When I’m alone, it’s very easy to slack off – watch YouTube videos, read a novel, Twitter, Facebook. Working in the presence of another person or people is an entirely different story.
I had thought that working in a coffee shop helped me focus because it had less distractions, but as technology advanced, my sources of distraction also mobilized and followed me through smartphones, tablets, and always-on connectivity.
If not for decreased distractions, perhaps I go to these places for the people. There is something special about being in the presence of someone else. That someone can be a significant other, a good friend, or even a stranger. It’s as if we have some accountability to the other human beings in the same room regardless, even to the stranger minding his/her own business at a different table, to maintain that self narrative of “I’m supposed to be productive. Let’s get to work.”