Art of Life/Donna Parker

columnist

Does Coffee Really Increase Your Productivity

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“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy coffee.” — Unknown

It is hard to imagine not starting a morning without coffee. The majority of people reach for a cup of coffee soon after they open their eyes in the morning — 65% of all coffee is consumed during breakfast hours. Coffee is not only a cult drink but also an industry with millions of jobs worldwide related to its production, distribution, and serving. 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup per day.

But how much of the coffee phenomenon is just our imagination and self-suggestion? And how substantial is the scientific part behind it?

A recent study used productivity tracking software on a business’ employees’ computers and compared the stats to the number of coffees the workers made throughout the day. The goal was to look at how coffee usage affects performance. After a week the results showed.

The Results: Wake up and Smell the Coffee!

In one day, an average of 215 coffees are consumed within the office. With just over 100 employees, that averages out to about two coffees per employee, per day.

The results confirmed that coffee does increase the overall work performance of office workers. Productivity levels soared for most of the people right after drinking coffee, with peak consumption times being around 9 a.m., and then again roughly at 12:30 p.m.. However, the productivity surge was limited. Within 2.5 hours after coffee consumption, employee work performance levels went as low as they possibly could — even lower than before workers set out to make their coffees. This means that coffee provides only a temporary productivity boost.

Does Science Agree? Scientists have long-since touted the benefits of coffee — the energy boost thanks to caffeine, the antioxidants that stave off the damage caused by free radicals. However, coffee has also been known to have negative effects — dehydration, insomnia, and addiction, to name a few. Coffee can be seen as a temporary solution for reducing the feeling of tiredness and enhancing brain performance.

How to Consume Caffeine Smartly and Improve Work Performance

We credit caffeine to start our day, often citing it as a driving force behind our ability to work. No wonder coffee has become the most pervasive drug throughout America, with 25 percent of coffee drinkers identifying as addicted to coffee. That said, there is no harm in drinking coffee if you do it smartly and in moderation. Follow these tips to benefit from your relationship with caffeine:

First, look at your own productivity routine and choose to drink coffee at times when you feel you need it most. Track the times when you drink coffee and note the effects that it has on you. If you feel more alert and productive, how long does this effect last? If a couple of hours later you feel lower than ever, does the next cup of coffee bring instant recovery? Also, choose to drink coffee between 10 and 11:30 a.m. and between 2 and 5 p.m., when your cortisol levels dip naturally. Your body will most appreciate a caffeine boost at these times.

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Substitute coffee drinking with a walk or exercise. There are many other ways to boost your productivity apart from drinking coffee. For example, a study revealed that the most effective work pattern for employees is 52 minutes of work followed by a 17 minute break. There are also many office exercises that help your brain relax and reload while bringing many health benefits to your body.

Next time you are in a good mood, take a cup of joe to prolong that feeling. It has been proven that coffee stimulates the release of dopamine that produces euphoria and pleasant feelings. Whatever your coffee-drinking habits, be careful not to find yourself inside a daily vicious circle pumped by caffeine!

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