Why You Should Work From a Coffee Shop, Even When You Have an Office

…And the reason doesn’t seem to be so you can pick up wait persons…(But we hear that’s why munchman does it).


by Wesley Verhoeve (Lifehacker.Com)

Here at Lifehacker, we’ve often encouraged switching up your working environment tospark creativity and prevent burnout. Even taking a few days each month to work in a new place can benefit you greatly. Here, entrepreneur Wesley Verhoeve explains the benefits of his favorite non-office space: the coffee shop.

While team Family Records was in between offices in early 2012, we had 6 weeks to bridge until our new space was ready. During that time we were fortunate enough to be taken in as guests by awesomecompanies for stretches of time, and for the remainder we took over corners of coffee shops all over Brooklyn and Manhattan. The experience of working out of coffee shops was so positive that even after we moved into our new home, I made sure to get in a few “coffee shop days” each month. For carpal tunnel related reasons alone, I would not recommend working out of coffee shops every day, but here are some reasons why it might be great to try it for one or two days every month.

A change of environment stimulates creativity. Even in the most awesome of offices we can fall into a routine, and a routine is the enemy of creativity. Changing your environment, even just for a day, brings new types of input and stimulation, which in turn stimulates creativity and inspiration.

Fewer distractions. It sounds counter-intuitive, but working from a bustling coffee shop can be less distracting than working from a quiet office. Being surrounded by awesome team and officemates means being interrupted for water cooler chats and work questions. Being interrupted kills productivity. The coffee shop environment combines the benefit of anonymity with the dull buzz of exciting activity. Unlike working at home, with the ever-present black hole of solitude and procrastination, a coffee shop provides the opportunity of human interaction, on your terms.

Community and meeting new people. Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective at existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me. Today alone I met a top Skillshare teacher whose class I will now take, a sleep consultant, a publicist who offered to help with a project, and a wine consultant who recommended some bars.

To make the best out of your coffee shop days, keep a few things in mind:

Rotate coffee shops. Rather than going to the same coffee shop every time, switch it up, and avoid the stifling feeling of routine you were trying to avoid in the first place.

Buy something. Don’t be a cheapskate nursing that one coffee throughout the day. Buy some stuff throughout the day, and tip well. Coffee shop workers are awesome, and they’ll be awesome to you if you are a good customer. That hidden power plug will be revealed, an extra free refill will be given, an introduction will be made.

Placement. Don’t sit near the door or the register, if you can avoid it. Temperature differences and high traffic don’t help you to focus.

Power up. Come with a full charge. I like to not bring a power cord, unlike most folks, because I get 6 hours out of my laptop battery, and it forces me to take a break and work with focus because I will run out eventually.

There you have it, a few reasons why I recommend taking a break from the office at least once a month, and some tips on how to get the most out of it. For those of you located in, or traveling to, the New York City area, I have put together a special Foursquare list with 15 of my favorite local coffee shops to work from. Let us know how it goes!

How Do I Pitch an Idea That Actually Gets Heard?

Glad you asked:

by Adam Dachis

Dear Lifehacker,
I have good, sometimes great ideas from time to time but I don’t really know how to get anyone to listen. Usually I start and I can see there attention fade away after a few minutes. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, or how to keep people interested. What can I do to make my pitches more interesting and get people to actually listen to them?

Pitch Imperfect

Dear PI,
Making a great pitch only requires an understanding of the person you’re pitching to, a knowledge of the pros and cons of your own idea, and a lot of practice. Not one of those three things is hard to come by, but if you don’t have much practice pitching well it can seem a little daunting. Pitches also vary in length depending on the situation. Generally speaking, you start by making a short pitch and then, if you do well, you’ll have a chance at a longer one. First, let’s go over all the things required to make a great pitch and then look at how to actually give it.

Know Your Audience

Generally speaking, you can assume a couple of things about your audience (i.e. the person or persons you’re pitching to):

  1. They’re busy.
  2. They hear a lot of ideas on a regular basis and most of them are bad (or irrelevant to them).

As a result, people who hear pitches regularly have often lost their hopefulness and optimism in regards to new ideas. They know there’s a chance you’ll have a good one, but they also know that chance is statistically slim. On top of that, they’re busy and hearing an idea that has a good chance of being bad isn’t an exciting prospect.

In many cases, you have the cards stacked against you. This upsets many people because it’s intimidating and feels unfair, but it’s important to sympathize. The pitch recipient wants to hear a great idea more than you might think. They love great ideas, but don’t necessarily expect them. It’s important to understand their position so that understanding comes across in your actual pitch. Consider what it must be like to hear bad ideas several times a day when you’re worried about getting things done so you can get home to your family (or other aspects of your personal life). Imagine taking the time to hear a bad idea and realize you not only wasted your limited time but also now have to give someone bad news. Even if the pitch only lasted five minutes, there’s a fairly high emotional cost with being the bearer of bad news several times a day. Nobody likes being that person because it’s stressful. You wouldn’t like being that person. When someone says “sure, pitch me your idea,” they’re willing to risk that for you. To return the favor, it’s important to understand that situation and tailor your pitch accordingly. (How you actually do that is something we’ll discuss a little later on.)

 Aside from this general assumption, specifically who you’re pitching to matters. Are you pitching to someone who can instantly write you a check and make your dreams come true, or to a lower-level executive who simply vets ideas on a regular basis? Perhaps you know the person, or even work for them. Take your relationship and their abilities into account. Clearly state what you hope to gain by making your pitch and do not ask for anything they can’t provide.

Read it all

This is, quite simply, the most helpful article we’ve read all year, regardless of what kind of idea you’re pitching where – and, you’ll notice, we’re at the end of the year. Even the comments are helpful. Read this! Read!