Coworking spaces are one of the “in-things” now, with coworking facilities set to increase at an annual average growth rate of 30% up till 2018. Many have talked about the benefits and pitfalls of coworking, with most still agreeing that coworking is a great way to go if you are a freelancer or if you are starting a business.
While many love how open a coworking space is, it can sometimes be difficult to sit down and get cracking. Why? Because of the many chances to network with everyone there, the possible events that go on within the space, the different schedules everyone has and the hustle and bustle of working in an open space. So how can you be more productive when coworking?
#1: Set up a to-do list
Yes, we all know that a to-do list is very important. Be it daily or weekly, knowing exactly what you have to do is important. So why not use some tools out there to help you keep track? Cloud tools such as Asana or Evernote allow you to keep track of what you are doing, what you intend to do and when you have to complete such tasks, increasing your productivity by helping you list out what to do.
This way, when you sit down at your table in a coworking space every morning, all you have to do is refer to this list. Did you need to get back to someone via email? Did you forget to book a meeting room with a projector? That to-do list can help keep you on track and organised!
#2: Plan your time
Hot on the heels of setting up a to-do list is planning your time. Use Google Calendars, or another programme that helps to sync all your appointments and meetings into one. You can also use tools such as Calendly to allow others to book appointments with you at times that are suitable for you. Planning your time helps you be more productive as you can see how much remaining time you have left, and plan how to effectively use that to complete tasks on your to-do list.
#3: Go Pomodoro
A very interesting productivity technique today is the Pomodoro Technique. Each “pomodoro” represents 30 minutes of your time: 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes for a break. The main aim is to determine how many pomodoros you will need to complete each task that you set for yourself. During the 25 minutes of each pomodoro, you are advised to block out all distractions: your phone, websites you like to surf, social media, etc. It is 25 minutes of pure concentration, followed by 5 minutes of fun.
25 minutes is not very long, but it can help you truly focus on what you need to do and increase your productivity. Give it a shot, and you might be surprised how this can help you.
#4: Seating arrangement
Your seating arrangement in a coworking space may not sound like a big deal but it can be! Who are the people seated around you? Are they distracting you in any way? It can be something as simple as being distracted by someone who loves shaking their leg so their chair is always moving, or being disturbed by someone who is constantly tapping their pen on the table.
Another aspect that of your seating arrangement that can affect productivity is where exactly in the coworking space is your seat. Is it near the kitchen? Is it near the staircase/lift? Is it near the bathroom? Or is it your seat right in front of a meeting/conference room? Seats near such places usually experience more traffic as these are places that everyone needs to go to. Are you able to concentrate even if people are walking around you? If you are unable to, you might want to consider asking for a different seat to help increase your productivity.
#5: Get rid of distractions
Okay, so the fact of the fact is that you can never get rid of distractions entirely. But you can put yourself in a position to help you work better. If you find yourself often going to websites or social media, perhaps using a tool such as Self Control can help? Self Control basically blocks the websites that you list down for a set amount of time. Say if you are using the Pomodoro Technique, you can set Self Control to 25 minutes so you don’t get distracted. This way, you are “in the zone” and able to finish all your tasks.
Another way is to use headphones or earphones. If there is too much noise at the coworking space during events, or there is just too much hustle and bustle that day, plugging in your headphones/earphones can be of a great help to drown out the noise!
What do you do when you want to be more productive while coworking? Feel free to comment or share your own tips with us!