Productivity Tip: Work somewhere else today 01 Aug 2005

29 comments Latest by Ranjith

In a rut? Go to the office, but work somewhere else today. Don’t sit at your desk. Work in the kitchen, the conference room, the library, the hallway. Sit at someone else’s desk or swap desks (if someone lets you). Work somewhere else and you’ll see something new which will help you think something new. It’s simple and it works.

29 comments so far (Jump to latest)

pixelenator 01 Aug 05

It’s not the different monitor, or the different color of the wall, it psychological, different environment, different feeling different inspiration…. it’s healthy it keeps the feeling of the routine and boreness away.

Dan H 01 Aug 05

Great idea! I usually rely on my iPod to transport me to a better place, reduce distractions, distract me in other ways, etc. I should really get a laptop… hauling this 19” CRT around is going to be difficult.

More seriously, I was thinking about this kind of thing over the weekend. Especially because I now develop in a Microsoft Terminal Service Client environment and VPN works. There are nice coffee shops with free wi-fi, and I do have a laptop at home I could use… Reminds me of a post I read a long time ago about some tech firm that had no office. They just hijacked a table at a cafe… paying rent through coffee. I think it’s great. I’ll see what I can do.

Adam C 01 Aug 05

Excellent and simple idea. This reminds me of my old school work. When you feel stuck just walk away for a bit.

Jeff Koke 01 Aug 05

This is a superb idea. I think for many businesses offices are superfluous. I own a successful design firm, with a half-million in yearly revenues and we have no offices. We work from our houses, at coffee shops, at each other’s houses and at our client’s offices. Mixing up your workspace when you hit a creative block does wonders.

Dr_God 01 Aug 05

Will you come over and help me move my computer and monitor into the other room? :)

David 01 Aug 05

Of course, this assumes we all work on laptops… or feel like rewiring everything.

JF 01 Aug 05

Of course, this assumes we all work on laptop

Nope. Trying writing on paper for a day instead of typing on a keyboard.

Jeff Croft 01 Aug 05

Working at a University, I do this pretty regularly. Having a sit in the student union, or the library, or even outside on a pavilion is quite a nice change of pace and seems to keep me going when I’m in a rut…

David Mackay 01 Aug 05

This is something I need to do more. I’m working out of my study at home and, while it’s nice to be established here and have everything just where I need it, the occasional change of scene really does help.

The problem is that although this city is the national capital, wifi access is practically zero. So, if I’m working on anything requiring network access, I have to be at home or at someone else’s office/house.

Mike 01 Aug 05

No monitor on my desk? Is this a trick?

Normally the Apple Cinema doesn’t stay too steady when I’m in someone else’s office (Productivity Tip #1) and the display is balanced on my lap so I can keep my desk clear (Productivity Tip #2.)

Clients dig web interface deliverables on paper anyway :)

John Zeratsky 01 Aug 05

I think I’ll sit at one of our new, still-empty desks tomorrow.

Jake Tracey 01 Aug 05

Ah, it’s reading comments like the above that make me glad that I can work from home or from the office. I just wish there were more cafes around my area with wireless internet access, so I could have a little more freedom.

Luke 01 Aug 05

I love all the coffee shops around here with free wireless access. I can work for hours, until the hard chair starts to get to me… but I find I can do my best work out of the office, at least design and problem solving.

Ed 01 Aug 05

If you use a desktop, try swapping keyboards with another desktop user. You’ll find the different sound and feel a nice change of pace as well.

Dave Simon 01 Aug 05

Good idea.

I try to go to the kitchen or to a local coffee shop here and there to recharge the juices.

Stepping away, listening to music, playing a video game, sketching on paper, all good things.

Stay creative!

Art Wells 01 Aug 05

- Walk (or wheel) an hour each day. Don’t think about the health benefit or “fresh air”. Think of it as a time to dream or let rutted thinking tire itself out.

- If you can’t write it in a clear way with crayons on craft paper, it isn’t your idea.

- Use the I Ching, tarot, ouija, bibliomancy—any fortune telling system you don’t believe in and/or don’t understand. The confusion will poison ineffective thinking and will invite new ideas. ( is site I’ve created to this end )

Alex Bendig 01 Aug 05

I like the idea. Besides taking breaks to talk or play, going somewhere else to work could be really useful. I would strongly advise agains the kitchen or a hallway though. Just seems like it might be tough to actually get any quiet time that way. Free conference rooms can also tend to be hard to find… Parks or coffee shops would be cool though.

Spektic 02 Aug 05

Hot-desking, anyone?

Chris 02 Aug 05

Consider when you arrive for your first day at a new job and they’ve not prepared for your arrival. You then spend the first two weeks working from the desks of people who are on holiday, off sick or with clients. I never reasoned that it was a conscious decision to improve productivity!

louis 02 Aug 05

even thou i hate to admit it. on weekends when i am working from home and do not feel like i am not being productive i often go into the office. this change of environment helps me get focused and get er done

blake Haney 02 Aug 05

we do this almost everyday. coffee shops in new orleans. great to get the wheels turning.

MH 02 Aug 05

Where did the other “Productivity Tip” post go? The one about putting everything in your desk in a box? Has it been retracted?

Brian D 02 Aug 05

Sometimes it can have the opposite effect, and unfamiliar place can kill productivity because everything isn’t neccessarily where your brain thinks it should be.

Rafael Apocalypse 02 Aug 05

What a great idea, if I could certainly I would do that at my job. But the chiefs won’t let me do that.

Anyway I do at my homeoffice, everything will be in other place tomorrow, this night will be the change-night!

I hope that help me be even more creative!

bort 02 Aug 05

yup, i do this kind of thing all the time. i NEED to work in different surroundings sometimes to get my brain really going.

on the other hand, sometimes i waste a lot of time trying to figure out where to go, but that’s just me.

Ranjith 10 Aug 05

I do this at my team at office…

It is really a different inspiration on each change ..!