Updated: Jul 30
Working from home has its benefits and challenges. I'm happy to give up a commute with traffic to allow for more flexibility in the morning. Mornings can be be a whirlwind to get two little ones out the door by a certain time (we aim for between 8-8:30 am), despite everyone being awake for a few hours. My current work also allows me the opportunity to work remotely, not just from home. The house can be a source of distraction, which I'm sure others who work from home can relate to. Laundry, dishes, and items to organize all try to grab my attention if I let them. I strive to separate my work time from time spent on household responsibilities, but it's more difficult when I'm immersed in the space.
I recently came up with the idea to change up my workplace location from time to time, in hopes that it would motivate and inspire me in different ways. This prompted an upcoming blog series, where I will highlight different local venues that may be well-suited for remote work. I like to think of it as productive research. I have a new purpose for writing, I can support local small businesses (many of which I have not yet been to), and I can change my workplace surroundings. I currently have a list of coffee shops that I plan to visit over the course of the next several weeks and months. Stay tuned!
Up first in this blog series is Order and Chaos Coffee in Baltimore, Maryland.
Order and Chaos Coffee
Address: 1410 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230
Hours: M-F 8 am-3 pm, Sat. & Sun. 8 am-5 pm
I stopped in last week after the Creative Mornings Baltimore event that was held at the National Aquarium. Creative Mornings events take place on the last Friday of each month, and I try to arrange my schedule and workload so I can attend each of them. June's speaker was the (new) director of The American Visionary Art Museum, Jenenne Whitfield.
I don't always take notes at these events, but Jenenne shared several nuggets of wisdom that I felt compelled to write down.
One of the things that stood out to me during Jenenne's talk was the concept of energy flow, and recognizing when a block is happening. Taking a break or changing the space can be helpful ways to shift and/or refresh one's mindset. When I'm working from home, I find it helpful to take a midday walk to get my energy back. Sitting at the computer for extended periods of time often makes me lethargic and sometimes prevents me from doing my best work.
After Friday's talk, I walked around the aquarium briefly and made a point to check out the jellyfish exhibit. The delicate, undulating movements of the jellyfish were mesmerizing. They reminded me of the concept of going with the flow, which seemed to be a recurring theme of the day. From the aquarium, I made my way through the inner harbor and towards Order and Chaos, which was about a mile and a half walk.
The space is laid out with different seating areas. To the right as you walk in, there are a few tables in front of a glass window that separates the coffee shop from the advertising agency, Planit. Up the stairs to the left, there is a larger room with various seating arrangements, large dry erase boards, and a bulletin board for local ads. I chose to sit at a long hightop table, on an uniquely-designed metal stool that was surprisingly comfortable.
Order and Chaos offers a number of hot and cold beverage items, as well as a food menu. I went with an iced chai with oat milk (should have ordered the 16 oz. instead of the 12 oz!) and a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel. They get their bagels from another local favorite, THB.
There were plenty of power outlets available along the wall where I was working. They offered free Wifi, but I decided to use my phone as a hotspot. I've gotten accustomed to doing this when working in public settings. The room was well-lit from both the overhead lights and natural lighting from large windows. The overhead lights would dim occasionally due to their motion-sensored nature.
Order and Chaos was a great spot to sit and work for a few hours. I had enough space to use my computer, eat/drink, and set out a notebook all at once. There is street parking available and it is a short walk to other locations including restaurants and museums.
ETA: I have been going through old blog posts to update the categories and tags. Turns out I first wrote about Order and Chaos back in 2016 when it first opened. I also wrote, "I originally went to college to study Graphic Design. It still holds a special place in my heart. My brief experience in the graphic design industry was working as an intern at a very small company with only two full-time designers. There are times when I wonder if I will ever return to the design world… Today definitely made me think about it." I had been working as an elementary art teacher at the time, and now seven years after writing that, I have in fact returned to the design world.