Want to Super Charge Your Productivity? Working from Coffee Shop may helpRashi Bhargava
What makes you happy at work? Salary, Wonderful working environment, Great co-workers. All these are definitely big motivators. But we are happiest when we are productive and are able to complete all our daily tasks efficiently and effectively.
Ever since I started my solopreneur journey, I made it a point to at least work twice a week from Coffee Shop. The reason was simple to break the monotony of WFH and it was a welcome change of scenery. My folks could never understand this. Why would anyone sit and work from a Coffee Shop amidst a noisy environment and so many distractions.
I could never give them a satisfactory answer 🙂 I use to draw solace from the fact that some of the most successful people in history have done their best work from coffee shops. Pablo Picasso, JK Rowling, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Bob Dylan to name few – they all have tapped into their creativity working from a café.
Over a period of time I observed that my productivity was at its best when I was working from a Coffee Shop. For long it was known that sneaking out of the office/WFH for even a short time was great for productivity. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, away from nosy people, nothing but laptop and cappuccino to give you company. And mind you productivity is contagious. One find it easier to work in a coffee shop, where other people are also doing similar productive things—either typing on their laptop or meeting clients. A study reveals that moderate background noise is more productive than pure silence. The low buzz allows you to work better than the complete stillness of a library.
So it’s called The ‘Coffee Shop Effect’: that’s my secret weapon to productivity. Onno van der Groen, a neuropsychology researcher from Edith Cowan University, research showed that a coffee shop (among other places) is filled with a productivity boosting element, what scientists call “stochastic resonance( it’s the phenomenon in which just the right amount of noise benefits our senses. ).”
Van der Groen has studied this phenomenon. According to him, the background noise stimulates sensory signals in the brain. Those triggered brain signals enhance mood, make you see, hear, and feel better, and incredibly, jumpstart human perception and decision making. In short, Background noise helps your brain concentrate and perform better.
More recent research from van der Groen, published in March 2019, even shows that background-noise-induced sensory signals help the brain break out of a mental rut to see things from new perspectives. All of these elements are enhancements leading directly to improved productivity. So now I have got the justification to keep my irritating family members at bay and swing by a coffee shop for a few hours.
I combine this Coffee shop effect with Pomodoro technique and the combo is a booster shot of productivity. I set my Samsung Galaxy 8 Plus to a 25 minute timer. The timer is intended to create a sense of urgency to help me concentrate. After 25 minute I get up, stretch for 5 minutes to clear my mind. Then go right back to work for another 25 minutes, then another 5-minute break, and so on. After the fourth “Pomodoro” I take a longer break.
The result is that you are less frazzled and frayed than if you just clocked 4-5 hours straight, uninterrupted work.(One can also follow Work sprints to do deep work. At times I do two 50 minute sprints with 10 minute break in between)
So are you ready for a coffee break? I know it seems counterproductive to go out of your office to work, but offices are distracting and are never a great motivator to get things done. It doesn’t need to be a coffee shop. Pandemic also has changed the way we work now. Organizations are realizing. Hybrid model is here to stay. The change of environment is what is required to trigger your inspiration and motivation.