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Study Shows Why You Work Better in a Coffee Shop

For some folks, a quiet environment is absolutely necessary in order to get anything done. But for most people, a new study confirms what we already know: a little bit of background noise helps with creativity.

While this finding is not groundbreaking, another insight explains one of the bigger mysteries: Why the background noise is more distracting in your office compared to a cafe, or other public place. And no, the answer does not have anything to do with the highly caffeinated coffee dust suspended in the air.

Background Noise You Can't Ignore

You may actually like the people you work with, but when it comes time to get creative or productive in the office, if you can hear coworkers talking, you just can't keep focused. It's not that their voices sound like the Sirens that wooed Odysseus's crew, it's just that you can't help but be interested when you know the people talking. Your ears hear familiar voices, maybe talking about familiar people, or projects. It's basically the same reason why you can hear someone call your name from a noisy crowd, your ears train themselves to hear familiar things.

In a café, or other public setting, it is easier to disconnect from the background noise because the conversations going on around you don't involve people you know, or the company you work for. Yes, it's that simple.

Café Lawyer

With the ease of access to coffee, and escaping the sounds of your coworkers, or office-suite mates, working at café can be particularly appealing to some lawyers. If you're going to go lawyering in the local café, there are a few things you should probably remember:

  1. The publicly available Wi-Fi is not that safe. So surf with caution.
  2. People can overhear your phone calls so save the confidential chit chat for another time and place.

Also, because the background noise of a café is particularly well suited to creative work, reading cases, law reviews, and other materials is excellent café work. Also, once you've gathered your research, outlining and drafting pleadings is another good use of the optimal creative environment.

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