If you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely love coffee shops!! It’s a bit of an obsession – or at least it was for years. The love affair began when I was in elementary school – my dad used to take me out on special daddy-daughter dates just to chat. We called those afternoons our “coffee times.” I hold dear to my heart all of those conversations about goals, the future, school, boys…my dad was incredibly patient and attentive to his deep-thinking daughter who happened to be an emotional preteen girl! 😉
As I grew older, coffee shops became a homework/hang-out zone for my sister Maddie and me. We became friends with the employees there and have some hilarious high school memories from our afternoons spent at our local Starbucks. We did manage to get our homework done, though! 🙂 We also loved running into our dad there, if he stopped by after a day of work – which was fun family time, even if we had each driven separately!
I spent Saturday mornings studying for the ACT and SAT there. I met high school friends (and, later, boys) for coffee dates. I especially loved sitting near an older couple who always came in at the same time as me on Saturdays and sat in comfortable silence together, reading and working on crossword puzzles. Starbucks was (and all the coffee shops in the general area were) such a special part of my growing up years, so you can see why I have a strong emotional tie to coffee shops!
Fast forward a number of years.
I met and fell in love with my best friend, Bjorn, at college in the Twin Cities. We got engaged and started to plan ahead for our married life – knowing we’d live in the small-town, rural region he grew up in. We’re currently renting a house and living in one of those small towns….faaaaaar from any Starbucks (though there is a Caribou Coffee 25 miles away inside a grocery store!).
As high-maintenance as it sounds, I really struggled at first. I had grown so accustomed to waking early on a Saturday, scooping up my laptop bag, and heading out the door for a few hours at a local coffee shop. I was so used to working on my blog or answering emails or editing pictures with that hustle and bustle around me, enveloped in the smell of coffee, with my own quiet table and mug of chai. So, moving here felt like a cold-turkey fast from all of my favorite coffee shop feels! I almost didn’t know what to do.
This “struggle” and these truths go far deeper than simply enjoying going to Starbucks. I had a lot of habits and attitudes to work through when I first got married. But oh, how God has been working on my heart these past (almost 2!) years of marriage. He has gently tugged away those whispers of self-entitlement (“I deserve to treat myself!”) and justifications of productivity (“I just can’t get work done at home!”).
So, in terms of the coffee shop habit, I went from feeling a bit frustrated (and used to dropping $5 on a drink all the time!) to the present-day Bee: oh-so-content to be at home as much as possible, absolutely loving rising early and getting tasks done in the quiet of our home, totally soaking in all of the little corners of this house, and definitely hustling hard on blog projects and more from this seat in our dining room!! 🙂 It’s been difficult, but I’ve fought for and learned a whole new facet of contentment.
All this being said, I do still love the feel of a coffee shop! When we visit my parents, I try to stop by one if I can. 🙂 The rest of the time, though, I recreate that perfect coffee shop feel right here in our cozy little home! And I love it. Here’s how:
How I Recreate That Coffee Shop Feel At Home:
1 // Clear off the workspace! That one is practically a given, since any public coffee shop you visit provides clear, sizable tables to sit at! It’s amazing how much more productive I feel if the table I’m working at has been cleared of extraneous things.
2 // Play coffee shop noise/music. I recently discovered Coffitivity, an awesome site that plays the background sounds of a coffee shop on your computer or via an app! A couple of the options are available to play for free – including “Morning Murmur” and “Lunchtime Lounge.” My favorite is “Morning Murmur.” 🙂 I know some people really aren’t a fan of this type of background noise, but for me, it brings back old memories I’m really fond of.
3 // Serve a nice hot beverage. I even own a Starbucks mug that’s designed to look like one of their white to-go cups – perfect for recreating that “luxurious” beverage experience at home.
4 // Make some rules. I was always very ritualistic when I’d visit a coffee shop to get some work done. So, at home, I’ve adopted most of those same “rules” for myself, in order to stay focused and productive. I make sure I have a sweatshirt on or nearby, in case I get cold. I try not to get up often. I stay off of websites like Pinterest or YouTube in an effort not to distract myself. And I sequester myself away a bit, choosing not to chat for fun if I’m trying to stay productive. 🙂
How about you? What’s your story when it comes to coffee shops? Do you try to recreate or find opportunities for productivity at home (or elsewhere)?