January 30

How to (not) Create a Productivity-Friendly Environment

Or: my coffee shop is going through an existential crisis.

When you’re stuck on something creatively, you can’t solve a problem, you go to a coffee shop.

Eric Weiner

In life, it’s important to be able to admit mistakes.

(Your own or others…)

Here’s my latest: So, I had this “great” plan of going to a coffee shop to work.

In the US of A.

When will I learn that this just does not mesh well with my European coffee shop sensibilities? ?

True to form, the coffee shop I frequented seemed more like an (alcohol-free) bar — and where’s the fun in that?

This is where coffee shop productivity goes to die… all while I’m stuck listening to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” for the felt sixth time in a row.

On the plus side, it was a great chance for me to reflect on ways to most efficiently impede work productivity.

I’ve now successfully identified five strategies for creating a productivity-unfriendly environment:

1. Playing loud, distracting music

After all, people come to a coffee shop to dance and party, not to work, read or *gasp* communicate with someone else. ?

2. Keep the lights dim

Don’t tell your ophthalmologist (or Thomas Edison), but both eyesight and light are completely overrated. ?

3. Don’t have enough outlets

Because, you guessed it, electricity is also overrated. That is, until the device you work on runs out of power.

Oh well… ?

It’s not like I was counting on doing any work here anywhere…

4. Hide the water pitcher.

After all, it’s not like humans need H2O to survive. ?

(Okay, now I’m just being petty…)

5. Overdose on caffeine

Seriously, the barista managed to make my black tea so strong that it should be on the list of controlled substances. ?

(And, no, not in the type of way that gives you the impression that they know what they’re doing.)

Thank God I’m not British… otherwise, I’d have broken down into tears at this tea abomination.

As it is, I’ll settle on hyperactivity.

Oh, wait… I might not be able to sleep tonight but I’m actually being productive.

Which just goes to show that sometimes, it’s good to break the rules.


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