The Creativity Series: Changing Up A Routine

If there is one thing that I (and Instagram) love, it’s a beautiful coffee shop. Whether it’s the cozy corner cafe, trendy uptown java joint, or convenient brew window by the office, there’s something comforting about classic coffee shop elements—the hustle and bustle of strangers, gentle hissing of a milk frother, and of course, a piping hot cup of coffee. I’m lucky to have a home office (albeit a very makeshift one), but there are times when I need to get out and interact with real people, surrounded by natural life and energy.

SpectreFirstEncounter | Nanette Wong-1

However, as much as I wax poetic about these coffee shops, I rarely work there.  Why? Because I don’t have a laptop that’s optimized for travel, even if it’s somewhere close. I have a desktop computer and a dinosaur of a laptop that’s quite heavy with an unreliable battery-life. This means I pretty much work in two spaces and two spaces only— I go from my office in Financial District to my house, specifically my closet home office. As you can imagine, this isn’t always conducive to creativity. There has been many a time where I feel like I’m in a rut, where everything seems the same and I am just another fish in a big ‘ol sea of the same fishes that takes pictures of food and coffee. I’ve even written about it on Instagram, when I was feeling particularly angsty and frustrated. I do believe some of that stems from routine, which is a double-edged sword. I see both sides. Sometimes having a rigid routine is vital to creativity— a lot of geniuses often have strict routines. But there are also those creatives who avoid routine like the plague, and believe it hinders out-of-the-box thinking and spontaneous ideas. What side do I fall on? Well, I’m going to take the easy route and say both work for me. Honestly, it really does. Having a routine means I’ll get my work done. However, sometimes, it can be just a little… uninspiring. Lackluster, dare I say. I believe it’s also why a lot of people (myself included), so passionately love to travel. Being out of my comfort zone, seeing new faces and spaces, can reignite a dying flame.

SpectreFirstEncounter | Nanette Wong-4

Long story short, I think it’s helpful for you to switch it up once in awhile. And that includes where you conduct your normal, day to day work. It’s why we have offsites during my 9-5 job, so we can break out of normal zone, brainstorm, and get those creative juices flowing. So, I was thrilled when HP reached out for an opportunity to take their brand new Spectre laptop out for a spin. Weighing in at just under 2.5 lbs, this sleek, black and copper (!!!!) laptop is the thinnest laptop in the world. Literally, it is the same width of a AAA battery. HELLO COFFEE SHOPS, HERE I COME!!!!

The unveiling of the Spectre was as polished as its name would suggest. Matte black packaging, copper foil text, minimalist design… Everything I adore. As a design writer, I’m a sucker for details. At first glance, the laptop is indeed as fancy as I would’ve expected. Super, super thin, ultra light with architectural details, copper keyboard accents, and audio technology from the coveted Danish brand Bang & Olufsen.

SpectreFirstEncounter | Nanette Wong-8

What does this mean for me? Breaking out of my little office and exploring all the coffeeshops this city has to offer. With all the cafes in San Francisco, it’s actually amazing how many don’t have wifi in this day and age. And so, I’ve rounded up five of my favorite coffee shops in San Francisco that are ideal for freelancers. This means they have delicious coffee, pastries, and the perfect environment for the creativity to flow.

1. St. Frank Coffee (pictured above)

SpectreFirstEncounter | Nanette Wong-6

Literally, a coffee and design aficionado’s dream. Plenty of natural light, clean white walls, and individually brewed coffee (on scales!), this is truly a space for inspiration. Head upstairs for some peace and quiet, or stay downstairs to feel the energy of the people. One thing to note is that they only have free wifi on Monday through Friday, weekends are no guarantee :(.

SpectreFirstEncounter | Nanette Wong-2

2. The Station SF

The Station is a cute little coffeeshop nestled between North Beach, Chinatown, and Jackson Square. I used to work right next to it, which was equal parts amazing and terrible. Their croissant sandwiches are to die for. Also, its black and industrial decor matches the Spectre perfectly.

3. Stable Cafe

The cutest. The converted carriage house has two levels, which means ample seating, and a delightful patio to boot.

4. Home Cafe

HomeCafe | ©CulturalChromatics-1

Oh, Home Cafe. I can’t say enough good things about you. The coziest place with the best toast. A little far out to venture, but worth the distance. See more about Home Cafe here.

5. Coffee Bar (Bryant St. Location)

A hip coffee bar in the Mission with nitro brew (my favorite!!), large tables, and outdoor seating. At this point, what else can you ask for? Well, maybe some beer. And don’t worry, they have that too for when you’re finally done working ;). That will definitely help get the creativity flowing.

SpectreFirstEncounter | Nanette Wong-7

I hope you enjoyed the first in my creativity series with HP. I’m excited to share some more behind-the-scene looks at my freelance work and creative process.  What side of the spectrum do you fall on? Rigid routine or no routine at all? I’d love to know— tell me in the comments below!

Cultural Chromatics has teamed up with HP for this post. However, all opinions are our own, (and always will be). Thanks for supporting content that keeps the lights on here at Cultural Chromatics.

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  1. Pingback: The Creativity Series: 5 Pros Share Their Creative Essentials - Cultural Chromatics

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