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So, as I write this, I’m working outside the home at a place that offers wi-fi. It’s one of those time where I just had to get out of the house to get a few things done online….some of which included blogging-related activity today, but also included other work I needed to do. I suppose if I decided to cancel cable and do away with home internet, leaving this house might need to be a necessity. But since I haven’t done that yet, this was just one of those days I had to work elsewhere..
Anyway, with respect to things I need to do online, I almost always work on things at home. Today though, I decided to head out to a Starbucks that’s right down the road a mile or two from home. There’s another one the same distance the other direction, but today I headed to the first location with the intent of getting some things done. Lo and behold, I saw that all the tables were occupied. Ok, so this won’t work! No worries, I’ll just drive 5 minutes to other one…or so I thought.
The second location was totally packed as well. What to do? I might as well go home rather than drive around, right?
I almost went back home, when I saw the golden arches and remembered that they were supposed to have free wi-fi now at most locations. The thought of sitting in a McDonald working on a computer repulsed me a bit at first, but then I thought “Why not?”. After all, Starbucks is pretty much ubiquitous as well anyway, and what’s the worst thing that could happen?
Besides, my decaf coffee would only cost $1 plus tax here, while it would be closer to $2 at a coffee shop. Saving money is a great thing, especially on discretionary purchases, right?
In retrospect, maybe I should have trusted my instincts - this place is NOT conducive to getting things done!
Now, there is internet access and room to work, so that’s not a problem. It’s just the overall atmosphere, which I should have expected. At a Starbucks or other coffee shop, you might have a mix of people working/reading, as well as others who are chit-chatting. At this fast food place, it’s a different ballgame. Distractions everywhere, and it’s practically a circus-type atmosphere!
First, there’s the guy sitting in the adjacent booth in front of me. He’s gentleman with glasses salt-and-pepper hair, more gray than not, who’s icing his face. Yes, he’s icing his face. Not sure what’s afflicting him, but he’s got a wad of napkins that he put some ice cubes in, and he’s applying that makeshift icepack to his face. He’s not eating anything or drinking anything, just periodically going back to the soda machine and taking a new batch of ice and napkins. When he gets back to his booth, he’s just applying the ice pack to his face while staring out the window with a sideways smik. I’m a “live and let live” person, but this is a little strange. But hey, whatever.
Second, there’s this lady and her friend sitting not far from me, who just came in. She is talking VERY loud, and laughing even louder. It’s one of those things where anybody would notice right away, where you won’t forget it for a while. She’s trading stories about her mother-in-law and how she succeeds in her attempts to avoid seeing her.
Third, there’s a family here with kids that are running around chasing one another. Now, I have kids of my own and totally get that kids will get a little rowdy sometimes. It’s just that when they were chasing each other one kids jumped in to the opposite side of my booth and other kid jumped in to “tag” him and very nearly knocked into my computer. No harm, no foul I guess, but these parents aren’t controlling their kids and this isn’t exactly something that you’ll see at a coffee shop!
So, I learned my lesson here: if you want to leave home to get work done for whatever reason, go to a Starbucks or other similar type of coffee shop. Or, go to your local library, assuming it has wi-fi as well. Just don’t do what I did and actually go to a McDonald’s to get any work done. Not sure what I was thinking, but I’ve got to laugh at myself for this.
I definitely got what I paid for in this case.
Anyway, that brings me to my questions:
- Do you ever get any work done (online, studying, etc) at coffee shops, libraries, or other places outside the home?
- If so, why have you done so, and did you find it helped or hurt your productivity?