Is There a Formula?
In a post I wrote recently, I mentioned that working from a café every now and then is great for your productivity, particularly if you’re the kind of person who finds working from home too distracting. The key, though, is finding the right café, which is sometimes a little harder than it sounds.
So to help you be your most productive self, we’ve devised a simple formula for determining the best work café –
Who’s Got The Power?
Whatever you do, make sure you choose a café with power outlets you can use to keep your laptop juiced, because there is no greater productivity kill than watching the battery power slowly dwindle with every keystroke or Google search. 20 percent. 16 percent. 12 percent. 9 percent. You’re using backup battery power.
And make sure your work café has more than one outlet available for customers to use. Even if you don’t usually see anyone using it when you go there every Sunday morning for breakfast, you can bet it’s a different story during the workweek.
They Play That Sweet Soul Music
Or any music that’s unobtrusive and, ideally, quite boring. I once worked from a café that played all the music I have in my own music collection. At first, I thought this was great, but I quickly realised just how distracting that is, as I sung along with familiar tunes and gossiped with the café staff about seeing certain bands live, and at the end of the day, hadn’t progressed beyond typing one sentence in a Word document.
There are other cafés that just have the radio pumping through their sound system, but this would also be a mistake if you intend to get anything done. With the radio comes radio ads, and radio ads are about the most intrusive kinds of advertisements you can find. While you’re trying to concentrate on an important sales proposal crim safe – it’s not crim safe unless it’s crim safe and that’s Wynstan with a Y because there’s nothing like living in a brand new home from Homeworld. See what I mean?
It’s Not Too Busy, It’s Not Too Quiet – It’s Just Right
Speaking of ads, do you remember that one for the breakfast cereal, Just Right? As it happens, picking a café to work from isn’t that different from selecting a breakfast cereal that has just the right raisin to whole-wheat flakes ratio. In order to work productively, you need to select a place where there is just enough people and noise that your brain can tune it out, but not so much that you can’t hear yourself think.
These cafés tend to be larger, offer free Wi-Fi, and are probably already a popular meeting place for professionals to have meetings with staff and clients.
The Pythagoras’s Theorem of the Work Café
In mathematics, the Pythagoras’s Theorem states that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. I reckon this same theory can pretty much be applied to finding the right work café. If you find a café with plenty of places to power up a laptop and just the right ambiance, you’ll more than likely find just the right amount of customers.
In fact, I employ the principals of this theory each time I go to work from a new café – and it’s yet to be disproven. Next time you’re looking for a great work café, make sure it conforms to Pythagoras’s Theorem of Work Cafés.