Why working from a cafe works so well for some

By johannatime On January 8, 2013 Under Productivity vs Procrastination

Working from a café can be a convenient way to spend time productively yet being amongst people and getting out of the house or the office. For some, it works really well, and they get a lot more done. Let’s take a look at how that works, and how different environments have an impact on your productivity:

Working from the office

Here, virtually anything is available to get your work done: your computer is right there sitting at your desk right next to your phone and your filing system, and your co-workers are literally two steps away. Your options are endless, and that’s te problem. Too much choice is overwhelming, not to mention all the triggers laying around reminding you of the work you should be doing, and the people that march right in to your office and grab your attention. So yes the office is the place to get your work done, but the abundance of work may paralyse some.

Working from home

Provided there are no attention thieves like children or young kittens around, your home is a great place to work, too. It’s silent and you feel comfortable and at ease doing things your way in your pyjama’s. But there is so much other stuff to do at home, too, and when you’ve got a difficult task to complete, chances are that you’ll do the dishes instead, because you don’t need a great deal of brain capacity for it. Some have organised a specific working space in their homes. Pristine and clean, with no distractions. Great! And you know what happens when you go sit there? Your brain starts chatting. If no distraction is available in the outside world, your mind wil provide some.

Working from a café

Let me speak for myself: when I work from a café, I decide what tasks I want to work on, before I get out there, to make sure I bring the things I need. Just doing that, deciding beforehand, makes me productive. Moreover, I have my favorite spots, and people see me hanging out there. I kinda care what people think about me, so I don’t want to be caught gaming or watching YouTube bloopers when I’m in the public space. I feel a sense of responsibility to carefully spend my time on something useful when everybody is watching.

So generally, the café may offer the best of both worlds for working:

  •  Your activity choices are limited, and you need to organise and think about them beforehand
  • There are probably not too many co-workers around to keep you busy
  • The café is free from reminders of other work, like post its sticking to your screen and stacks of unread reports
  • Cafe’s provide a relaxed and informal atmosphere for working (but please do get dressed)
  • No way you’d start doing the dishes, you’re rather forced to stick to your task (partly because people may be watching you ;-))
  • There is plenty of background hubbub to keep your mind quiet for some time (busy lunch time is not my favorite, though)
  • Cafe’s serve coffee

Stay tuned to read more about Activity Based Working and finding the right place to complete your tasks, and please comment below about your experience with working from a café!







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    3 Trackbacks

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    4 Comments Add yours

    1. Natasha
      January 8, 2013
      12:59 pm #comment-1

      True for some tasks, but (for me) less so if I really need to concentrate. A library works well too: quiet and informal yet no dishes plus the added inspiration of other people at work/studying. And there’s usually a cafe nearby 🙂

      • johannatime
        January 8, 2013
        3:32 pm #comment-2

        Thanks for your comment, Natasha, and very true it doesn’t work for all. If mind chatter is not so much of a problem for you, the library is the best way to go.

    2. Luke
      January 9, 2013
      7:36 pm #comment-3

      Great post! I spend 90% of my time working out of cafe’s and have about 15 I tend to spend most of my time in. I only work on my iPad but use a wireless keyboard and often listen to music on Spotify if I need to concentrate.

      • johannatime
        January 9, 2013
        10:12 pm #comment-4

        Thanks for your contribution, Luke, and wearing headphones (I suppose you’re not playing the music out loud?) not only helps you concentrate, it also tells others not to disturb you.

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