As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop. The house music is playing at a dull roar overhead, countless conversations are bouncing off the shop’s exposed brick walls and I hear the constant whir of the coffee grinders and milk steamers. The natural light is pouring in from the tall windows to my right, letting all of us coffee-shop-goers take a peek at the goings-on outside.
Yet, I’m writing. And my focus is nearly unfaltering.
I’ve often asked myself, how does that work? Because on the other hand, I reach a point most afternoons at the office where I struggle to fully focus on client projects — no matter that we have a pretty quiet office environment. Even if it isn’t absolutely peaceful and silent, that’s not something that my noise-canceling headphones and music can’t cure.
Regardless, my mind wanders and I then find that I haven’t done any work in the last 15 minutes (well, there goes a .25 docked from my billable record for the day — see #21 of this article).
Every time I visit a coffee shop, however, my work flourishes. I’ve written personal blog posts in record time. I’ve written bylined articles and website copy, or developed a communications plan in a more efficient manner than if I’d been sitting at the office.
Wesley Verhoeve, founder of Family Records and GNTLMN.com, wrote an article for Fast Company a couple of weeks ago that explained exactly why working from coffee shops can help you to be more productive. His three reasons include:
- A change of environment stimulates creativity. Even in the most awesome of offices we can fall into a routine, and a routine is the enemy of creativity.
- Fewer distractions. It sounds counter-intuitive, but working from a bustling coffee shop can be less distracting than working from a quiet office.
- Community and meeting new people. Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective at existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me.
I agree with each of those points — they couldn’t be truer for me (and maybe you, if you decide to give working from a coffee shop a try!). Check out Verhoeve’s article, “Why You Should Work From a Coffee Shop, Even When You Have an Office,” for a fuller explanation of the three reasons above, and for his suggestions on how to make the most of your coffee shop visit. And when you make that coffee shop visit, let me know how it went for you!
photo credit: Yours truly, @ Octane Coffee Bar