I love the visual white-noise of a coffeeshop to make me feel like I'm in an office of people going about their business. Notice I said "visual." I do not like to be bothered while working, and the truth is if you frequent a particular spot you will start to have your privacy encroached upon, even though with the most friendly of intentions. Two very important things help keep the peace. The first is a great pair of isolating earbuds or headphones. I do mean full isolation, leaking no sound at all. the cacophony of coffee machinery will invade the most seemingly high-end headphones, so don't skimp. I mean treat yourself to a decadent sound treat, even if you have to be frugal in another area to afford them. Make them a bit audacious too, so that you can be very obvious about not listening to anything or anyone outside of your "cans." People can be unintentionally rude about invading space so I like to make it obvious that "I won't be talking to you right now. Thanks." You'll thank me later, as you will undoubtedly spend time in shared spaces from coworking to coffee houses, and the doors & walls of your makeshift office are no more than your left & right ears.
Hang a Shingle:
Speaking of invaded space in the larger shared-areas, I do something a little silly that started as a joke and ended up being an incredible space-reserving, marketing tool. Feeling a bit mischievous—and frankly being the smart-asses we are—a good friend and I met up for a day of working and collaboration. We had saved a spot, got the good table, ordered drinks and started daydreaming about the day we got some office space, but lamented about never finding something small because all offices want larger tenants. So both of us, having stickers with our logos on them, folded a piece of paper into a table-tent, placed our stickers on each side and let people snarkily know we were there to do business. Initially a source of much hilarity, I now carry a nameplate with my logo on it and I place it out when I "go mobile" for a work day. Strange as it may seem it provides a barrier of professionalism, even if seen as wierd of silly because it's one thing that sets you apart from the rest of the partrons in most coffeeshops. You're now obviously not a student, so what exactly are you up to over there? It gets tons of looks, but most surprisingly I've gotten work from it when an inquisitive person asks, "What exactly is RDQLUS CREATIVE?" Well, I'm glad you asked… Let me tell you about me.
Don't Shed Your Winter Coat:
Not just yet, at least. When you are in a shared space and the heat goes up outside, it's inevitable that the temps plummet indoors. It's a nice relief for a few hot minutes (pun intended), but anything longer than 20 minutes and you'll find yourself regretting the freelancer's uniform of shorts & a tee. I keep a very stylish cardigan—from my own accessories line, no less—at the ready at all times.I won't get caught outside… inside.
Put it in Drive:
Being physically in motion always increases the chance that something may happen to your work machine. I make sure to work from an external hard-drive at all times for my crucial project & working files and all things non-essential to the base workings of my MacBook Pro. There are a million actual things your computer is impressively killing while you work away. It may have no major benefits but why make it search for your files while doing its background business? One thing I do know is that if your computer is down for the count, your files aren't and if you're backing up regularly it's like having two backups to your files. I've worked with a 500+ gig external hard-drive since long before going solo.
What are some of your cheat-sheet tips?