Ah, procrastination. We’re all guilty of it at one time or another. Trying to stay focused in 2018 often feels like drinking from a firehose. Constant notifications on your phone, the stressful news, and the black hole that is the Instagram Discovery page make it harder than ever to put your nose to the grindstone and work effectively.
With all those distractions living right in our hands, most independent professionals need a working environment that doesn’t add to the chaos. Home, with its endless laundry, dishes, Netflix, and pets (not to mention kids) does not provide that calm, productive space for many entrepreneurs.
Coffee shops are no better. You’ll have to find a table not covered in muffin crumbs and fight for an outlet before even getting started on your work. You’ll then have to listen to customers loudly complaining that their flat white is taking too long. Each double-shot grande adds up, and before you know it you’re over budget and too jacked up on caffeine to concentrate.
There’s a better choice out there for independent professionals, remote workers, and entrepreneurs: coworking spaces.
You probably know the basics of coworking spaces by now. At their broadest level, they’re shared office spaces for rent.
However, most coworking spaces go above and beyond the traditional office rental to provide community, support, and necessary resources for professionals of all levels.
The shared layout gives businesses the opportunity to network and grow their professional connections, all while taking care of the mundane details of running an office space. By offering various levels of membership, like hot desk, dedicated desk, and private offices, coworking spaces offer the flexibility and nuance that modern businesses need.
Dedicated desk and private office coworking is fairly straightforward to most people, but hot desk coworking is a little more unusual.
Hot desk coworking means you come into your coworking space each day and choose an open spot to work. You don’t have a pre-assigned desk, and instead can stake your claim wherever suits your fancy: a table, couch, window nook, etc.
Hot desk coworking is the ultimate flexibility: it’s usually the lowest price point offered by a shared office space, and is generally a month-to-month commitment. The novelty of not having a set space to work in- no desk to cram full of papers or office wall to plaster with sticky notes à la Carrie in Homeland- leaves some professionals weary. Will their productivity fall to pieces within a less structured system?
The short answer: no. The long answer, in the form of 3 productivity hacks for hot desk coworking, is below!
Lighten your load
Declutter your work materials. As a hot desk coworker, you don’t have a desk to store multiple binders, every notebook you scribble in, or stacks of manila folders. Unless you want to haul all of this with you every day, simplifying your work materials is the way to go.
Get into the habit of scanning, digitally storing, and shredding any paper documents or bills that you don’t absolutely need a hard copy of (Goodbye, 6 page Verizon bill!). That will instantly simplify your system and clear out the “junk drawer,” so to speak.
Taking notes is an irreplaceable habit for many professionals. To quote entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, “I trust the weakest pen more than the strongest memory.”
We’d never suggest depriving someone of the power of the pen. If you’re open to it, though, there are some excellent apps for storing your calendar and jotting down notes, like Google Calendar and Evernote. Evernote is particularly useful, as you can store pictures and files into notes and utilize a search function.
As Ferriss notes in the above link, some people (himself included) just prefer writing things down in physical notebooks. If this is you, just dedicate one notebook and one agenda to your work bag, and keep your archives at home! A light bag will be way easier on your back and shoulders.
If you have some unavoidable work materials that you’d prefer not to lug around, ask your community manager about lockers or cubbies. Even if a shared office space doesn’t have an official locker system, most community managers will work with you to find a good solution.
Stake out your spot
In order to choose a great place to work in each day, get to know your own working style. If you’re very easily distracted by other people, maybe the communal table isn’t for you. If you know you have multiple sensitive phone calls planned, snag a seat with easy access to the phone booths.
The great thing about hot desk coworking is the ability to switch it up depending on your mood or the workload for the day. Outlets tend to be abundant at shared office spaces, but if you charge your laptop overnight you’ll truly be free to sit wherever you please, without the hassle of plugging in (and wrangling that 12-foot charger out of your bag, taking every pen, paper and chapstick up with it…truly a first world problem).
And the final tip: headphones!
They don’t need to be the pricey noise-cancelling ones, either, although those are certainly nice. Just a solid set that sits comfortably on or in your ears will do just fine. You should expect a fair amount of ambient noise in a coworking space, and headphones will be helpful to you if you take a lot of phone calls or prefer your own music to that of the office. If you’ve got a big task to focus on, try listening to orchestral or non-lyric music- we recommend Explosions in the Sky and Vitamin String Quartet!
Hopefully these 3 tips will help you master the art of productive hot desk coworking. Be sure to click the link below to schedule a tour of The Launch Factory and hear more about membership in our awesome coworking community!