Nowadays its common to work remotely and there’s no arguing that a coffee shop is the first thing that comes to mind. All that ambiance and craving for coffee just makes you feel excited to get your hands dirty especially for freelancers. With large companies trying to adapt the creative approach, the number of remote workers are drastically increasing allowing them to give full autonomy. However, for those who want to work with a different environment apart from a coffee shop, they usually look for a cozy place that offers coffee and relaxing ambiance, usually co-working spaces. These two are the common grounds that qualifies an ideal place for remote work. For this article, I’ll keep the meaning of coffee shop to describe the workplace as conventionally its the most accessible. From the days you’ve been working, haven’t you noticed anything in terms of your productivity? Have you been keeping track of your time and output? Subconsciously the only thing we care about is the output but we don’t mind much of our time. I’ve been working in coffee shops for years now and I know how it works. I’ve tried tons of ways from the internet yet some don’t work. You only have a limited time in the shop so why not do the best ways to maximize your productivity? I’ve compiled some of my ways on how to maximize your productivity in working in a coffee shop. The situation may be different for you but these are just based on my experience.
1. Use the Pomodoro Technique
Ah yes one of my favorite productivity techniques! You’ve probably heard about this especially if you’re a fan of Tim Ferris. According to Wikipedia, the Pomodoro technique “uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros.”. What this means if for each 25 mins you need to have a milestone to accomplish. My advice is to use your first pomodoro for checking your emails and list down what needs to be done. Use the rest to do what you need to do. Keeping track of your pomodoro means you’re aware of how long you’ve been staying in the area, allows you to keep track of your progress and know when to leave accordingly. The coffee shop ain’t your work-all-you-can place so be considerate to order another round so that you would compensate the shop’s services. Knowing that you have limited time to work means you need to achieve something per iteration. Just like now I’m writing this article with my pomodoro on 😀
Now how do you use this technique you ask. The picture above is the example of the physical timer but I use the Be Focus app for Mac as its visible on my menu bar to conveniently track my progress. You can download the same on your phone and may look for similar apps that does the same.
2. Use noise-canceling headphones
I use these avoid distractions. We can’t avoid that at some point there will be people who’ll be distracting and their gossips can be heard all across the shop. I sometimes do coding at the shop so I have a playlist ready for a coffee shop experience. Similarly, I advise you to create your own to avoid streaming plus saving the pain of internet download. Spotify has a lot of pre-made playists for that ambience. You may also play an artificial environment music from coffitivity. If you need intense focus, I recommend you use brain.fm as its scientifically proven that their music can help you concentrate though it comes with a price. I personally tried it and it works but I don’t use it all the time as I’m more fond of my own playlist. If you chose to prefer natural noise, you may skip this hack. Ambient noise does work for some people and another way to default your option.
For those who were asking, I use the Sony MDRX 1000 as my headphones
3. Make use of a Tablet
I use tablets as a supplementary tool for my work. Since I’m a huge fan of screens, I use it to extend my screen as if it was an extended monitor. I use Air Display and/or Duet Display. I also use it a secondary device for music, calendar, a timer for your pomodoro. This will also drain less juice on your computer battery as you’ve used some of them to your tablet. Music usually eats up a lot especially with Bluetooth so this hack can save you from charging. a tablet will save a lot of time from multi-tasking in your laptop.
4. Make plants be visible on your view
Did you know plants contribute to your productivity? That’s right! According to The Guardian, plants increase happiness and productivity in work. Plants are also a great contributor to the ambiance. Personally, I have a couple on my home workspace and it magically absorbs all the stress. Why not have some in your space too? After all who doesn’t want a green environment eh?
5. Go wireless at all means
As much as possible, go for wireless for all your materials. Your mouse, headphones, whatever you bring. That would reduce the clutter and at the same time easy to pack. You’ll never have to worry on wrapping up your wires and having it messed up with your other items.
The only thing remains is your laptop charger. Though a wireless charger for a laptop ain’t possible at the moment, the next point would be with respect to that.
6. Fully Charge your Devices at all Cost
This is to avoid uncertainty when it comes to lack of sockets. You can’t assume that all coffee shops have available plugs so its best to fully charge your gadgets. This is also to lessen the chances of setting up your charger and to keep your place tidy. You’ll feel relief when you work with just your laptop with little to no setup. If you know you’re gonna stay for long, make sure you activate your battery saving mode. Lessen your brightness, turn off your bluetooth if necessary, and whatever you have at your disposal to save energy. Oh and the concept applies to hand-held devices. Bring a power bank as an emergency strategy to avoid charging through a socket.
7. Make a Plan B in case there’s no internet
The odds are not always in your favor when it comes to internet connections. The best way to deal with this is to assume you don’t. We do have mobile data nowadays that makes internet accessible anywhere but that’s not always the case. Prepare for a list of offline work if this happens. As mentioend in my pomodoro tip, list down all your things to do for the day at the start of the pomodoro which includes this if necessary. What if you really need the internet to work? Don’t just sit down and do nothing. The best way I can suggest is to download and save files that would come in handy for offline work. This would prevent you from being dull and continue working without the need of internet. If you really need an internet connection, say you need to have a Skype call, then do your research beforehand if an internet connection is feasible in your desired area. Look for zomato reviews or search for Facebook feedbacks. I’m pretty sure a lot of coffee shops have their own Facebook page so do you research.
That’s it for my tips. Hope you could try some of them and would improve your productivity. Let me know your thoughts on the comments section!