Grab your computer or your art materials and get thee to a coffee shop.
Vivian Helena wrote to ask why:
You mentioned going to a coffee shop to “work.” I have several friends that do this.. How do you concentrate with everything going on? I can create at home for many days with out a care in the world. Am curious why so many seem go to busy areas with their computers.
Artist Barbara McKee shared how/why she paints at coffee shops in this post. Now I'll tell you how and why I work in coffee shops.
4 Reasons To Leave Home
- The main reason that I go to coffee shops is for a change of scenery. I have a home office, so I'm in that house most of my life. A new space gives me fresh perspective. I feel better. When I feel better, I'm more productive.
- People! The coffee shop is a community. I know my baristas by name, but I don't know anyone else in the joint. Still, we're together. I'm no longer alone, but part of the big, colorful, amazing world we live in. And it's kind of good that I don't know others because it keeps me from chatting with them.
- My home office has 3 cats, piles of paper, mail, ringing phones, and doorbells begging for my attention.
- At home, I get caught up in answering email and shuffling paper. The minute I head to the coffee shop, there is a mental switchover from “I'm in my office to work” to “I'm going to the coffee shop to write.” I don't go to coffee shops to just to work. I go with a single purpose: to write my newsletter, blog posts, and other content. Much of I'd Rather Be in the Studio was written in my favorite coffee shop.
Sure, coffee shops have their own distractions. Sometimes there are especially loud people – like the guy that sat in the center of the shop about halfway through the draft of this post right next to me. Or the woman who is here now and finds it necessary to talk with someone two tables away. (See “ear buds” below.) Or the person who, I swear, didn't hesitate sharing her credit card number on a cell phone call.
But a full coffee shop provides just the right level of white noise, which is more conducive to certain kinds of writing and working than silence.
If you're going to work at a coffee shop on your computer, I suggest packing the following:
- Ear buds. For reasons mentioned above, don't forget ear buds that you can plug into your favorite music to work to.
- Mouse. I'm not a fan of using the built-in pad on my Mac. I have a compact mouse that I take everywhere with me. It's the only Microsoft product I don't gripe about. I'm on my second one and will be heartbroken if they ever quit making them.
- Computer. You know.
- Notebook. Because sometimes you just need paper.
Be sure to order water with your coffee so you hydrate!
Go With a Purpose
You could use the coffee shop just to get out of the office or studio. You could check email or Facebook. But I discourage you from wasting your time with these at coffee shops.
You will get a lot more accomplished if you know why you're going in the first place.
Coffee shop time is sacred time. It's my most productive content-generating time of all.
And, yes, this post was written first as a draft in the coffee shop and then later edited at the same café.
Do you work at coffee shops? What did I forget?