Coworking spaces allow freelancers, entrepreneurs, and even employees in larger companies to have a desk and place of work that’s not a coffee shop or your standard office. Workers even have the option for private offices within coworking spaces if they’re just looking to get out. Of course, many choose to work in the shared workspace to enjoy the social benefits of a coworking space.
Shared workspaces, as we said, tend to foster a sense of community for members, and it can be a fun and exciting place to work. While the buzz of an office and the constant whirring of a cappuccino machine might be optimal for people that enjoy being surrounded by inspired people all day, the distractions can stack up. Over time, all of that distraction can present a unique obstacle when it comes to working in a shared space.
With the right techniques, you can still maximize productivity in any type of workspace. Check out these tips to increase your productivity even in the thick of a shared workspace!
A shared workspace can provide plenty of distraction, even in the midst of trying to get your most important tasks done. This could be anything. A chatty neighbor, a noisy area, or even a messy desk. There are good ways to respond to each one, and while some might be common sense, you may not immediately think about it when you find yourself distracted at work.
Networking with your coworking neighbors can be very beneficial to you career or small business relationships, but you don’t want it to get in the way of your work all the time. If you have an important task to get done, or if you’re working on a deadline, let people around you know that you can’t be bothered for a little while. If this isn’t enough to stop unwanted chatter, consider bringing a pair of headphones to help drown out the sound and give people a signal that you’re in the zone and need to focus.
Headphones are one of the best ways to block out every type of distracting noise in your work area. You might want to invest in noise-cancelling headphones, but for many people, a simple pair of earbuds does the job. These will allow you to listen to whatever sounds help you focus. Whether it’s instrumental music, white noise, nature sounds, classical music, or even podcasts. Slipping on a pair of headphones and tuning into your own sounds will help you tune out everyone else.
While avoiding auditory distractions, you’ll want to make sure that your environment isn’t too visually distracting either. Sometimes, people getting creative work done might be stimulated by an exciting environment, but a majority of people benefit from reducing distracting sights. Chaos in a workspace can easily pull your focus away from work that needs to get done. Choose a work area that doesn’t have a view of messes or a cluttered desk, try finding a cozy corner to really hone in on work, or if the outside isn’t too busy and distracting, slide up to a window and take in some sun while you work. The next step would be to avoid clutter on your own desk. Anything you’re not actively using is better kept out of your workspace.
Maximize Personal Productivity
Distractions in a shared workspace can easily be managed and many find that they’re actually more productive in this type of space. Working in a coworking environment, surrounded by others that are also working hard can provide some much-needed motivation and help keep people feeling accountable. With a dedicated space for work where you won’t be distracted by personal matters, it’s easier to stay focused. Here are a few extra measures you can use to further optimize your productivity.
Set Realistic Expectations
You can get a lot done in a shared workspace, but it’s important to remain realistic. Of course, the goal is usually getting more done, but you don’t have to stress about getting it all done in a limited amount of time. Sure, there are deadlines, but it’s important to remember that if you feel stressed or let a specific pattern dictate your work, it can actually make you less productive. If you don’t aim for too much in a day, and understand that you may not achieve perfection, you’ll likely end up checking more off the to-do list.
Plan and Prioritize
Include a plan with your to-do list. Plan how you will tackle your workload every day and stick to the plan. Planning may mean giving yourself deadlines and prioritizing tasks. Tackle your most important tasks first and if anything, only requires 2 minutes or less to get done, do it right away. When you take on a task, set a timer and determine how much of that time you spend on a single aspect of the task. You may also want to mute notifications so they don’t distract you. One of the most major aspects of making an effective to-do list is to account for the time each task takes. Without a time, associated, most people will gravitate towards accomplishing the easier, shorter tasks first which can lead to pushing back bigger, more intense tasks or ignoring them altogether. You don’t have to schedule every second and every breath, but by making yourself more aware of how you spend your time, it can help you be more focused and efficient with things you want to get done.
A good way to use the extra time you make by scheduling out your day is to take breaks. Our brains can only focus and work directly on something for so long, so taking a break when you’ve had enough can actually boost your overall productivity. Give your mind time to relax and refocus by stopping to enjoy lunch or find time in the day to give yourself physical and mental breaks where you can get up, move around, and regain your focus before diving into more work. It’s even a good time to get up and go for a walk or socialize with your coworking peers. Breaks are a critical part of the workday because you can avoid burnout, so be sure to step away from time to time so your brain can hit the refresh button.
Coworking provides highly productive spaces for members to get work done, along with a wealth of other opportunities like networking, mobile business, and social gatherings. With the right techniques, you can sharpen your productivity and get a ton of work done in your favorite coworking space.