by Niall Doherty

Is there something you do every day — something most people don’t do — that helps you be at your best?I collected their answers in a well-received post called The daily habits of highly effective people. Last week, I was reminded of one answer in particular. Here it is, from Ev Bogue:

Movement. I have to either walk, bike or take the train somewhere. This gets the ideas flowing.

I’ve been working primarily from home these past two months. This is great because there’s wireless Internet, a stocked fridge, and nobody telling me to wear pants. But staying cooped up in my bedroom staring at a computer screen also has its downsides.

Routine vs. growth

Routine can sometimes be a good thing. I know I begin to crave it when my schedule gets real erratic for a spell. I’ll want to get back to doing yoga and meditation every morning, then an hour of writing, then breakfast, then a couple more hours of work, then lunch, and so on. This works well for me for a while. I get into a rhythm and get lots of good work done. But it never lasts.Too much routine leads to stagnation. If you do the same thing in the same place every day, your mind lacks stimulation and you cease to grow.This is why I believe office jobs are usually so depressing. You get up at the same time every day, commute the same route to work, sit in the same space for eight hours, surrounded by the same people and the same walls, doing the same work you did yesterday. More same, less growth.

Move to create

I hit that stagnation point last week. I believe part of it was just that I’d been working long and hard for the previous few weeks, so a lull was inevitable, but I’m sure excessive routine had a lot to do with it, too.So for the past few days I’ve been moving more. I head down to the Webworkhouse every now and then, grab myself some tea and plug in for a couple of hours. Yesterday I took a trip out to CIT and plugged in there for the evening. I’m seeing different faces in different places, and it keeps me alert, keeps the creative juices flowing.On a larger scale, I believe this helps explain why living in foreign countries can be so rewarding. Switching up your environment like that results in all kinds of new experiences, new lessons, new inspiration. Your frame of reference expands, you become that bit smarter.Obviously you don’t want to overdo it. There’s no need to find a new and stimulating workplace every single day, just like it would be overwhelming to visit a new country every single week. All you really need are a few different spots that you can move between, and seek to add in a fresh one every now and then.

Working from coffee shops

The trouble with working online in Ireland is that coffee shops here haven’t really caught on to the whole free wifi dealio. One thing I miss about the US is that you can go into pretty much any coffee shop, buy something small, jump online, and get to work for a few hours. But in Ireland, not so much.Some coffee shops here do offer wifi, but they give you those 30-minute access cards so you can’t get any real work done. The message I get from this approach: “Buy your coffee, drink it, and get out.”I had a favorite coffee shop in New Orleans called Z’otz. The latest version of was built mostly from their place on Oak Street. I’d head over several times a week, buy an iced tea, sit down in a quiet corner and plug in for a two-hour session. They didn’t mind how long you stayed. I often saw couples sitting on the couches watching movies on their laptops. It was more of a hang out spot than a coffee shop. And that was cool by the management. They understood that they needed to be part of the community. They couldn’t just hand out shitty little 30-minute access cards and expect people to form a positive emotional connection to the place.

Free business idea

I believe a good way to make money is to solve your own problems, then package and sell the solutions. My problem is that I want to work from coffee shops in Ireland but many of them don’t offer wifi. A solution would be to approach some coffee shops and offer to set up wifi for them for a small fee. Assuming most coffee shops already have an internet connection somewhere in the building, this would be a breeze. Anyone who has ever set up a home network could do it.You’d supply the router and create a simple PDF manual showing how to reset the equipment, change the wireless password, etc.You’d then have free wifi in your favorite coffee shop, and your favorite coffee shop would have a new selling point.I’ve mentioned this idea to a few people and some of them figure that Ireland isn’t ready for a bunch of people tapping away on laptops in coffee shops. But I think the change is inevitable. Every coffee shop will offer wifi eventually.Anyway, I’m throwing this idea out there because I’ve realized I won’t have time to make a proper go of it. I have other projects I want to focus on, and I’m only going to be in Ireland for another nine weeks.So this idea is all yours if you want it. If you take it on, be sure to target the more chill coffee shops where they don’t mind people hanging out for a while. Any place with a couch or soft chairs is usually a good bet. B&B’s would also be a smart target. I know I’m a lot more likely to book in at a place that offers free wifi.

Where do you go when you really need to get some work done?

That’s a question Jason Fried has been asking for the last ten years or so, and he’s found that more work gets done in the absence of meetings and managers. To piggyback on his argument, I believe people also work better away from the office simply because of the change of scenery. Shake things up and inspiration starts flowing.How about you? Are you a creature of habit, or must you move to create?


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