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The Coffee Shop Theory & How to Beat Procrastination

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

Procrastination is the be-all end-all of having a (semi) stress-free semester. It’s vital that your time management skills are at their best and you’re not letting those three papers and group projects pile up, especially with finals right around the corner.

One way to beat the end of the semester slump is to change up your location. It’s been proven that getting out of your room to do homework increases productivity and allows you to feel more focused when you finally sit down to write the paper you said you were going to do yesterday. This is called the “Coffee Shop Theory” and it was discovered by researchers at MIT and The Atlantic. There are several reasons why we’re more productive when we take our homework to a different place, like a coffee shop, and one deals with how we handle time. When you’re stuck in class, your dorm or an office, you’re more prone to stare at the clock and stall productivity. However, in a coffee shop, you’ll eventually be kicked out at closing time, “And the prospect of having to leave, whether due to closing time or one’s laptop battery running out or whatever, can spur one to work faster against the clock,” as stated in The Atlantic’s article on the theory.

Another psychological benefit to working in coffee shops is that they provide “just enough distraction,” according to The Atlantic. This means that the lull of noise in the background and the constant movement of people allows for the mind to be “forced to semi-consciously tune it out,” making it easier to stay on track with your assignment. Another plus of working at a coffee shop is the aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, which can greatly decrease stress. Plus, you can get cozy with a chai latte and that paper won’t seem so bad anymore. Instead of panicking about finals this time around, take a breath and head to your cutest and nearest coffee shop. Bring headphones, your laptop and your textbooks and let the “Coffee Shop Theory” work its magic.

Freshman at Emerson College, theater kid, coffee addict, and Delawarian at heart.
Emerson contributor