I love doing my work in coffee shops. It’s one of the very few things I miss about full-time unemployment (that and…um…nothing). GoThinkBig‘s Stevie Martin gives a comprehensive BUDGET guide to getting the hell out of the house to apply for jobs…
Applying for jobs while still in bed isn’t the best motivator – apart from the fact that you’re definitely going to fall asleep, it’s hard to write about how professional you are while wearing a onesie. Get yourself out and into a coffee shop – it’s not just for poshos with MacBooks.
a) Some form of laptop. We’ve heard there are types other than MacBooks. Any with a wifi connection will do you proud.
b) A bit of swagger
c) Clothes that are suitable for the outdoors ie. probably not your pyjamas
d) Headphones for blocking out screaming children, couples and coffee machines (they often make scream-y sounds)
1. There’s only so much you can procrastinate while sat on a table listening to Now 56 on loop surrounded by loads of people doing exactly the same thing.
2. The effect is similar to that of a library – but way less intimidating. Everyone around you is on their laptops, working. What are they DOING? God they’re so productive. Am I being as productive? Probably not. I’d better be productive then.
3. If you can spare the £1 (give or take 50p depending on what city/town/village you’re in), then a caffeine injection never made anyone less productive. Unless you’re allergic to caffeine. In which case, opt for a decaf (if you’re feeling swanky) or a herbal tea (if you’re feeling New Age-y) or even a tap water because hydration is very important.
4. Getting out of your house will focus your mind. You’re subconsciously (and probably consciously) telling yourself “I have left my house to do this task” rather than the millions of other reasons you could be sitting in your living room. Why else do you sit in your living room? To watch TV, lounge about and poke the dog with your foot. Why else do you go to a coffee shop alone armed with a laptop and a load of job applications? There is no other reason. You can’t help but focus on the task at hand.
If you’re a bit poor, opt for a tea (see above for alternatives) and nurse the crap out of that tea for as long as you need. None of this “oooh but that’s rude” business. The staff couldn’t give less of a hoot how long their customers stay there for and nobody is about to kick you out. You’re making the coffee shop look popular. They should be paying you to be there, tbh.
If you’re totally broke, hone in on a table that nobody has cleared yet. Sweep one of the mugs off said table and transfer it to your own table. While staff members might notice a huge tray of stuff to be cleared, they won’t remember that lone coffee cup – so it looks like you’ve already bought something and drank it. Double points if there’s still a bit of coffee in it, not for drinking purposes (please for the love of all things sacred don’t drink someone else’s leftover coffee) but for “Oh that guy’s halfway through his coffee he definitely bought it while working” purposes.
Don’t make eye contact with anyone. This isn’t for any other reason than it can get a bit awkward; I have a tendency to stare into the distance, which often means I look into other people’s eyes for ages and make them feel uncomfortable. One man asked me out on a date because he thought I was flirting with him. He was around sixty, really drunk and smoking a pipe indoors (I used to apply for jobs in a Wetherspoons. Wouldn’t recommend it).
Scout for deals. O2 have this sweet thing going on with a variety of companies that mean O2 customers get free wifi where there otherwise wouldn’t be any available (type in your postcode here to find your nearest freebie hotspot). They also have deals with Caffe Nero and you can get free tea and coffe in Debenhams cafes. where you get 20% off – great if you get starving and really need one of those overpriced paninis. With 20% off, they’re just… paninis. Mmm cheese. Anyway.
Be a nomad. Skipping from coffee shop to coffee shop throughout the day will break your focus – but try and liven things up on a day-to-day basis by chopping and changing your caffeinated office space. One day a Starbucks, the next a Costa, and so on. It’ll prevent you from getting that awful “Ugh here we go again” feeling every time you walk through the door.