Imagine entering your favourite coffee shop, you can smell the coffee, you can hear the quiet chatter all around you. The smell of coffee is strong in the air, you are wearing your best “casual coffee shop work” attire, and you are on a roll.
Working from a coffee shop can be quite a cathartic experience, and there are quite a few scientific reasons why it’s also a great productive way to get work done.
When proofreading my second book, I needed as much focus and motivation as I could. 137 pages of word docs can discourage the best of us.
If, right now, you cannot head to your favourite coffee shop, yet you want to recreate the feeling and tap into that productive power fear not, I’m coming to the rescue with a handy free tool just for you.
About the prep work
First, a bit of prep-work. There are a few things that you can do to set yourself up and make sure that throughout the day you tap into that highly focused feeling.
One small thing that can make all the difference is (horror) getting dressed. Unless you go to a coffee show I do not know of (but I truly want to know about), it’s unlikely you are strolling into your favourite caf in your PJs.
Getting dressed up is a small act that makes all the difference when preparing for work.
If you want to work in your loungewear instead of putting jeans on, that is also totally fine, yet the change of attire (a la Beyonce, if you may), is a great little tip that changes your state and can put you instantly in work mode.
Another thing you can do for sure, it takes the time to make yourself the perfect drink.
Just like a true Italian, great coffee is the best way for me to start the day. A touch of oat milk, a strong coffee and I am ready to conquer the world.
This is not just an indulgence, your brain will treat this has a habit that reinforces the idea that your working day is starting just like it would be when you go to the coffee shop.
Yet, my favourite tool is not coffee — even if, we could argue, coffee is literally the glue that holds my life together these days.
Even before drinking the coffee, the smell of it hitting my nostrils early in the morning can be enough to create an association in my brain that means (literally) business.
Get in the zone
My favourite (free) tool to get things done is Coffitivity. Available as a website and an app, Coffitivity brings the coffee shop into your living room. You can choose a selection of ambient background noises, including the oh-so-pretentious Paris Paradise and the lively Brazil Bistro as a way to boost your creativity.
You may be sceptical, but it works.
According to a peer-reviewed study by the University of Chicago, “A moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition.”
In a nutshell, this means being a tiny bit distracted helps you be more creative.
This is why those AHA moments happen when we’re brushing our teeth, taking a shower, or mowing the lawn!
If we’re not focused too much on a task at hand, we come up with awesome stuff. In the coffee shop, the chatter and clatter actually distract us a tiny bit and allows our creative juices to start flowing.
It sounds crazy, but it works.
Now try it for yourself. Make sure you can block some time for some focused work - put the timer on for an hour and get lost in the work. You won't be disappointed.