How to Spend a Few Hours Remote Working at a Coffee Shop and Get Things Done
What’s not to love about a few hours away from the office in an environment that smells like roasted coffee beans, baked pastries, and fresh brewed warm coffee? You have a variety of foods and drinks available, hopefully clean bathrooms, and window views with vibrant activity to keep you motivated, so you would think a few hours would have you completing deadline projects and rushing effectively through your emails in no time. If only everyone else in the coffee shop had the same intention as you, then the ambiance would be perfect for working, studying, and concentrated work.
With the majority of those in the coffee shop stopping by for a moment of stress relief, to meet up with friends, to grab a drink on the way to somewhere else, or for a quick meeting, it isn’t likely the quietest place to get away to if you want to be focused.
You can make it work though, and these hacks can be used one by one or combined to make the most of your time at your favorite coffee shop:
· Choose a table or spot close to the baristas. Their activity and voices will quickly become white noise and block out the conversations inside the shop that could distract you.
· Stay away from the speaker areas within the coffee shop. The music can either be overstimulating or will lullaby you to sleep. Pick a spot away from the target zone of the speakers.
· Choose a small spot in which to work versus a table that could accommodate more than one to two people. The areas that have spots for one, cubicles, or benched areas are least likely to draw in the conversationalists that are there to relax and catch up with friends.
· Wear headphones or earbuds that are obvious to anyone that you are listening to something, even if you don’t actually listen to music. They are a clear signal that you aren’t up for talking about the coffee blend of the day.
· Ask a barista at your favorite coffee shop when the slow times are for customers. That is the best time to arrive and get a good spot to carry you through a few hours of work. It might also keep you clear of the times when everything is hurried and busy.
· Don’t drink caffeine. The mix of a busy atmosphere and caffeine will only have you feeling antsy and anxious. Choose a tea with chamomile to sooth your nerves and to help you relax or go for a decaf coffee beverage, at least until you leave the shop.
· Make sure you buy something. No one likes a coffee shop squatter. They are a business not a free spot for you to take up valuable space, use their bathroom, and take advantage of their free high-speed Wi-Fi. Buy something when you arrive and if you have been more than 2 hours, then purchase something when you leave.
· Take advantage of loyalty programs offered by the coffee shop. You can get free food items, drinks, and sometimes free refills which can help fray the costs of your visits.
· Take a jacket to keep from getting chilled. Many coffee shops keep the temperature low to encourage people to drink their warm beverages. It will help you stay focused on work and not on how miserably cold you are sitting in the path of the air conditioning.
· Skip listening to your favorite playlist and opt instead to listen to new music, chanting, or tracks of nature noises. It will keep you focused and help drown out conversations and the shop’s music choices.
· Sit facing an outside window or a wall. The constant movement within the center of the shop or the traffic flow of customers entering and exiting the doors can be distracting.
· Invest in a laptop security cable and anchor it to the area you are working to keep it safe should you have to step away and use the bathroom. Take all your other valuables with you. Don’t trust the person next to you to watch your valuables.
· Have a specific work plan for your time at the coffee shop. If you have a plan in place you can work the items off your list versus letting yourself become distracted.
· Be realistic in the work you plan to complete. If you need a quiet area in which to spread out your work area and stay fully focused, then you shouldn’t choose a coffee shop. However, if you are doing busy work and are good at zoning into your work and zoning out your surroundings, then a few hours getting away from your usual work environment can be stimulating and even help your creativity.
If you like the energetic coffee shop environment in which to work occasionally, then consider a co-work facility as another option. These businesses are designed to bring together startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, home office workers, business travelers, and the occasional professional looking to get away from the office into one space with benefits beyond the coffee shop environment. They are affordable, often offer trial periods to try them out, and have office equipment, conference rooms, small enclosed offices, quiet areas, social areas, coffee shops, snack bars, fitness areas, bathrooms, and some have coined locker areas to contain your valuables while you participate in a meeting or workshop or while you take a quick break from your work.
Getting away from your usual work environment is good to ward off burn-out, to revitalize your thoughts, to stimulate your creativity, and reboot your ability to focus. The local coffee shop is a great escape and while it may not be the best place to set up for a long work session, a few hours a week could be a solution to getting you back into the game with a new outlook and gusto. Put it into your schedule and give it a try. Make it happen.
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy: Perhaps It’s Time You Sat Down and Had a Meeting with Yourself
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