeeshop to lay a nest on. Here are some tips you might want to consider in your own pilgrimage.
First, leave your AC charger behind.
While current laptops’ battery performance have greatly improved, somehow, without it, you’ll be “encouraged” to get your stuff done right away and get back to the office soonest. Besides, you won’t be staying there the whole day, or are you?
Do, however, leave with a fully-charged mobile phone.
This needs no explanation. If Houston needs you back, they need to be able to reach you even if you’re behind the moon.
Get a good pair of headphones.
While cafes usually feature relaxing house or chill-out music, sometimes, it’s just not enough to drown out the noise the other customers make, although sometimes the whitenoise is something that turns me into an energizer bunny. Music with words in it can really grab attention so stay away from it, unless it’s in a language you cannot understand, process, or sing along to. As soon as you can establish your OWN world, the sooner you can get to work, or at the least, catch up on your reading/research.
Choose a dead hour so you can have the place to yourself.
That means several minutes after lunch or after office hours is a no-no. I find that one of the most ideal windows to go there is in the early morning and in the mid-afternoon. Perfect for coffee! Weekends are great too as most people will just be lazily hanging out recovering from a hangover the previous night.
Find a cafe on a not-so-busy street.
The passing of vehicles and the noise they make can be very distracting. I’m also more particular for cafes with roadside parking in front of it. The sooner I get my coffee after getting off the car, the better. Be mindful of parking schedules though or else you may find yourself chasing after tow trucks. So, no, I’m not going to drive into mall parking and walk hundreds of meters just to get to a coffeeshop. That’d be a total time-waster.
Stay away from cafes with groups of friends in it.
if you really want some peace and quiet, you’d want to be with loners people who are busy themselves. A cafe frequented by serious post-grad students is best. Those with high school and college students tend to be noisier. Let’s see you go through that chatter and I’m sure you’ll be heading back to the office in less than 10 minutes.
Stay off the grid.
WiFI and 3G is a near-must and very reliable but sometimes, it’s good to be just offline. The less distractions you have, the better.
Keep your NDA in mind always.
You don’t want to be broadcasting your killer idea on public. So to be sure everything’s safe from prying eyes, adjust the size of your screen font so it can be less readable by that guy sneaking a peek over your shoulder.
Lastly, I would suggest that before you leave your office, plan well what needs to be done so your new-found freedom is not wasted. Forget multitasking. Just concentrate on just one task and get it over with. The objective is to get to work. And when i say work, it’s not about FB’ing or chatting with friends on YM. :)
Are you a coffeeshop junkie or are considering taking your work there? How did your experience go? Can you say it’s for you or would you still rather be elsewhere? And is the price of designer coffee really worth it? Of course, not, unless the time used to sip it was used really wisely.