I love coffee shops. And I also love my bed. They’ve always been my favorite places to work as a freelancer. I used to brag about being able to work from wherever I wanted. But then one day, I realized I had no routine and my productivity level was determined by the tidiness of my house or the internet speed and crowd noise at coffee shops.
When I started working out of a coworking space, I felt more productive. Going into a workspace every day required discipline on my part at first, but in the long run, the routine has paid off.
I still love going to coffee shops, but I've definitely noticed a difference in my work after I started working at The Olive Grove.
We made a little checklist to compare the two:
Don’t get us wrong - we still think you should frequent the coffee shops. There are so many cool ones in Beirut. But save them for when you want to catch up with a friend or go on a date. Trust us, you’ll be way more productive if you work from a coworking space.
Work can become mundane and it can be easy to find yourself stuck in a rut. If you’re a freelancer or you’re running your own business or startup, then it can be extra difficult to stay on top of all the tasks. We've compiled a list of our favorite ways to stay productive:
1. Use a Project Management Application
We use Trello to organize our to-do lists and projects! It’s great for team delegation, as well. “Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size.” Ever since we started using Trello, we’ve noticed a huge difference in organization and productivity.
2. Take Care of Your Work Station
When you need a fresh start, switch up your work station. That’s what’s great about working from a coworking space - you can work from a bean bag in the common space, at a Hot Desk or in your office.
Keep your desk space clean. At the end of each workday, clean your workspace so that when you come in the next day, you don’t have to deal with clutter. Also, the layout of your desk matters.
3. Get Fresh Air
Take a walk outside. Some fresh air always helps clear the brain.
Add an indoor plant to your workstation. “Studies have also proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15 percent!), reduce stress levels and boost your mood — making them perfect for not just your home but your work space, too.” (NBC News)
4. Leave Your Work at Work
Try your best not to take your work home. You need to give yourself a break. And never work from bed! There have been studies that prove it will affect your sleep.
5. Dress the Part
It’s tempting to show up to work in sweat pants and a t-shirt when you don’t have to follow a dress code, but research shows that dressing the part can help fuel your productivity.
One friend gave me the advice to wake up a little earlier on Monday, do my hair and put on some lipstick. It’s actually helped beat some of the Monday blues!
6. Cut Out Distractions
Mute your Whatsapps. Your friends can wait for you to respond.
Don’t check your social media pages or YouTube every 10 minutes. If you don’t have the self discipline, download the Self Control App which allows you to block websites for a set amount of time while you finish up a project or big task.
7. Start Early and End Early
Even if you don’t have to report to work at certain hours, try to follow the 9-5 schedule. It helps you maintain a healthy social life.
More tips: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-rampton/12-tips-to-being-producti_b_9052590.html
Starting a business is no easy task. And it often feels like a very lonely journey. But we get by with a little (scratch that; a lot of) help from our friends. It’s not an understatement when we say that we couldn’t have started The Olive Grove without the help and encouragement from friends and family.
In the early stages, our families and friends supported us through generous donations to renovate The Olive Grove. But they also called, emailed, and showed up when the task before us seemed impossible. When we opened our doors, our friends continued to support us by attending our events and workshops, and spreading the word. Our families continue to amaze us with their patience and unconditional love as we are figuring out the whole business venture. Thanks, friends and family!
We interviewed a few people who have started small businesses to see how their friends have helped along the way. And here are some of their tips.
Have Your Tribe
“Getting a business up and running can be a frustrating, difficult and a mind-bendingly stressful experience. As a mere mortal, it's nigh impossible to go it alone. You will need people in your corner. People you can trust. People you can rely on. Even people who you can just vent to (or with). Actually mostly with. That's where your friends step in. When everything starts to seem undoable, they keep you focused on what you can actually do.” [Tanios - Co-Founder of Beard Gear Co.]
Not All About the Money
“Most people initially think of financial help. But as I venture down this road longer, the real help is in different areas. It is arrogant, prideful and wrong to think we can be successful in life all by ourselves. It's the same in business. Friends and family offer other essential aspects:
Build Your Reputation
“When starting up a business, it is vital to have friends and family that support you. As a startup, you most likely won’t have an extensive body of work or an impressive portfolio, so it’s a lot harder to get clients because they don’t have a concrete reason to trust you and your new business.
I think that’s where friends and family come in, they are the people that trust you and will enthusiastically hire you or recommend your services to people they know. In my personal experience, all the projects we had when we first started were through people we knew.” [Sirena - Co-Founder of Twig Collaborative]
Don’t Let Your Friends Take Advantage
Sure, give out the “friends and family discount,” but don’t ever feel obligated to work for free to to provide services just because you have your own business. It’s okay to remind your friends that this is your work, aka, this is how you pay the bills.
“A big issue that came up quite a lot when working for friends and family is payment. Often times they expected the work to be done for negligible pay, and sometimes even for free. This was extremely discouraging, and in my opinion, the complete opposite of support. We did however have some extremely supportive friends and family who were happy to pay us for all the effort and time we spent working for them, and those are the people who really helped us get up on our feet and properly start our firm.” [Sirena]
Not Everyone Will Understand (but that’s okay)
“Friends can be a key supportive element during an entrepreneur’s journey. However, they can also bring you down more than they can lift you up. What I’ve learned from my personal experience is that not all friends will understand or be open to listen to your journey. Just those like-minded will fully be open to know more about your business experiences and mistakes.” [Laia - Founder of Leanelle]
As mentioned earlier, starting a business can be a lonely journey. If your friends haven’t been in similar situations, they won’t understand all that you’re going through. But that’s okay. In the same way, we might not be able to fully relate to the frustrations and excitements of an engineer or a doctor, or an accountant.
While running your own business might consume your life, it’s good to try to separate work from your social life. Friends want to support you, but they don’t want everything to revolve around you and your busy schedule. (And that goes both ways).
Surround yourself with people who will love you, support you and remind you to relax and keep going.
Election period. A time of hope, often followed by feelings of despair. Post election blues. How do we respond?
After a 9 year break, Lebanon held elections this past Sunday. Leading up to the elections, there was talk of 24/7 electricity, faster internet, better roads, and a better Lebanon. And here we are - still waiting for change. And it’s so frustrating! It’s hard not to lose hope. When will things actually change? And is there a time when we should just give up?
But we can't give up because deep down inside, we know we can't lose hope. Change takes time, and we're not ready to give up now, or ever.
So we went around and asked a few people to share their advice and thoughts concerning the post elections blues. We hope these words leave you feeling challenged and encouraged.
"Kicking out hope instead of learning the lessons doesn’t solve anything. In the game of life, the likelihood of things going ‘wrong’ far outweighs that of things going ‘right’. Given our prior knowledge of how things work, our progress depends on learning the lessons to create change."
We all want instant change, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Another young Lebanese, who recently moved back to Lebanon, stressed the importance of not giving up:
"We need to build on the momentum that was felt leading up to this election. There is still a long way to go, and each and everyone of us has an important role to play."
Let us be people who choose to hold on to hope. People will call you naive or overly-optimistic, but be well-informed and action-orientated, and then challenge those around you to work for change and to hold onto their hope.
Even though it might be hard to see, there are winds of change, even if it's a small breeze.
Though the numbers may be small, this election did place new faces in the parliament, and these leaders vow to make necessary changes. Yes, we can choose to be cynical and say they'll become like the rest. Or we can choose to have the benefit of the doubt, hope for the best, and then hold them accountable and encourage our leaders to work for a better Lebanon.
So we’ll leave you with the challenge to not kick out hope. We need it to keep working
If you're in Beirut this weekend, be sure to join us for the TEDxHamraSalon: The X on the Ballot event, Sunday, May 13 at 6pm at The Olive Grove.
Ever since we started working out of a coworking space, we noticed an improvement in our overall health and wellbeing. So we want to share a few tips and observations with you.
1. Walk or bike to work
The whole idea is to work at a coworking space in your neighborhood. Coworking spaces are supposed to be convenient, so you want to go to one close by. That means you have no excuse not to bike or walk to work. (Check out the #BikeToWork2018 initiative by The Chain Effect).
2. Leave your computer at work
You’re no longer working from home or from a coffee shop, so that means you can leave your computer at the coworking space. This helps with your work/life balance.
3. Bring your own lunch to work
Coworking spaces allow you to put your lunch in the fridge or cupboard. Not eating out helps you save money and it’s a healthier option. Or set up a meal plan through ChefXChange.
4. Fuel your social life / community
A coworking space allows you to work on your own projects while being surrounded by a community of like-minded people. Working from home can be very lonely, so we encourage everyone to find a coworking space to join. Be a part of a community that inspires and leaves room for collaboration.
5. Minimize Stress
We take care of the headaches that go into setting up your own internet, electricity, utilities, etc. This allows you to focus on what's really important - your work.
6. Increase productivity
Coworking spaces are designed for increased productivity. A coworking space is the perfect in between offering the comfort and flexibility of working from home or a coffee shop, but also offering the structure of a traditional office. The Olive Grove’s open layout allows in a lot of natural light, gives you room to breathe, and fuels creativity.
7. Commit to going to the gym
Because you’re now more productive at work, you have time to go to the gym. Make the commitment and you’ll see the results. Plus, you’ll feel happier. (Exercising releases dopamine, happy chemicals, into your brain). If you're a member at The Olive Grove, we recommend the gym down the street, Fitness Zone Hamra.
Join a coworking space and incorporate these points into your life, and we guarantee you'll feel healthier all around.