February 6, 2017

Photo credits: Victoria Reinsch
Words: Rae Tashman

Berlin-based blogger and photographer, Rae Tashman, aka @lovefromberlin, shares with us her top tips to stay motivated and productive when you don’t have a boss, or an official start time. Over to you, Rae…

Being self-employed is one of those things that sounds really luxurious. And while it does mean that I can wake up late and don’t have to put on pants if I don’t want to, you really have to be prepared to hustle constantly and do well with the stress of irregular income. Motivating yourself when there’s no threat of being fired for coming in late can be difficult, but one of my favourite ways to absolutely smash it and stay productive is to get dressed and bring my work to a cafe. Because at the end of the day, “home office” is a loose term when you’re the one calling all the shots.

It will make you want to work

Look, it takes a lot of motivation to get your work done when you can technically opt for lounging around in PJs all day and know that your TV and bed are just a few shuffles away. Bringing your work to a café sets you up for all the right conditions. It might sound like a bit of a laugh but it is amazing what it does to a person psychologically when they are dressed for the day and not walking around with a shirt with toothpaste stains all over it. Just putting on something that signals you to start your day and do the things will motivate your mind. I like to opt for something comfortable like these mom jeans, and long-sleeved shirt/t-shirt combo.

It has also been proven that a moderate level of ambient noise can aid in creative thought and boost productivity. So turn off that web app you found with recordings of chatter and work with the real thing with background noise from other guests and the sound of cups clinking.

It forces you to stay productive

Aside from leaving your PJs at home and vibing off of the ambient sounds of others, working from a cafe keeps you productive by sitting upright (unless you have snagged yourself a super cozy sofa or chair, which in that case, I cannot help you) and knowing that other people are around you somehow keeps you more accountable. I’m not saying that you will be immune to checking Facebook every 5 minutes, but I will say that you will be much less likely to thoroughly Facebook stalk your latest crush when you know people can look over your shoulder and view your screen.

It makes taking micro breaks easy

Taking regular short breaks is so much more healthy than marathon work sessions. (They say the longer you are working at a task, the less productive you become over time, so by taking mini breaks, your mind will stay fresher than working all the way through.) The downfall when working from home is that your micro break starts out as a 5 minute catch up with the news and very quickly deteriorates into a 5 hour Netflix marathon. Cafes are perfect because you can take a micro break by flipping through a magazine, grabbing your umpteenth cup of coffee or tea and sipping it meaningfully, or chatting with a stranger for a bit.

It’s a change of atmosphere

And a change of atmosphere keeps things interesting. While working from home is super lovely and means you can basically win at housekeeping while doing work by having appliances like the dishwasher and laundry machine running in the background, it can be a bit boring working from the same place on your own each day. Which is why it is so refreshing to check out all the different local cafes in your neighborhood.

It prevents you from turning into an anti-social shut in

By the very nature of having to interact with other people – even if some of them might be strangers. And you can always schedule a coffee date with a friend in the middle of your work sesh for a refreshing break or invite another freelancing friend to join you.

It forces you to cut back and focus

Do you remember how studying at the library made you like 145% more likely to be semi- productive back in uni? Well cafes sort of work the same way because they severely limit distractions. But the same caveat applies to working from a cafe that applied to studying at the library. If you go with lots of friends and goof off the whole time, you will be defeating the purpose.

Some cafes might also not have internet – either by choice (more and more places are doing this) or by the very nature that their wireless just isn’t up to snuff. This is something to definitely look into before choosing to work in a place depending on what kind of work you do, but even if a lot of your work is online, you may want to purposely opt for working from a cafe without internet to really force yourself to limit social media distractions and falling down the click-bait article rabbit hole. I am a blogger and photographer, but even I have work that I can definitely do without an internet connection, and being unplugged makes me more likely to focus more intensively on these assignments.

You get to sip the best coffee and tea your neighbourhood has to offer

I am all for putting on the kettle at home and I adore my French press. But with risk of sounding cliche, there is just something so nice about drinking artisanal tea and coffee from really pretty cups. #Sorrynotsorry

Shop Rae’s look:

Light Before Dark Sheer Ribber Jumper

Light Before Dark Grey Overcoat

BDG Acid Wash Black Mom Jeans

BDG Eagles World Tour New York T-Shirt