Wednesday, February 8

The Anti-Procrastination Cafe: You Can’t Leave Until Your Work Is Done, and Waiters Call You Out If You Don’t Make Progress

They say that writing is 1% work and 99% procrastination. It may be a bit exaggerated, but it is one of the demons that haunt those of us who work with words.

All writers, from novelists to translators, editors, journalists, etc., fight daily against procrastination. And the mountain gets much steeper when you telecommute, or when you have to meet deadlines.

Fortunately, a Japanese businessman named Takuya Kawai found the solution: the anti-procrastination cafeteria. when you walk in, you can’t leave until you finish the job. Plus the manager scolds you as hard as you askif you notice that you do not advance.

It’s not a joke: it’s called Manuscript Writing Cafe, and is located in the Koenji district of Tokyo. In this video you can see the manager explain the rules of this strict anti-procrastination coffee (has English subtitles):

The Cafe Manuscript Writing Cafe only support writers: novelists, journalists, translators, editors, etc. Anyone who works with words.

entering the cafe you have to fill out a card where you explain the goal you have set for yourself. For example: write 5,000 words, complete 5 pages, finish the article, etc. You also indicate the time you will need to complete it.

A manager will supervise your work. You can choose whether you want his attitude to be friendly (he’ll encourage you to keep going), incisive, or aggressive, in which he’ll keep a closer eye on you and give you a little scolding if you don’t make progress, like a teacher.

The cafe charges by the hour, but in return it offers a series of services. You can choose between three types of tables: from a bar with a stool to a small shared table, or an individual office.

All tables have Free WiFi, many USB connectorsAnd till a device that cools the laptop.

drinks are freebut you can only drink water (which you can heat or cool yourself), tea or coffee.

As we say, the manager does not allow you to leave the premises until you have finished the work. As he explains in the video, the idea is to create a tense environment, like that of a library the day before an important examwhere everyone works furiously and inspires each other to focus and keep up.

We don’t know what will happen if a client gives up or wants to leave without finishing their work. But in Japan people are usually shy and very polite, and they have too much self-esteem to give up in public, so there shouldn’t be any altercations.

According to the testimonies collected on the website of this anti-procrastination coffee shopcustomers are very grateful because they have been able to finish their work, and in record time.

Perhaps it is time to export the idea to other countries, Mr. Takuya Kawai…

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