laptop and cup of coffee

Don’t get crumbs on the keyboard!

Apparently it’s pretty hard to be creative in a quiet room. And yet too much noise around us is distracting.

Then throw in the household jobs to tempt us away from the stuff that you *should* be doing to find more customers.

It’s enough to send you to Facebook and waste an hour or two of your time, isn’t it?!

Whether you work from the kitchen table, in the spare bedroom or a purpose built garden office, when you work by yourself for yourself, it is tough to find enough motivation to keep at it day after day.

I know I find it tough.

Especially at this time of year … the dark mornings, the dark evenings, the lack of sunshine and vitamin D. When there’s lots on your to-do list, even the most motivated can find it difficult to focus time and energy on stuff that moves your business forward.

The stuff I’m talking about isn’t the stuff that is critical or customer focused such as posting out an order or emailing a proposal or even must-do-today-or-someone-is-going-to-get-pissed-with-me kind of stuff.

That stuff is easy to do … you have to do it, so you get on with it. Simple as that.

The stuff I’m talking about is the lead generation campaign you’ve meaning to set up; the postcards you’ve been meaning to get sorted and sent out for your next special offer; the research needed to find out where you can get 6 speaking events booked for next year; the squeeze pages that need re-editing as they aren’t converting enough leads for you.

You get the picture, don’t you?

It’s all the stuff that you know you *should* be doing, but frankly there’s so many emails to answer, paperwork to shuffle, Facebook notifications to check and tweets that need re-tweeting that you get the end of each day wondering it went.

Here’s a solution.

Go out to work.

Commute!

Get away from the comfort of your own working space that keeps you chained to your to-do list and get in the car and drive to an office that you can work in.

There’s plenty of these offices available to you. No need to pre-book or pay a delegate rate. For the price of a cup of coffee (and maybe a piece of cake), there are plenty of coffee shops and tea rooms around today to choose a quiet corner to work from.

Working from my local coffee shop

Working from my local coffee shop

This is exactly what I’ve been up to recently and I love it.

And I’m even lucky enough to have a wonderful coffee shop (that also sells quite delicious cookies!) within a 3 minute walk of my house. No need for me to even get in to my car.

The background noise of people coming and going – which I thought was going to be distracting – was actually conducive to working. And because I know I have a limited time there (I can stretch a cup of coffee out for about 90 minutes) I can get my head down and focus on a specific task.

Here’s some tips to get it working right for you:

1. Check wifi first

Always a good idea to call first or check their website as not all coffee shops and team rooms have wifi yet. A brand new tea room has opened up in my local village which I got very excited about, but when I messaged them on Facebook they told me they haven’t got WiFi set up yet as they didn’t know how many people would use it. They obviously had internet access to respond to me via Facebook … so why not make it available to all customers?!

2. Power sockets

Find a table close to a power socket and without causing an ‘elf-n-safety hazard and you are set up in case of battery failure. Nothing worse choosing a table, getting set up and then having to move half way through your session when your red light appears on your laptop (although if you are a mac user, you know this never happens LOL)

3. Avoid the Mummy coffee shops

Nothing against you lot (I’m one myself for goodness sake) but if you find yourself in the middle of an NCT meeting, that background noise rapidly becomes too much to bear!

4. Get clear on what you are going to work on

There’s no point rocking up to your coffee shop, ordering a latte and cake and then drumming your fingers on the table, wondering what you are going to get done. No! You need to plan out what you want to get done, so you can get on with it.

If you really don’t know what you should be doing to get yourself more customers then you should be speaking to me! But seriously … why not make that your task on your first coffee shop outing: to brainstorm ideas on what you need to do to find more customers. Once you’ve got that done, you’ve then got a list of do-able projects to get working on during your next few visits.

5. Passwords and logins

Nothing worse than ordering your coffee, opening up your laptop and then realise you’ve left your password and logins list back in the office. If you have them saved online, great. You are sorted. But whatever you need – phone numbers, website addresses, logins – to get what you need to get done, make sure you bring it with you.

6. Meet up with a GID Partner

Getting It Done is often more fun with someone else is Getting It Done by your side. Meet up, have 15 minutes telling each other what you are going to do, agree a time to get your heads down and then at the end of the session, get another coffee and compare notes.

7. Get the app

If you really don’t have a coffee shop or tea room within a short drive away, then get the app Coffivity. Seriously … I couldn’t make this up! This app will play coffee shop noises to help speed up your productivity and lots of people swear by it.

All you need to do is find another room in the house to work from, make some fresh coffee (unfortunately the app won’t do that for you!) and away you go. OK … maybe not the same thing but at least try working in a different room. Different walls can help with you with creativity and coming up with new ideas.

So, over to you.

I would love to know if you do this. And if so, what are your tips to working productively in a coffee shop or tea room?

Or do you something else? Or go somewhere else? How do you break up your routine and make sure you make the time to get your stuff done?

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