How To Stay Focused in a Coworking Space 

Struggling to focus in the coworking space? Here are some of the most common distractions and how to overcome them. 

Today’s professionals gravitate towards coworking spaces for a number of reasons. They are the perfect alternative for lonely home offices, crowded coffee shops, and costly conventional offices alike. More than just a place to work, these collaborative spaces cultivate a sense of community where people can not only grow their businesses but also form connections with like-minded individuals.  

Social interactions and networking, in turn, will expose you to new ways of thinking, which may be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing and boost your productivity. But while conversations with different people may inspire many, some cite it as a common distraction in coworking environments. At the end of the day, the main purpose of any coworking space is to provide a place to focus and get work done, so when crunch time hits, it’s important to find ways to minimize whatever it is that derails you. 

One of the first things you can do to reduce distractions and keep your focus is to see what it is exactly that affects your workflow. Just like with anything else in life, once you know the root of the problem, you can more easily find ways to solve it. So, next time you work from a coworking space, make it your mission to observe what disrupts your focus, then use the tips and tricks below to get your head back in the game

  1. Keep your workspace tidy 

At first glance, this may not seem the most relevant, but having a clean and organized desk can work wonders for your productivity. Perhaps it happened to you, too, that you were writing up a report when you noticed that you forgot to wash your coffee mug earlier or have loose papers lying around the desk. These may tempt you to stand right up and attend to every small chore, resulting in a sudden break in your otherwise smooth workflow. Thankfully, you can easily prevent these minor disruptions by decluttering your workspace as soon as you arrive at the office. 

  1. Create a to-do list and prioritize your tasks 

Now that your desk is clean and organized, it’s time for your schedule to follow suit. Creating a clear schedule can reduce stress and give you a sense of control over your workday. You will have an overview of what you need to do hourly. Not to mention that once you schedule your tasks in your calendar, you won’t feel the need to hop from one task to another. Multitasking can give us the illusion that we’re getting more done in less time, when in reality, we’re probably just overwhelming ourselves and superficially jumping between the items on our to-do list without actually crossing either of them off.  

Another thing to keep in mind when creating your to-do list is prioritizing the more important or time-sensitive projects. Here, you can also break down bigger projects into smaller, more doable tasks. This way, every time you finish working on something small, you can move on to the next with a sense of achievement, having it on paper that you’re making progress.  

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  1. Capitalize on your most productive hours 

You probably already have a clear idea about when it is that you’re usually your most productive self. Morning people get the lion’s share of their work done before lunch, others focus much better later in the afternoon. Whatever your workstyle, make sure to adapt your schedule to it and prioritize tasks accordingly. It’d be a shame to spend your most creative hours reading and answering emails.  

Having said that, you can also take additional steps to make the most of these productive hours. If you know that you’re easily distracted by your surroundings, be that noise or just regular movement around you, you could consider wearing noise-canceling headphones or retreating to a more private corner of the shared office. They are usually designed in a way that benefits everyone, so you’ll find it easy to switch between the livelier communal areas and the more withdrawn, quiet nooks. 

  1. Use the assets of the coworking space to your advantage 

Once you know when it is that you usually reach peak performance, you can choose any of the quiet areas your coworking space provides to spend these hours without interruptions. Typically, you’ll find phone booths in every WeWork location, but you can also book meeting rooms for a few hours or work from a private office when an important deadline is approaching. Some even say that the stability that dedicated desks offer helps them focus better.   

  1. Turn off notifications 

It goes without saying that many of the disruptions to our workflow come from our phone or email notifications. This means that silencing our phones or deciding not to check our inbox every time a notification pops up can significantly benefit how we work. It won’t come naturally, since it may already be a reflex to frequently scroll through the latest news or we may feel the urge to reply on the spot whenever a new email arrives but staying off these apps and only attending to emails twice a day, for instance, could make a great difference.  

  1. Take regular breaks 

Staying focused does not have to mean getting your brain completely drained. Scheduling breaks is just as important as scheduling work-related tasks, so make sure to step away from the desk at regular intervals, stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and socialize with your coworkers to give both your body and mind some time to recover. Coworking spaces usually include inviting breakout areas, game rooms, outdoor terraces, or other unique amenities that help you make the most of your breaks. Some WeWork locations even provide karaoke rooms, rock climbing walls, hammocks, and table tennis, among other exciting additions.  

One of the best ways to deal with distractions is to accept that they will occur every now and then, no matter where you work. What’s important is to keep an eye out for the most common things that interfere with your focus and try to minimize them. Those who work from home may experience interruptions from family members or roommates while coffee shops or other public places could get even more distracting. Luckily, coworking spaces were designed to offer alternatives for the noisier communal areas, so busy professionals can easily make the most of the crunch time. Whenever you need a quiet place to work, seek out a phone booth, retreat to a meeting room, or reserve a private office, then make sure to block your notifications and take breaks often to do your best work without reaching burnout.  

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