This post was written by Josh Zinn.
J.K. Rowling does it. So did Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Heck, even unabashed tea-drinkers like Stephen King have, most certainly, done it from time to time. All across the world, in fact, people are doing it right now and, in all probability, you have too. Whether it’s the next Great American Novel being wrought out or a clever spin on tomorrow’s investment report, there’s no denying coffee shops have long served as a prime location for folks to get their creative juices flowing and hungers––not to mention caffeine fixes––satiated.
Why is this? What is it about the environment of our neighborhood coffee purveyors that directs our minds to a level of productivity which our offices and cubicles cannot? Is there something in the water? Perhaps in the doughnuts and assorted pastries we nibble on? Or is it simply a combination of comfort, familiarity, and delight that can only come from a place many consider to be their home away from home?
In addition to whichever reasons works for you, here are five more reasons coffee shops are fantastic places to bring work to and to get work done.
- Community: Coffee shops have become the modern-day town meeting hall. Where else can you count on seeing friends and neighbors on a daily basis, taking a break from their busy lives? Maybe you’re working on your thesis and need a little bit of friendly inspiration and encouragement to finish those last few pages? Maybe you’re in need of a babysitter so you can go out and celebrate having finally finished those last few pages? Chances are you’ll be able to find both––and a little friendly gossip––at the coffee shop.
- Caffeine: Yeah, it’s a need. Don’t deny it and don’t deny your overworked brain the pleasure (and relief) it provides too. When the day is looking dark, you need to wake up, and even your yawns are yawning, that triple-Americano you just ordered will work better than any buzzing alarm clock––just try not to hit its snooze button.
- Fewer Distractions: Sure, your neighbors are here, and you’re getting the 411 on what’s happening in the community garden, but chances are your boss or professor isn’t and that can often make a HUGE difference when you need to finish something without someone gawking over your shoulder. Bringing your work to the coffee shop still shows you’re getting out of bed and getting things done, but, gosh darn it, you’re doing it on your terms and with a coffee by your side.
- Ambiance: There’s something to be said for the sound of coffee grinding and the hiss of milk steaming. Take a hint from Goldilocks: When the din of TV or radio is too much to bear and the sound of silence is something best left to Simon and Garfunkel, the lulling, dulcimer tones of the coffee shop can provide just the right amount of background noise to get your mind a’movin’.
- Delicious Food: Let’s face it, sometimes we all need a treat––especially when we’re knee-deep in a project and have no clue where to go or what to say next. Though by no means a scientific study, I’d wager to say there’s a direct correlation between the smile that comes from that first bite of an old-fashioned doughnut and the congratulations you receive at the office for a job well done. Coffee shops stock themselves with all the tasty things we aren’t likely to find in the break room and you, me, and we are all the better for it.
Needless to say, there are a myriad of reasons why coffee shops have long been trusted with not only our bellies, but our brains too. Did you recognize some of your own here? If not, what are some of your favorite reasons for working on stuff in a coffee shop?
Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have an essay to write and a cappuccino to sip.