Productivity and coworking, a perfect match

Last wednesday was held the 5th WabiSabi coworking day in Belfast: I took part in it and as usual it was an interesting and enriching experience. At the end of the day I gained some new contacts, a lot more self-confidence and a big answer to the doubt: is productivity and coworking a good match?

coworking belfastFive years as a freelance gave me the possibility of working from many different places and ambients and to know my weak points; now I know for sure that my main problem is the difficulty in maintaining focus, especially when I’m not in a calm and silent place: it’s not a case that I work in silence, alone and I need often to use methods like The Pomodoro Technique to concentrate on one task at a time. With this viewpoint, when I decided to take part to a coworking event my first thought was: “I go for networking, surely not to be productive“.

But when I sat in the middle of other stranger professionals meeting each other and chatting around me, strangely, I wasn’t disturbed by the ambient; it was the opposite, I worked pretty well (read more about my first coworking experience here).

Since there was in programme another meeting with the WabiSabi coworking group, I decided to search for a proof of all this and to use the event trying to do even more. So I prepared a plan of the day setting it up on the tips I found in the coworking newsletter (you can find more details in my previous article “5° WabiSabi Coworking Day, Belfast – How to prepare for a coworking event“) and this gave me from the start a list of tasks on which I could focus, optimizing times between a chat and another.

The list of tasks

Therefore, doing a recap: after understanding that my first idea

*coworking = a lot of networking but no focus/work*

was completely a prejudice, during the last WabiSabi coworking day, held the 26th August at the Dock Market in Belfast, I was detemined to focus on productivity and so I went with a little list of tasks ready.

The tasks in my list were:

a big task –> the reorganization of Bohemian Wanderer’s editorial plan;

five easier tasks, all these too about this blog:

1. to fix the About section;
2. to fix the main menu;
3. to check, translate and ultimate my media kit;
4. to insert again the “Map” page;
5. to check my old personal blog to understand how many posts I can pass from that to Bohemian Wanderer.

Did it work?

It was a lot of work to be done: how the results have been?
Actually I’m very happy of how my day went, because I ended a lot of work that I was postponing from some time. I couldn’t do every single thing I thought, but I was aware that my list was pretty optimistic.

To better give the idea of what I completed, I gave some percentage points to every task: 15% to the little ones, 25% to the big task.

Here are the things I worked on and what I ended:

☑ I finally fixed and changed my About section, both in italian and english. (+15%)

☑ I worked at the main menu and at the end I decided to leave it like it was: the changes I wanted to do were not convincing me (if you have any suggestions, as usual you can leave them in the comments). (+15%)

☑ I didn’t insert back the “Map” page, or better you can’t see it yet because it’s still a draft, but I found a way to make it more attracting than before and I’m already inserting back all the posts’ links: soon online! 😉 (+15%)

☑ I created a list of posts that I’ll move from my old blog to Bohemian Wanderer. (+15%)

☑ My media kit now is definitive and available both in italian and english (if you want to have it just write me through the “Contact me” page). (+15%)

Unluckily I didn’t have the time to lay my hands also on the editorial plan but it’s indeed a big work to which I’ll have probably to dedicate an entire day.

Despite this, it’s easy to count and to come to the conclusion that I ended the 75% of what I had to do!

Other than these tasks, the goal of the day was also to meet the other professionals attending the event: I reached it too, but I’ll tell you about this below 🙂

The success factors

In the end the result has been very good: I reached almost all my work goals even if they were pretty hard, and I think that it worked better than a work day in the house. How was it possible? Partly I think that arriving already with a list of things to do helped me focus on the main goals, but I believe as well that there were some factors linked to the event itself; I counted at least five among the main ones:

  1. The exceptional nature of the event broke the boredom 

I’m a person who gets easily bored, in fact I’m happy with my life as a freelance: I continously work on new and various projects and I do it from different places if I want. Unluckily this freedom doesn’t mean that I often organize to do so; actually the opposite, I pass most of my working days in the house. Joining a coworking event broke my routine, giving me back some enthusiasm.

2. Morning exercise

A friend on mine once confessed that she experienced the work from home as a real nightmare: getting out of bed to sit at the desk wasn’t good for her. Unluckily this is a home workers’ bad habit that is pretty hard to fight…unless you don’t organize to reach a different work place from your desk like for example a coworking! 😉
To reach the Dock Market, located in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, I had to take a bus from the house and then to have a 20/30 minutes long walk. I have been surely lucky since it was a nice sunny day and the walk gave me the right shake to be loaded:

3. The simple but still creative location

It’s known that, when you talk about work and productivity, the space is important. Even in this case it was crucial: the Dock Market is a big ambient mostly used for creative markets and it has a simple furnishing with some quirky details. The colours are light and typical northern and the windows are directly on the nice walk by the sea.

Moreover the choice of the seats was between tables and chairs or comfortable couches with view on the sea: can you guess what chose? 😉

4. The food

In the list of to-dos for making the best out of the coworking day there was also to not miss the opportunity of meet and chat with the other participants. The catering made it simple, since with this amount and quality of food everyone wanted to take a pause and chat with others!
This was the morning welcome, with scones, sweets and american coffee and tea:

That’s how I found out how good are scones with butter, now I’d eat nothing else! Here’s a cinnamon one:

DSC_0232blAnd here is the lunch: we had wraps, sandwiches and a colourful fruit salad.

5. The people

At the moment WabiSabi is a coworking group, not a physical place: the events, usually monthly, are held every time in a different location while waiting to find the right place for a coworking space. It’s not a surprise, then, that the heart of the event are mostly the people. The participants are changing from time to time, even if a group of regulars is building up, and it’s really interesting to know what are the jobs of everyone; often there are even managers of other coworking spaces taking part to the meetings and one of the main talks then is, of course, about the culture of working out of the offices. Moreover, Dawn and Allen, organizers and creators of WabiSabi, are full of ideas and suggestions, and they help participants with getting involved with others and using these occasions for problem solving and brainstorming. Undeniably creativity gets a push during these events: many creative heads all together create for sure an interesting environment.

In conclusion: the coworking experience has been once more positive and stimulant; furthermore now I can assert for sure that these kind of events are a good match with productivity, even for those having focus problems like me.

If you pass from Belfast I suggest you to try participate to one of these meetings: you won’t regret it (also they have sweets! 😀 )

You can contact Dawn and Allen and find out more about the coworking group at the link

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