Coworking spaces are, in theory, an excellent alternative and middle ground between bustling coffee shops and dreary traditional offices. That said, many of us struggle to put theory into practice. We get dressed and make our way to the coworking space, but end up being far less productive than anticipated. You’re not alone. Here are 5 things successful coworking members do to make sure they get work done.

Apps to track project progress
Use Apps to Track Progress

The productivity landscape has completely changed as of 2019, and so too should the way you approach your work. Using technology to your advantage is one of the most strategic ways you can stay productive in a coworking space.

Start off with a good time tracking software that will keep a record of how you spend your time, productively or otherwise. While apps like Due Time Tracking, Harvest, and Top Tracker are made especially for freelancers to create transparency in the billing process, you can also just use them for yourself to make sure you stay on task. Don't forget to check other apps for digital nomads that will make your life way easier. 

If you’re writing consistently, Grammarly can make editing more streamlined, and you can even consider other apps that sync your emails to your calendars, that automatically generate to-do lists or others that seamlessly backup your important documents in the cloud.

Take Regular (and Irregular) Breaks

According to a recent scientific study, the optimal way to stay productive is to work for 52 minutes and then break for 17 minutes. Now, this isn’t going to be the optimal formula for everyone, but it goes to show how important consistent breaks are.

We’ve also noticed that many coworkers like to avoid monotony by deviating from a schedule every so often. Sure, there’s something to be said for routine, but we all ditched the 9-5 for a reason, right? Consider working hard in the morning, taking a little early afternoon siesta, and working hard again in the evening.

Wear headphones
Mind Your Ears

From our experience, there’s a good chunk of freelancers who have yet to really find their groove when it comes to managing sound. Am I more productive around the commotion of a coffee shop, or does the clanking actually really affect me? Do I like working with music, or do I end up bobbing my head and getting distracted?

The most productive members at coworking spaces have a pulse on what works for them. In general, we recommend at least wearing headphones as a signal to yourself and others that you’re in work mode. They don’t even necessarily need to be playing any music -- it’s kind of a Pavlov’s dog situation. When the earbuds are in, it’s time to work.

Arrive Early

You’ve likely heard the old adage that starting your day with something productive (albeit something menial like making your bed) leads to a day of increased productivity. According to a recent survey of nearly 60,000 people, those who make their beds in the morning are happier and more productive. Apparently folding sheets and fluffing pillows give a subtle feeling of accomplishment and on-to-the-next-one mentality.

We’re not saying you should start off your mornings by thoroughly decluttering the common area in your coworking space, but you should arrive early. Coworking spaces tend to reach peak commotion around mid-morning, so if you can beat that initial rush, you’re bound to get a good chunk of work done and feel good about crushing the rest of your day.

Find a comfortable place

Find the Right Spot for You

Location, location, location. Digital nomads are like real estate agents when it comes to staking out a spot in the coworking space. If you need to knuckle down and get productive, snag a spot that is away from the commotion, the kitchen, or the hallways with a lot of foot traffic. On the other hand, if your day is to be filled with phone calls and active communication, grab a spot in the common area.

The key here, again, is to avoid monotony. Keep things fresh by changing up your spot on a daily or weekly basis. The benefits of productivity will be apparent, but so will your overall experience of networking and engaging with other people in the office.

Written by: Dillon DuBois