Why a Café is So Much Better than Your Office (& it’s not just because of the coffee)
Everybody knows that Dubai cafés are a great place to hang out with friends, meet up for a coffee, have a great big bowl of crunchy salad or a yummy slice of cake. But I bet you didn’t know that cafes are one of the best places to get work done especially in Dubai where everyone always seems to be on the go. You may have seen that lone guy or gal hunched over their laptop in the corner without wondering too much about what they are up to. If they are working and not just surfing the net then they are on to one of the most interesting developments in modern working practices.
It might sound counter-intuitive but sometimes you can do your best work outside of the office or away from home.. Changing the place where you usually work can help you re-focus on what is important without interruptions from colleagues, the boss or family members. Plus when you have someone to bring you a big steaming cup of coffee or a cool drink or snack when you want them, you are less likely to get up from your seat, lose your train of thought and get sidetracked doing something else.
Research has indicated that if you want to concentrate on creative problem solving or abstract thinking getting away from the day to day environment of your cubicle or office can give you a needed creative boost. A University of British Columbia study carried out in 2012 even established that a low level of white noise like that commonly found in a coffee shop can actually help you focus better than complete silence. Some developers have even created apps to mimic the low level ambient noise of coffee shops as an aid to concentration.
But if you want to work in a café you need to be prepared. Decide what you need to get done before you get there. Set yourself a timetable and stick to it. The worst concentration killers are distraction and interruption. Turn your phone ringer on silent and let people know that you will be offline for a few hours. Use the Pomodoro technique, a time management and productivity method developed in the late 1980s. Basically, it’s been shown that people work more efficiently on creative tasks when they breakdown work into short intervals, say 25 minutes (called Pomodoros), divided by short breaks. This also increases the efficiency of studying or revision. Needless to say, the Pomodoro technique seems made for the coffee shop milieu.
11 Things You Can Do in Dubai Cafés (and it’s still not the Coffee)
Here are the 11 top productive things you can do in Dubai cafés or cafes in any part of the world for that matter. Although most of these are things you need to get done on your own, don’t forget that the café can also be a good venue for one on one meetings or small group brainstorming sessions. It can be a great environment to take work issues outside the narrow confines of the office, to create a new outlook, to defuse tension and to boost creativity1. Writing:
Updating your blog, finishing your progress report, creating great copy2. Organizing your life:
Catching up on your emails and clearing out the inbox; reviewing your schedule and prioritizing your work week tasks3. Job searching
, sending out your resume and/or portfolio or contacting sales leads4. Researching
your project on the internet5. Designing
a proposal or revising a budget6. Reading7. Studying
or revising for an exam8. Interviewing a job candidate or meeting up with a prospective client
. The relaxed atmosphere can help the conversation go more smoothly and allow you to probe in a relaxed but professional manner9.
Carrying on a one on one session with a team member or manager
to thrash out pending issues safe from the possibility of interruption and in a stress-free setting10. Holding a study group with some friends
- working through practice exams or summarizing study points11.
Having a creative brainstorming session
Location, Location, Location (but the menu is pretty important too)
The most important thing about being productive is choosing the right location. Pick a spot near to your office or home, to cut down on commute time. The Circle Café
is one of the most-loved Dubai cafes and has convenient locations throughout Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There’s bound to be one right near you. Enjoy delicious healthy food, with non-intrusive but attentive staff. The menu boasts the best bagels and salads in Dubai along with great vegan options. The calm colors and décor will maximize your ability to concentrate.
If you do decide to try out our suggestions be sure to come prepared. Bring along your laptop, charger and a spare plug. Paper, pens and pencils are also a must. Don’t forget glasses if you wear them. Noise cancelling headphones or ear buds if you plan to be there during the lunchtime rush. Have a plan about what you need to get done and stick to it. Set yourself a flexible timetable of concentration time with frequent short breaks.
Last but not least, don’t forget that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Everybody knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but most of us are just in too much of a rush to pay attention. We grab anything on hand and we’re out the door munching as we walk, or we wait until we get to the office and order some junk food for an early lunch. The Circle Café opens at 8:00am so you can make an order online
the night before and have it delivered to your office or drop by and pick it up yourself, that way you can be sure to have a healthy and nutritious breakfast. They even have a Shakshuka bagel, which is exactly the kind of fusion cuisine I can get excited about. If you are rushed between meetings, drop by for a quick energizing lunch with the right and delicious mix of carbs and protein to give you a brain boost. Good luck working!