Startups and entrepreneurs need an environment conducive to everyday business development. Cafés may offer free wifi but lack the supplies and other technology that a business may need. Working from a home office has its’ perks but you’re bound to get sidetracked by family, pets, and chores. For many, coworking spaces offer a great alternative to a traditional office.
Some will find the open collaborative design of coworking spaces to be distractive. So this is for you. Follow these tips so that you can boost concentration in any space.
Minimize or remove distractions
Even private offices can be full of distractions. Some of these you don’t have control over, such as people walking by your window. But in other cases, all you need to do is a simple cleanup.
Start with your desk. It’s common for people to display photos of their loved ones. But having too many pictures (or ornaments in general) can allow your mind to wander. Keep your workstation tidy. Put away any supplies or decorations that don’t contribute to your productivity. And yes, that may include putting your phone away or on silent!
For certain occasions, it may be more prudent to move to a quieter room. Book a conference room for meetings or planning sessions. Or take a call in a soundproof phone booth. Moving spaces, even temporarily, has a major impact on your mindset and productivity.
If you’re planning on using the coworking space for a prolonged period, consider registering for a dedicated desk. This will ensure you have a workstation reserved exclusively for your use.
Ironically, the more you try to do, the less you get done. It’s easy to think that having a dozen tabs open makes you more efficient. But how many tasks can you focus on at a given time?
Create a to-do list, then schedule your projects on a calendar. The second part is the key. Many of us have a list of things we need to get done. But scheduling the tasks on a calendar ensures you only work on one thing at a time. This helps you avoid multitasking or accepting different meetings. You can focus on that important project.
While task management apps are aplenty, nothing beats a simple pen and paper system. Read our previous guide on using a bullet journal to keep track of your projects and daily assignments.
Work around a distracting environment
You can’t always control your environment, especially at work. Your coworkers may be running through a presentation next to you. Or they might be having a casual conversation. Whatever it may be, you need to roll with the punches and continue your tasks, instead of moving or causing a scene.
That’s when listening to music or a podcast can be helpful. Try buying a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These are equipped with a special mic that “flips” the frequency of ambient sound. They’ll help neutralize any background noise.
If you don’t have any noise-canceling headphones, listen to instrumental music. Try classical, jazz, or electronic. Music with words can be distracting if you’re writing or watching a video. Instrumental music will drown out the distractions without diverting your focus.
Letting others know that you need privacy or silence at certain times can go a long way. Take a short walk through a Novel Coworking hallway, and you’ll see some “Do Not Disturb”, “Please Be Respectful Of Our Guests” or similar signs. But maintaining that quiet may be difficult to achieve in a coworking space.
It’s important to also create social boundaries when necessary. Learn to say “no” to friends, family, or other coworkers when you need to focus. Of course, that can be easier said than done. But when you start saying “no” and become more selective with how you spend your time, you’ll get a lot more done in the end.
Finally, create boundaries for yourself at work. Even if you get to set your working hours, be firm about when you start and when you end. Additionally, set email and phone hours on your website. That way, people don’t bother you when you are trying to concentrate or relax.
Take breaks from work
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to focus on your work is to step away from time to time. So much of our work is completed on laptops or computers, it can be easy to neglect posture or suffer from lack of physical activity from sitting all day. Even a few minutes away from a screen is enough to refresh your mind.
Exercise for an hour before work. Or if you’re short on time, take a quick walk around the building. You may even want to run a personal errand, like sending mail or buying office supplies. Any burst of activity to break up your day will help your mind feel less drained when it’s time to go home.
Having trouble managing your time between work and break? Check out the Pomodoro Technique. This method breaks down your work into 25-minute intervals, broken up by break periods. It’s a simple, but effective way of increasing your attention while making sure you get moments of rest.
Be a good neighbor
Finally, remember the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated. If you want people to be respectful while you work, do the same when you’re around others trying to concentrate. Speak quietly when others are having important calls or conversations. And limit your phone calls to avoid disturbing those nearby.
Also, remember basic cleanliness and personal hygiene. Coworking spaces are shared. Even if you don’t share a desk or office, leaving clutter around may affect other people as well. Be mindful of your space, keep your area clean, and remember to tidy dinnerware and loose supplies.
Coworking spaces have all the elements to turn you into a productive worker. But you need to put the work and practice in. Don’t expect to magically finish work. When you come into work with the right mindset, attitude, and work etiquette, you’ll start to see your performance improve.