So, I’ve been working from a home office for about four years now.
I love our little house, but sometimes…I don’t.
Working in the same place day in and day out where I also spend my non-working hours can get a bit monotonous.
That’s why I try to get out of the house and take my laptop somewhere else sometimes.
It seems like a pretty common sense thing to do, but it’s harder than you’d think.
See, I am quite comfortable with my little office setup. I’ve got my giant monitor where I can split screens and see everything I need at once. It’s really quiet there because I can control the volume of all the things.
Plus—no interruptions. It’s work-conducive by design.
External locations, however, can’t always be controlled.
There might be little kids having a tantrum over chocolate milk at the coffee shop. Maybe there’s someone reading aloud to himself at the library and it’s DRIVING YOU NUTS. Or there’s not enough plugins at your favorite restaurant—or they aren’t open during your ideal working hours.
There are lots of reasons NOT to ever leave your house to do work, but I’ve been doing it more lately, and I’ve gotta say—it’s a good thing.
Here are some ideas you for where to go when you’re tired of working from home. These are some of my faves:
Another freelancer’s house
If you’re lucky enough to have a freelancer friend live nearby, see if you can invite yourself over. You can both sit in silence and work on your laptops and enjoy the company—even if you’re not always chatting. My pal Emma and I live far away from each other, so we rented an Airbnb in Austin, TX last year for a few days of co-working. It was lovely.
If you have a front porch, a back deck, or even just a chair with an umbrella and a small table, you can make an outdoor workspace for yourself. I’ve been spending a few afternoons working from our front porch on my laptop (when the mosquitos aren’t too bad) and added a box fan to the mix so I don’t get too hot. No travel required, and you still get a new set of scenery (plus nature sounds!)
The local library
Our local library is one of those late 1800s Carnegie stone structures. It’s cool and quiet and has lots of tables. The only drawback here is sometimes there’s a loud talker or the comfy chairs are taken. Otherwise, you can really knock out some work in this space. If you haven’t visited your library in a while, it’s worth checking out as a potential work environment. You don’t even have to be a cardholder!
A coffee joint
This is the one I do most often. There’s a super cozy coffee shop in a nearby town that has excellent coffee and lots of gluten-free things I can eat, and so some mornings I take my laptop there and hop on the free Wi-Fi to eat breakfast and work. I always leave when it gets busy or noisy, but it’s usually pretty low-key.
Pro-tip: Choose a coffee shop with good Wi-Fi. Sometimes if the place is too busy their connection is reeeeeeally slow.
Local B&B’s (Ask for a day rate!)
This is my go-to winter “I’ve gotta get out of the house!” solution. I look for B&B’s within a 60-mile radius (so I don’t have to travel very far) and reach out to see if they offer a discounted day rate. As in, I’m not staying overnight—I just want to come work from your cool place. Every time I’ve asked, the owner has said yes—and the rate has been crazy cheap (usually one third of the overnight rate). You get to work from a new place, and you can go back home when the workday ends and sleep in your own bed. Win-win!
A Workcation Spot
Maybe you need to take a little workcation and to actually travel somewhere new. I just wrote a piece for Inc. Magazine with six awesome spots you can workcation this summer if you need some ideas on where to go.
If you live in a bigger city than I do, you probably have lots of other cool options to consider, too—co-working spaces, parks, etc. These are just a few of my favorites that are fairly universal.
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