How I Recreate Writing In Coffee Shops With These 4 Simple, Sustainable Steps

Woman sitting in a wheelchair at a table in a coffee shop. She is holding a mug and has a laptop open on the table in front of her.
I tend to write in coffee shops... because if I'm at home, I get distracted by the television or the cats or my husband, or... you know - all of those things that make it easy to procrastinate. - Cassandra Clare

I used to get so much focused writing and creating done at coffee shops and I'm sure I will again one day, once we've conquered Covid. Until then, I will continue doing all of my writing, scheduling, researching, planning, and creating here in my home office. Over this past year I've tried various tips and tricks to 'be more productive' and 'focused'.

In the end, for me, recreating some of the key features of working in a coffee shop has been the way. Here are the 4 steps I take each day to achieve this coffee shop essence here in my home office.

1. Get Dressed

Seriously, it matters what I wear and I'm guessing it matters to your brain too. PJ's are for lounging and sleeping - my brain knows this and no amount of arguing with it has willed it away from what it knows - when in jammies we aren't working. So, yes, I get up and get dressed for work, even thought work is just across the hall from my bedroom. Mind you, as a person living in a disabled body with chronic pain, I already had a work wardrobe consisting of 'dressy' yoga pants, maxi skirts, and palazzo pants so I was ready for this. But, still, my brain sees these clothing items as for work and being up, out and about and it responds with a different level of focus when I'm wearing stretchy palazzo pants vs. my bright pinks flannel pj pants.

2. Coffee, of Course

I fill my favorite shiny rose gold travel mug with coffee and bring it, along with the giant water bottle that used to always accompany me up to the office pre-Covid and bring them both into my office. Just like I did when I drove 30mins each way to my part-time 'day job'. Sure, I could use my favorite house mug, and I often do, but the mornings when I use my To-Go mug my level of focus is noticeably higher. Just like stretchy, comfy palazzo pants vs. pj pants, my brain knows which are for home/lounge time and which mean I mean business and focus is the call to order.

3. Music.Music.Music

When writing, I plug my earbuds into my laptop and head over to my Yo-Yo Ma station on Pandora - just like I used to at coffee shops. When researching, planning, or creating, I usually lean more towards 80's pop music like Pat Benatar, the Go-Go's, Duran Duran, etc. You know, the stuff I was listening to back in the day. There is a Pandora station for every need and every mood.

4. Recreate Background Noise

My personal favorite is the Coffitivity app, set to Morning Murmur, but there are loads of coffee shop sounds over at YouTube as well. I put my phone on my desk between me and the door and turn it up load enough that I can hear it over the music - just like I would if I were actually in a bustling, lively coffee shop. This seems to be the magical last step that tells my brain, "Hey, we're here to work. Let's get to it!"

Those are my four steps to recreating the essence of working in a coffee shop. They have been so helpful for me, I hope they help you too!

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