The pros and cons of going to a coffee shop to work, productive or preoccupied?

When it comes to drinking a hot latte and getting homework done, I am one of the biggest coffeeshop fans out there. I believe it is a fair statement to say I have been to every single coffeeshop in the city of Boulder, Colorado.

People leafing through the paper, working on their laptops, and reading the latest bestseller novel accompanied by the soft clink of coffee mugs and the whir of the cappuccino machine usually creates the ideal creative atmosphere. I leave the coffee shop crossing off my to-do list and feeling lightness in my step that accompanies the end of a solid productive session.

But, sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. Sometimes I leave the coffee shop wondering how I could have even more work to do than when I arrived and how did I spend so much money?

This got me thinking, what makes a trip to the coffee shop a nice, relaxing and efficient experience and what makes it a waste of time?


  1. This music is so loud I cannot hear myself think.
  2. I just spent $20 on a coffee and muffin, I could’ve made that at home for $5!
  3. It is easy to zone out and do some people watching… If I was reading that book I don’t think I would be reading it in public… I didn’t realize there was a road biking dress code at this coffee shop….
  4. The productive procrastination paradox…. This can happen anywhere but I find it happens in coffee shops when the atmosphere is too noisy or the shop is too busy. This entails checking my email for the third time that hour, making a grocery list, reading up on the news… all productive things to do, though not the reason I came to a coffee shop.
  5. The person on their cell phone. Surely everyone knows how annoying it is to listen to other people’s phone conversations!
  6. Where are the outlets in this place?! My computer is about to die and there is not a vacant outlet to be found.
  7. I don’t really feel like ordering another drink but since I’ve been sitting here for hours I probably should.
  8. That one person taking up the biggest table.
  9. Parking can be tricky, especially if it is metered, getting up to feed the meter disrupts my creative flow!
  10. It is socially unacceptable for me to lie down and take a nap.


  1. Coffee, it’s a coffee shop after all.
  2. A different location than the desk at home or work can reinvigorate creativity.
  3. Other people reading and working is inspiring, if they are sitting here getting work done, so can I.
  4. Snacks, if its going to be a long session, what better work/study fuel than a yummy muffin or croissant?
  5. The background noise of grinding beans and foaming milk provided by the baristas drowns out most conversations.
  6. Open early. Coffee shops are open at the crack of dawn so all the coffee fanatics may start their day with a nice cuppa joe.
  7. Its neither home nor work allowing for a space free from the typical distractions of both locations.
  8. Climate controlled, the perfect temperature for all seasons as opposed to my house that can reach soaring temps in the summer and bone chilling temps in the winter.
  9. Supremely fast wifi.
  10. It is socially unacceptable for me to lie down and take a nap.

Cheers to coffee and the weekend!

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