If you’ve ever got out of the office or your home-office and instead went to a coffee shop and magically tripled your productivity, you know that odd feeling and lingering question: why am I able to get more done here than in the space that’s actually been set up for me to do work?
Well, there seems to be an explanation for that!
It Actually is Easier to Concentrate in Coffee Shops
Noise plays an important role in your brain. Many people think this is why working in coffee shops can make it easier to concentrate but it’s only part of the story.
Let’s look at several reasons it’s easier to get work done in your local coffee shop.
Ambient Noise Improves Performance
Ambient noise isn’t the only reason it’s easier to get work done in a coffee shop but it is one of the most effective.
Research shows that ambient noise helps improve performance for creative work. If you’re writing or doing any other kind of creative work, the noises in a typical coffee shop will help trigger this reaction.
The Audience Effect
The audience effect is when someone’s behavior changes because they think other people are watching them.
When you’re working in a coffee shop, you might not think about it consciously but your brain works as though the people around you are watching you. You’ll naturally work a little harder because otherwise, someone might see you slacking off.
Working Hard is Contagious
There are a lot of perks of the flexible work arrangements that many companies offer in today’s world. But there are also some disadvantages, like not having other people working around you.
Working in a coffee shop is an easy way to solve that problem. Studies show that mental effort can be contagious so surrounding yourself with other people working can help you work a little harder.
Keep in mind that this only works if the people around you are also working. If everyone around you is socializing, you may not see any real benefit in your work.
Easy Source of Caffeine
Coffee, or more accurately its caffeine content, is well-known for giving you an extra jolt of energy. What better place to get that kick than a coffee shop, where the caffeine supply is never-ending?
According to studies, 200 milligrams of caffeine can also improve your memory and problem-solving skills. That’s approximately the amount of caffeine in a large coffee.
Your Brain Likes Novelty
Whether you work in an office or you work from home, your brain will start to get tired of the monotony. Your brain likes novelty so getting out of your usual working environment and into a coffee shop can help.
The different surroundings can help stimulate your brain and bring on inspiration when you’re stuck for ideas. The brain releases dopamine into your body when it’s happy, which helps inspire you to work more effectively.
Try Working at Coffee Shops When You’re Stuck
If you’re stuck on a project or suffering from a lack of inspiration in your work, occasionally working from coffee shops can help you push through the roadblocks. Spending a few dollars for a coffee seems like a pretty good value.
The following articles shed more light on see why this location change boosts your productivity:
- Trello has some interesting points on how our brain loves novelty and how our routines can quickly become unproductive
- The Atlantic explains why we get a fear of having no purpose when in a public space
- HBR talks about levels of ambience sound – when they help our productivity, and when they hurt it.