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How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

We have a love-hate relationship with caffeine. We all know consuming too much will lead to a crash, and a headache, but we also know it can be a great energy booster in a pinch. Even if you only have a small serving of caffeine, your body will metabolize it out of your system within 8-14 hours, leading you to feel sluggish and sometimes even sick.[1]

    But what if I told you strategically consuming caffeine rather than drinking it habitually could provide an energy reservoir, so to speak, that you could tap into any time you liked?

    Drink caffeine strategically

    Chris Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project, was also sick of the caffeine hangover, but didn’t want to abandon the stuff. So he decided to try something: he consumed caffeine before doing any number of important things. For instance, he would have caffeine before giving a presentation, writing an important article, or just checking off something big on his to-do list. Regardless of what the task was, he made sure it was one that was important and required plenty of focus and brain energy.

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    The aim of the experiment was simple: how can you make the most of that caffeinated high before the crash comes? Utilize the period before the caffeine crash.

      Caffeine prevents your brain from absorbing a chemical called adenosine. This chemical triggers the flags in your brain that let you know you’re tired. While caffeine blocks your brain from absorbing the chemical, it continues to build up until caffeine eventually lets your brain absorb it. So at that point, you’re going to suddenly feel as though you’ve been hit by a train and all you want to do is sleep.

      But if you drink coffee, or any caffeinated beverage strategically, you can make better use of that time when your brain isn’t receiving those signals. In fact, you could even rest intermittently before that crash hits.

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      What you can’t drink

      Before you start stocking up on sugary caffeine drinks or whip out your Starbucks mobile app to grab a caffeinated frappuccino, let’s get some ground rules out of the way. You can’t have sugary or alcoholic caffeinated drinks. These types of beverages come with their own kind of crash, so layering them on is only going to make that hit of adenosine come on harder and faster, ultimately leaving you feeling even worse.

      Instead, opt for green tea or matcha. These naturally caffeinated teas are full of antioxidants which can help slow and regulate the caffeine crash.

      When to caffeinate

      At this point, you might be brewing a cup of coffee already, but be careful not to use caffeine as a band-aid. The goal is to take advantage of the window of productivity, not to continue to consume it until you’ve gotten through your day and need to sleep. Along those same lines, it’s important to avoid caffeine as much as possible if you’re about to work on something creative; it’s been shown to hurt right-brain-related tasks.

      If it works for your daily schedule, consume caffeine between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. This is when caffeine will have the greatest impact on your energy, because it’s usually the time of day when you naturally start to feel a little sluggish. And always remember, avoid caffeine less than 8 hours before you go to bed so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

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      Pro Tip: Because you know a caffeine crash will typically have you falling asleep about 8-12 hours after you drink it, plan to have a big cup of coffee twelve hours before an overnight flight. You’ll sleep like a baby.

      Who can caffeinate

      Obviously if you want to drink coffee or caffeinated tea, we aren’t trying to stop you. But it is helpful to note that it does affect certain people differently.

      Caffeine has been shown to make introverts perform poorer on tasks that are quantitative and done under time pressure because introverts are more stimulated by their environment; that extra bit of stimulation provided by caffeine can push an introvert over the edge.[2]

      Interestingly enough, it’s been found to have the exact opposite effect for extroverts. If you’re a very outgoing and social person, caffeine before a big task could be perfect for you.

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      For ambiverts, or those who fall somewhere in the middle, strategically consuming caffeine will be your best bet.

      What works best for you?

      Some of the strategy involves experimenting. You may find your 6am cup of java gets you to 10am only, but that’s when you typically have some kind of protein to get you through. Others may discover they should drink coffee later – perhaps 9:30am when their cortisol is naturally lower – and it changes their whole day. Regardless of what you discover works best for you, the goal is to time your crash.

      Personally, I like to go to bed around 10:30p.m. I like to make sure to have my caffeine 12 hours earlier so I can hop into bed and fall asleep. Once you figure out what schedule works best for you, you’ll be amazed at the difference a cup can make.

      Reference

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      Sam Aloysius

      Self proclaimed chai expert

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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