How to Be Super Productive at a Coffee Shop

Science has come up with this fun term the “coffee shop effect.” In very non-scientific terms, it simply means that you are likely to be more productive at a coffee shop. Why? Because it is something new. Homo sapiens don’t do well with routines. Once we get into the same schedule we tend to be less productive. So changing it up every once in a while — like going to a coffee shop — can really help you get more work done.

Now, if you are feeling curious about this effect — but aren’t completely convinced yet — here are a few tips to help you be super productive while sipping a nice cup of coffee.

1.Location is Key…for your seat that is.

Finding the perfect spot in a coffee shop is very important. Finding a nice table large enough for your laptop, notepad and coffee, along with a comfortable seat, can make or break a coffee shop trip. Also, make sure you are close to an outlet, because it is no fun when your computer dies right in the middle of writing something important.

2. Join the crowd.

Try to find a coffee shop that’s full of other working people. Science shows we tend to mimic people we are around, so if you are seated next to people typing away on their computers or taking notes from a book, you are likely to do the same. Fitting in, for once, is actually important here.

3. Go in with a game plan.

Having a game plan in mind when you walk into your local cafe, will make it a lot easier to know exactly what you need to accomplish. Making a list with a couple major points you need to get done, along with some ideas on other jobs you would like to accomplish, will make it easier to stay on task instead of dozing away on some social media site.

4. Don’t even attempt to go on social media.

This is probably the hardest one. But we all know how easy it is to slip down a social media rabbit hole until before you know it it’s time to go, and you haven’t accomplished anything. So just say no. And if you know this is going to be extra hard for you, there is an app called Cold Turkey Blocker that will shut off all social media for a set time period. Perfect for when you need to finish one last thing.

5. Set a timer.

If you just can’t imagine spending a couple more hours working away on something, break it down into more manageable pieces. Simply go on your phone and set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes and just tell yourself to work until the buzzer goes off. You can promise yourself a break, or a nice treat once the timer goes off — anything to motivate you to work the entire time. Having set sequences, no matter how short, will make you feel more productive in the long run.

6. Treat yo’self.

There is nothing better than a nice reward after a long day of work. Be it a nice sweet treat, or an extra special cup of coffee. Rewarding yourself for the hard work you are putting in, will make working so much easier. And this doesn’t have to come after a long day in a coffee shop. If you feel your motivation lagging, stand up, walk around and grab yourself that delicious looking brownie you’ve been eyeing since you walked in. You deserve it!

Changing up your working space is a great way to stay motivated. A new location and a new view, all of these things can help you feel refreshed and ready to get some serious work done.

Plus, if you need even more motivation to hole up in a coffee shop for a couple hours, science also shows that the ambient noise of a cafe (the clinking of metal cups, the baristas gossiping away behind the counter) actually helps your productivity too. So, if you’re feeling a bit useless or just completely unmotivated, grab your laptop and set out for your nearest cafe today!

And if you want to learn more about the coffee shop effect, check out this article from The Atlantic.


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