Ever since I was old enough to realize there would never be a want ad in a newspaper that described a job I wanted, I've loved working in cafes. I never really thought much about it until a few days ago when a baffled friend of mine asked why I was so into it.
His assumption? That working in a cafe would be a distraction. A distraction? Dude, quite the opposite.
And so, at the risk of trotting out a few half-baked conclusions that my non-cafe-going critics will have a field day trashing, here goes:
20 Reasons Why You Like To Work In a Cafe
1. It doesn't feel like work.
2. It's a nice break from the office.
3. You don't have an office.
4. Easy access to caffeine.
5. If you have a home office, you appreciate the fact that, in a cafe, there are no interruptions from your wife/husband/kids/roommate who rarely think they are interrupting you when they stick their head in your office and begin their conversation with something like "I'm not interrupting you, am I?"
6. The act of going from your office to a cafe gets the creative juices flowing.
8. You get a whole bunch of unexpected inputs that change your perspective for the moment (i.e. snatches of conversation, songs on the radio, odd posters on the wall).
9. There are no distracting tasks to default to (i.e. cleaning your desk, filing, tossing paper clips over the cubicle wall).
10. The people in your office want you to talk in hushed tones and have a need for you to appear busier than you really are.
11. Being waited on by the cafe staff puts you in the mode of "things coming to you" without much effort.
12. You focus on your most creative projects.
13. It feels good being part of a community -- even if the community disbands after your second cappuccino.
14. Old patterns are interrupted. New patterns emerge.
15. You like the authenticity of your responses when the geek at the next table, peeking up from his Mac, asks what you're working on.
16. It's like having a focus group at your beck and call. You can ask anyone for their opinion and they'll give it, no strings attached.
17. If you work at home, it's just a matter of time before your spouse asks you to move a piece of furniture or clean the bathroom.
18. It brings out the artist and poet in you.
19. If you go back to the same cafe again and again, you develop trusting relationships with some of the other regulars -- sharing enthusiasm, feedback, and croissants.
20. If anything breaks, someone else has to fix it.
Mitch Ditkoff is the President of Idea Champions and author of the very popular Heart of Innovation blog. He got the idea for this innovation-sparking product while working in a cafe.