Working from home can be tough on people.
So much so that I devoted a separate blog post to taking care of your mental health when working from your home office.
But sometimes, the best strategy to avoid the stress resulting from working at the same old place is simply changing the scenery.
If you really don’t feel like spending another day at your desk, it’s time to pack your laptop bag and head out.Here are some ideas for places to go to when you want to write outside your office.
1. Botanical Gardens
Few things boost creativity and mood as much as fresh air, the scent of herbs, the flutter of butterfly wings, and refreshing greenery all around you.
If there are botanical gardens in your city, this dreamy environment might just be the thing you need to get inspired.
Botanical gardens constitute an ideal place to go to no matter the season. They’re cozy and spring-like in the winter, and the plants create a cooling shade in the summer.
There’s usually ample seating space, but make sure to charge your laptop battery in advance because you might have a hard time finding a power outlet.
One of my favorite science writers of all time, Oliver Sacks, used to spend hours in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, whose alleys I also had a chance to stroll. It’s truly one of the most magnificent writing spots to visit.
2. Public Park
If you don’t have access to a botanical garden in your city, a public park is a great alternative.
They offer a similarly soul enriching environment, with the open sky, plants, birds, and fresh air all around you.
Public parks are typically somewhat louder and busier than a botanical garden, but that might also be an advantage if you enjoy typing away to the sound of children’s play.
Sometimes, comfortable seating might be an issue in a public park, so I recommend equipping yourself with a camping chair or a picnic blanket for an extra comfy work-in-nature session.
3. Coffee Shop
Do you want to feel like Franz Kafka, TS Elliot, or F. Scott Fitzgerald during your next writing session?
The one thing these literary giants have in common is they all wrote their most memorable lines sitting in the shade of a coffee shop awning.
There’s just something special about the coffee shop environment that lets your creative mind open up.
Besides a consistent flow of caffeine, coffee shop staff is there to provide you with snacks, refreshing juices, electric power for your laptop, and Wi-Fi – what else do you need?
Many people can zone out and treat the chatter around them as background noise. And some people enjoy it so much that they play coffee shop ambiance sounds when working at home.
But if you have a hard time focusing on work with people talking and music playing around you, it might be a good idea to bring noise-cancellation headphones with you.
4. The Riverside
Most famous cities are built around rivers.
These big and powerful bodies of water aren’t only a great source of food and transportation – they’re also amazing places to hang out, be inspired, and get some writing done. In fact, these waterways may have many stories to tell as well, as they have been a big part of the city’s centuries-old history.
Whether you prefer to sit on a bench on the quay or use a tree root as your seating on the riverbank, the riverside can make for a perfect, inspirational writing environment.
Just don’t forget to bring an anti-bug spray, because there are many tiny creatures crawling around a watery environment.
5. Local Library
There’s something deeply inspirational and poignant about being surrounded by books – and there’s no better place for that than a local library.
These public spaces make for ideal workspaces for writers because of the constant state of quietness, the presence of many focused minds, and the smell of books…
Oh, the smell of thousands of books – the specs of dust and the rich, lush knowledge hidden within the pages.
Besides, there’s no better place to find yourself in, if you come across a difficult point in your research! There’s only one downside to working in a library – no coffee or snacks allowed.
But you can always manage to sneak something in, or set up timer and when it’s time, you can step out for your well deserved treat.
6. On a Train
Whether you’re actually traveling or just enjoy observing the passing-by scenery, a train ride can be an irresistibly inspirational environment to get some creative writing work done.
Long train rides are typically great for writers. Trains are often equipped with comfortable seating with tables, electric outlets, (somewhat unstable though), Wi-Fi, and even a bathroom.
The clickety-clack of the train tracks is mesmerizing – creating a perfectly soothing background noise for getting focused work done.
7. Shopping Mall
People-watching is not only an enjoyable activity.
It can be the nudge you need to get you inspired and build creative, believable characters for your writing projects.
Even if you’re not a fiction writer, the environment of a shopping mall might be a great spot to set up your own metaphorical shop and get some work done.
Most malls have rest areas with cushy seats, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and power outlets. These make for ideal writing corners.
In a shopping mall, you’re surrounded by bustling shops and chatter, and the bright overhead lights won’t let you snooze away.
And if you get hungry, you can just head over to fast-food courts and get a quick snack, not to mention, cozy cafes that are perfect for writing.
8. Art Gallery or a Museum
Art inspires art – and you don’t necessarily need to read to get inspired to write.
So why not try and type away in the quiet, thought-provoking environment of an art gallery or a museum?
Soak in the history and art around you, and let the high culture find a reflection in your work.
Most art galleries and museums are equipped with fairly comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, and for the most part, the staff doesn’t mind loitering visitors. So stay as long as you like (or, well, until closing time).
9. Poolside Bar
I don’t recommend working on a beach because of all the sand that can get into the cracks of your laptop exhaust fan (not to mention other cracks).
However, working near the pool is the perfect middle ground – you get all the benefits of sitting in the sun near cool water in the summer, and you don’t have to worry about getting your laptop dirty with sand.
Finding yourself a seat at the poolside bar will give you a comfy position, a cool drink, and a way to keep your stuff safe if you decide to jump in the water to cool down.
10. University Campus
You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the benefits of the beautiful, well-kept vast expanses that are college campuses.
Not unlike huge public parks, university campuses offer a lot of space that’s specially designed for learning and focusing on coursework – which is incidentally exactly what you need to get some work done.
From regular tables and benches to water fountains and places to sit in the shade, college campuses are great spaces that combine the best parts of parks and office spaces.
Besides a great spot to work, chances are you’ll also come across a place to charge your laptop and free Wi-Fi.