Working from noisy, lively places like coffee shops presents their own challenges. Let's look at how you should be productive, no matter where you work.
I have done my fair share of work from coffee shops, museums, hotel bars and other public places. It is surprisingly easy to approach it properly. On the other hand, go in expect everyone to accommodate your every whim, and you will be very disappointed. This is how I do it.
Choose the right place
Where you choose to work is 9/10 of the battle. Choose a small, busy Starbucks that makes the most of its trade as a takeout, and you get a much harder time than choosing a quiet local coffee place that usually serves regulars who also work from their laptops.
And It is traditional that you do not have to work from a coffee shop. Libraries are fantastic and adapted for people to work quietly, even if you will not be able to enjoy the whole coffee part of things. Go past the optics to be in a bar during the day, and they can also be a good place to work: many serve coffee and food, and are not as packed as other alternatives until much later in the day.
There are other minor details to be aware of as how many charging sites there are. A cafe set up for remote workers will have one on virtually every table. A takeaway place can only have one single. Do not attempt to work from a location that cannot provide you with power or have super slow Wi-Fi if you have any other options.
Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid places you go socially or that you might see people you know. The goal is to work not to chat. The last thing you need is to run into a friend who doesn't want to do anything more than catch up on his latest Instagram-inspired journey.
Do the right kind of work
Another important factor for working from a public space is choosing the right type of work to do. Don't expect nearby tables to keep quiet when you have an urgent Skype call. And on the flip side, you're not even thinking of making a Skype call with your computer's built-in microphone. You will annoy hell out of everyone.
The best work to do in public places is the type of thing you can do with just your laptop or pen and paper. If you need an extra monitor, a typewriter, a special keyboard or something else, you will only make your life more difficult. Bonus points if the work is something you can get into a deep flow mode when you do it. Nothing cuts out external distractions as a total focus.
Take control of your environment
While you do not have as much control over your environment as you do in a home office – no special potted collections or Zen-inspired wall quotes – that doesn't mean you can't put your stamp on it .
The first thing is to choose the right place to sit. Don't sit next to the bathroom, door, service door or anywhere else people will push all the time. I find some things more distracting than someone moving through my peripheral vision. If you can take a booth without taking up more space than is fair, do it. Another reliable option is to share tables with someone who also works.
My preference is to take a window table and meet out the window. I find the people behind the glass barrier much less distracting than those within. Plus, it means that if someone you know comes in, they are less likely to recognize you.
When you have a little handle on your personal space, the next thing is to check what you hear. Some people love working with the loud sounds in a busy public area – I don't. This is where audio interrupting headphones are an absolute worship service. While they will not cut out any sound, combined with any surrounding electronic, post-rock or classical music, you will be pretty much in your own world. Make the volume more difficult and go down in business.
Being distracted by your environment can also cause you to be distracted on your devices. Put your phone quietly and remove it. If you can, block distracting apps with something that FocusMe then does. If your options are tough or boring, then you are much more likely to work.
Keep the staff on the page
Remember that you work in someone's business. If you are sitting at a table, you pick up the place for a paying customer, which means that you have to behave like one. Not only do you buy a single coffee in the morning means it is okay for you to grab some good seating for the rest of the day leaching the wifi. Buy things regularly. An hourly or two purchase is my general rule.
Also pay attention to how much space you take up. In a small cafe, do not take over a four-table. It's just insignificant.
It is also worthwhile to tip well and be friendly with the staff if you work somewhere regularly. If you get a reputation as a nasty customer, they will be able to make your life more difficult. On the other hand, if you get them on your side, you can expect special treatment and bonuses like free pastries that would otherwise go into the trash. It doesn't take much to laugh, thank you and thank you and test the right amount.
Coffee shops have this mythical reputation as a perfect workplace. While they have their ups, don't expect to be productive just because you left your house.