Most people are stuck sitting in the same office, standing at the same cash register, or looking out the same window for much of their career. I know, I used to be one of them before I quit my job (except my classroom didn’t have windows…double whammy). That is one of the biggest drawbacks of “going to work” for someone else; you are trapped in same location for 8+ hours every day.
One of the biggest perks of being self-employed and running an online business is that you can be location independent. Jocelyn and I love to work at home, but we also have the freedom to work…anywhere… in the car, out by the pool, or even at our local coffee shop.
In fact… that’s where I am right now!
As long as we have our laptops and phones we are good to go! However, working in a coffee shop (or any public place) can be a very distracting environment. We see people we know and get into conversations, there is usually music playing in the background, or maybe a good book on the shelf that looks irresistible. It can be easy to get lost in all those distractions and get very little accomplished!
However, if you follow a few simple tips, you can not only be extremely productive but also enjoy the freedom of being able to work anywhere at any time.
Tip #1: Sit in a Low Traffic Area
If you sit right by the front door or the counter, you are going to be constantly distracted by people moving in and out of the shop or buying drinks. The best thing to do is scout out a good place off out of the way. Choose a wall or corner seating area where you will not be distracted by other patrons.
On a side note, sit at a table and avoid the comfy chairs and couches. It is a lot easier to type and work at a table and chairs can relax you to the point of losing focus.
Tip #2: Go With Someone Else Who is Also Working
When you work for yourself, its easy to lose focus and take it easy. After all, nobody is making you work or standing over you checking everything you do (which is awesome).
However, we all need accountability. It is a good idea when you are working in a public place to go with someone who also has things to do. Whether it is your girlfriend who has homework, a friend who needs to catch up on emails, or your spouse; working taking someone with you to the coffee shop can be just the thing you need to stay on task.
My wife Jocelyn is an awesome business partner. She is always working hard which inspires me to keep going, and when I slack off or get distracted she helps me get back on track!
Tip #3 – Bring Noise Cancelling Headphones (Ear Buds if You Can)
One of the biggest distractions when working outside of your home is the noise. Easy problem to fix. I use a pair of noise cancelling headphones to tune out the sounds around me and focus on what I’m doing. Sometimes I don’t even play my own music, I just turn on the noise cancelling feature and zone in on what I’m doing.
I recommend the Audio Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling In-Ear Headphones. They are low profile, do a great job of cancelling 90% of the background noise around you, and sound great. Check them out:
Ear buds look cool, and fit right in a coffee shop environment. An added benefit is that many people won’t bother you if you are wearing headphones. This helps you avoid interruptions and keeps you on task.
Tip #4: B.Y.O.I (Bring Your Own Internet)
You can get a ton of work done offline (draft posts, create product sales pages, etc.) but in order to run an online business you really need to actually be ON the Interent when you work (duh).
While most coffee shops now offer free wifi, you can’t always rely on their connection. Sometimes you may have to sit a little far from the router, or so many people are connected to the same device that the Internet is bogged down. Don’t even get me started on security.
The best way to B.Y.O.I is with a mobile hot spot. Jocelyn and I use our Motorola DROID RAZR Smartphones with built in 4g Hotspots to broadcast our on wifi signal. It is amazing. We often connect both of our laptops and our Kids’ Tablets to the hotspot. We can easily work online while the kids stream netflix with no problems. The best part, we are in total control of the connection and nobody else is on it with us!
If your phone cannot become a wifi hotspot, you can actually buy devices that do the same thing. A buddy of mine who hits the coffee shop with me from time to time uses the Novatel Verizon Jetpack Mifi 4g LTE Wi-fi Hotspot Wireless Router to broadcast his own wifi signal. One great thing about the Jetpack is that also has VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology for added security.
Either way you go, its always good to bring your own Internet connection when you decide to work at your local coffee shop!
Tip #5: Enjoy yourself while you are there!
Living the flipped lifestyle means putting life first and work last! Don’t make every trip to the coffee shop a business trip! Although, I wonder if coffee is tax deductible?
When you get to the coffee shop, grab a cup of joe. Go talk to some friends. Hang out with your wife. Spend some time enjoying the atmosphere before you get to work. When you accomplish your task, grab one of those comfy chairs and settle in to read a good book.
The point of being location independent is to enjoy the location where you are working!
Those are my 5 tips for getting work done in a coffee shop, what about you?
Where is your favorite place to work on your online business, and how do you stay focused when working outside the home?
Leave a comment below!