Ditch Distractions at Home with These Work-Friendly Spots

Dorothy was right – there truly is no place like home. Working at home is one of the best perks of being a work at home mom or freelancer. That doesn’t mean it’s the perfect environment for every woman, every day.

Even if you thrive on working in your own comfortable surroundings, taking breaks to do laundry, read the newspaper, or run some errands, you may feel a little too isolated every once in a while.

Conversely, the many options you have other than work while you’re at home can be extremely distracting, especially if you’re working under a tight deadline or on a project that requires supreme concentration. This happens to me occasionally if I’m working on something that doesn’t really excite me, even though it’s good for my business. It’s way too easy to procrastinate at home.

While I can’t click my ruby red slippers together and wish myself somewhere else, I do keep a few spots in mind when I get the urge to leave the homestead.

Caffeinate with WiFi

When you feel like working in a livelier environment, visit a nearby coffee shop or restaurant that you know offers wireless Internet. Chains like Panera Bread(St. Louis Bread Co. to those of you who live in the restaurant’s birthplace) Starbucks and local bookstores like Barnes and Noble never disappoint and usually have reliable, easy-to-access Internet. You can call ahead to any local coffee shop and determine their WiFi status in advance. If you arrive and can’t log on to the network, ask an employee – I was at a coffee shop just the other day when a friendly employee handed me a small card with the network password on it as soon as he saw me pulling out my laptop.

Working in a public space like Panera is a nice break from the routine of being at home and makes you feel a little more connected to the rest of the human race. The bustle and chatter create perfect white noise that actually can help you focus on the work at hand.

Take Advantage of Your Tax Dollars at the Library

The public library was built for a quiet environment, puts tons of resources at your disposal, and is full (or not so full, at times) of people who are working or studying independently and therefore are respectful of others doing the same.

As long as you avoid the children’s’ areas, the library is a great spot for those who prefer the quiet hum of a printer to lunch time chit-chat or the luxury of a big, sturdy table to a small surface crowded between other groups.

If you aren’t a member of your local library, what are you waiting for? You help fund its operation, and there is a certain delight in finding your spot, settling in, and diving into your work. If you are doing anything involving research, librarians are often thrilled to help you find something when you’re not sure where else to look.

Enjoy Open Campus

If you live near a college or university, scope out some of the main buildings on campus for common areas. A nice large atrium, a spacious lobby with comfortable furniture – look for a spot that suits you the best.

This set-up can be the best of both worlds – a studious environment that is still likely to be ripe with conversation and activity. Any academic setting is likely to have wireless Internet, and these spaces are public enough that you won’t feel out of place unless you go in wearing a costume or dressed to the nines.

College is the perfect place to wear your sweatpants to work!

Simulate the Office – Other  Work-spaces

Find a workspace by requesting an invite to LooseCubes.com, an online community that connects you to available work spaces including photos, street maps, detailed descriptions, and other details. This is a great service to use when you’re traveling and need some space to work as well.   Here is a great list of co-working spaces, by city. Also, there are great suggestions in the comments section.

Wherever you decide to work, remember to survey what you’re taking with you before you leave the house – there is nothing worse than settling in to a comfortable location and realizing you aren’t prepared to do what you had planned!

What did I miss?  Where do you work when you want to get out of the house?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.