January 2014 by Julian Rothkamp

Leave Your Office to Find Focus

This post is not about remote work in general - although this is a very interesting and current debate. If you’d like to read more on that, I recommend "Remote", the latest book by 37signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This post is rather about changing your surroundings for certain tasks to enable you to solely focus on this one task.

As an example I like to work while traveling, especially on trains. I’m even sitting on a train while writing this post. They started to put WiFi in more and more trains, but I prefer to have none. These hours being offline help me to really focus on a task. No distractions from incoming emails, social media and often even phone calls (coverage can be quite bad along the tracks).

What trains are for me can be coffee shops or a park bench for others. Certain tasks need certain surroundings. You will need to try different settings. Don't be afraid to experiment. Throw popular conventions overboard. Some locations will work great, others won’t. It’s crucial that you can focus. That’s why sometimes even your favorite place for work can be distracting (such as a crowded and noisy train compartment).

The most important learning is to not feel guilty about not being in the office. Because you’re working nevertheless and most likely get more work done. In the end this is the only thing that should matter: being focused, productive and getting work done.

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