When I have a project I really need to focus on, I head to a coffee shop—or used to, anyway. There was something about the sights, sounds and scent of these quaint places that helped me to be more productive. Yes, the caffeine helped (my go-to: an Americano with a splash of cream and cinnamon), but it’s not only the boost of espresso-fueled energy that helped me to get more work done in coffee shops. Science shows that novelty situations stimulate the brain: A change in atmosphere can signal an increase in productivity, creativity or inspiration.
While it’s not feasible for most of us to pack up our laptops and head to our favorite coffee shop to get work done right now, you can recreate some of the charm—and brain benefits—of them by incorporating these elements into your home office (or kitchen, or wherever you’re set up right now). As