Good Feel Coffee Shop

by Amanda Stewart

There is something for me, about getting things done outside of my office. I am fortunate enough to be in a position where, I spend many hours of my time in coffee shops. Between high school or community college visits I often find myself with a few odd hours to spare. The nearest coffee shop becomes my office for those odd hours and I love it so much.

Even in graduate school, the library and my apartment were not places that I could get a lot done, but I would find myself cranking out pages of reading and writing at Cafe Aroma, a local coffee shop. For some reason I just don’t have those same good feels when working in my office for hours on end. It is harder for me to stay focused, and I don’t feel the same kind of serenity that I feel when in a cafe.

It got me thinking, how can I make my office as productive as I feel in the coffee shop setting? What is it about the coffee shop that makes me feel so able to get so much done, and so at peace while doing it? Here are some things that I pulled out from my coffee shop experiences and I am trying to work these into my office life a little bit. Here’s to being just as productive and at peace in my office as I am out on the road!

Background music: The music playing in the background of a coffee shop really helps me feel focused. Usually, I don’t know the words to the song so I am not tempted to sing along. I have been checking out some “coffee shop” Pandora stations to listen to while I am in my office and I am enjoying those a lot. Does anyone have any suggestions? What do you listen to in your office?

Coffee: Of course, the coffee helps me to feel relaxed and warm, yet ready to take on the world. I bring coffee to work with me in the mornings but somehow it just isn’t the same. I might try drinking tea in the afternoons.

Quiet, yet not: The change in environment in various coffee shops helps serve as background activity but not anything that I need to be worried about. Traffic in and out of my office distracts me and I allow it to interrupt me and whatever I am working on. Depending on the shop and the time of day, the line may be out the door or, I may be the only one inside. I like this change of pace.

No interruptions: Initially, I thought that the coffee shop work space provided me zero distractions but I realized that there are plenty of distractions there, however, I am able to better tune them out. This is easy because II know they won’t pertain to me. On the contrary, a work, when a student walks into our office, I am listening, wondering if they are my next appointment or here to say hi. I love those meetings and distractions but sometimes the interruption-free environment of a coffee shop allows me to really focus in a different way on my work.

Shorter period of time: I am generally not staying at a coffee shop for more than 2-4 hours. This is just a space for me to kill some time before my next visit or fair. These shorter bursts of work time are beneficial for me compared to sitting at my desk for 8 hours straight. I am going to try to get up and move around more at work and try to align my day better with these bursts of work time. We have been doing wall-sits and plank as an office during the sleepy afternoon hours to get our blood flowing again.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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