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Working Remotely in Cafes

I do the majority of my work from cafes. Working remotely in cafes gives me this feeling as though I’m on vacation. At the very least it lowers my anxiety level and I get to still interact with people around me.

I need good Wifi and a cafe where it’s cool to be on your laptop. And of course, I am respectful of the business and don’t hog a bistro table during rush hour.

Working Remotely

If you don’t have a set schedule when working remotely you’ll quickly realize that holding yourself to task isn’t easy. A few Netflix episodes and lots of bar excursions will quickly eat up your days.

I’m sadistic enough that the first thing I have to do in the day is to make my money. I’ve written about this before – if I can earn my daily spending budget I’m happy.

It’s fine to work a few days and take a few days off. What has worked the best for me is doing 1-2 hours of work daily. The rest of the time is YouTube watching, writing, reading, podcasts, audiobooks, cooking, and rock climbing.

Working from a Cafe

Now that you have some discipline or at least feel the fire of poverty under your ass you can choose to work from home (boring) or somewhere else.

A coworking space is a little depressing. People work hard in those places and the things they do are different enough that you don’t really get to chat. If someone chats with you they want to sell you something. Thank you, I already have a website.

Working in a library is fun – great internet speeds. But it’s quiet and you have to wear a mask these days. I like to do it some of the time but not regularly.

The cafe is the best. Working remotely from cafes gives me the option to work from multiple cafes. I can get an espresso followed by a snack followed by another espresso – no, americano.

The Social Aspect

I know Clem from ClemCafé and Maria & Luis frm Ratiños. They have been people I practice my Spanish and Galego with and run into on the streets of Santiago de Compostela.

Then there are the other patrons. Most are locals but some are foreigners. In a city like this, you run into them as well and that’s often how the conversations first start.

If you’re shy and can’t make friends easily in a new place, a shop owner will always be your buddy if you’re respectful of their business. Like I said above, order something regularly and don’t hog a spot when it’s busy.

The Internet

I don’t do telemedicine visits from a cafe – I can’t imagine my patient with explosive diarrhea wants to hear people chatting and cups clanking in the background. And discussing the nuances of the foreskin rash is unappetizing in any language.

But I still need good internet and a cafe that’s not insanely busy or loud. Usually, most places have decent wifi.

Cual es su wifi y la contrasena?

This is usually followed by me staring back at the person because I have no idea what the password they uttered would look like. They said numbers, letters, and told me which is capitalized and lower-case. My Spanish isn’t that good.

No sweat – they often recognize the stupid look on my face and take my phone and punch it in or write it out for me. So kind!

The Schedule

I wake up in the morning and I check my email. I just want to know what’s coming my way – I don’t even check the content of the email. It’s often a mix of consult work emails and some emails from my coaching clients.

Once I’ve had a couple of cups of coffee I sit down and read through the emails. But I still don’t take any action. My first instinct is always to spend too much time on a certain reply or project – I’ve learned to let my subconscious digest things first.

I go for a walk in the morning around 11 am – 2 hours after waking up – and might go to one of the cafes mentioned above or I’ll work remotely from a cafe near my house like LASSO. I start with some paid work doing the consulting stuff and then I start working through my emails.

The Hardware

I don’t spend more than 2 hours at cafes working remotely. My Chromebook has more than enough juice for that. But I carry a charging brick with me anyways which comes in handy on occasion.

It’s rare that the cafe Wifi will be down but it happens so I have my phone’s hotspot ready to go. And with data being so cheap it’s sometimes just more convenient for me to connect to my Pixel 4, anyways.

I don’t bother with a mouse or keyboard. In the US you see people getting pretty hardcore with accessories at a cafe but if I need to be that clutch I’d rather just work from home.


If I use public Wifi I try to make it a habit to turn on my VPN. It’s just an extra layer of security.

Now that I’m running my own telemedicine practice I’m even more worried about my patient data getting compromised. But that’s why we have liability and cyber security coverage.

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