Use Caffeine Strategically
The third energy idea that I have for you, is drinking caffeine strategically. Out of all the pieces of advice that I give, this upsets the most people, to put it lightly. People are very into caffeine, so let me try to sale you on this. One of the most um, interesting for me, experiments I that I conducted was drinking only water for a month. And so for one month I cut out caffeine, I cut out alcohol, I cut out the sugary drinks that I had, which was mostly just like fruit juices cause I don't drink that much soda, and what I found is that unlike the slob experiment, during this one I had an insane amount of energy, with very few energy fluctuations. And more than that, is it kind of taught me to think about how what I drank affected my energy and my productivity. Like alcohol is a good example of one, alcohol actually benefits our um creativity. Because it, you know just as being tired benefits our creativity because our mind is less inhibited, by having, not an excessive amount, but...
like a glass out of that box, you can like benefit your productivity a little bit. Because you become more creative. If you have to focus on something after then God help you. But it does help you in that moment. But, in this way, during this experiment, I began to view alcohol a bit differently. It helps us in very select cases, but it really dampens our productivity much of the rest of the time. And I began to view drinking alcohol as a way, through which we borrow both energy, as well as happiness from the next day. And so, we start off, we reclaim energy but then we pay that back in the morning. What about caffeine though? Caffeine can hijack our energy levels just as much. And, I would argue, that it would be a no brainer for our productivity, if it weren't for one thing. We crash, afterwards. Um, and this crash is kind of dampened when we drink certain types of caffeine, like green tea, that has l'theanine and other helpful ingredients in it. But we invariably experience this crash, eight to fourteen hours later. And because of this fact, I would argue that we need to use this boost wisely. Right. It's such a powerful boost in our productivity. Where we can essentially, out of nowhere, just summon energy that we can use in that moment to focus more deeply on something. It's remarkable. But we do pay that cost back and so it's worth becoming deliberate about when we drink caffeine. Right. We can use it strategically for these three daily tasks. For tasks that require more complexity, we can reward ourself for an example, when we do something aversive, that requires more focus. We can use it to benefit out workout. Caffeine benefits workout performance, um across the board. We can use it when we're in an important meeting or giving an important presentation. I do have an asterisk next to this one though. And it's for a fascinating reason. It turns out that, if you're an introvert, your performance might actually suffer when you're drinking caffeine before an important meeting or presentation. Because introverts are more stimulated by their environment by default, and so the caffeine might just put them over the edge and overstimulate them. But, if you're an extrovert who benefits from that extra stimulation, you're performance might benefit as well. I'm more of an ambivert, maybe a bit on the introversion side of the spectrum, and I find it benefits me. But, again, just like the rest of the advice here, you're mileage may vary. Um, it's a fascinating little asterisk, how caffeine, it gives us more energy, but in some curious ways. It's important to note that the effects diminish after two to three cups, then we start feeling more anxiety and some more fatigue, our adrenals get stressed. Um, and there is actually, science says, a best time of the day to drink a cup of coffee. That time is between nine thirty and eleven thirty p.m., no, a.m., I was just kidding. Because our cortisol levels are the lowest. And so we're the less, least stressed by our environment, so we're less motivated by what's going on around us. And so when we have that cup of coffee, it kind of stresses us out a little bit, it gives us a bit more energy, it puts us a bit on edge. But we need it, like without stress, we wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. Right. Stress is essential, and caffeine can help us get to that energy level too. But again, it's worth cutting it out eight to fourteen hours before bed. Um, everybody metabolizes caffeine differently, there's some people who will say, man I can drink coffee up until seven p.m. and I'm totally fine, and they might be, because everybody's wired differently, everybody has a different rate at which they metabolize caffeine. So that's Drinking Caffeine Strategically, I hope I didn't upset you too much. So these energy changes, these involve habits, and most of things that I'm talking about today involve habits, and the fascinating thing about them, is that they're hard to integrate into our life. Because, of this idea right here, when we're so motivated to make a change, a habit takes very little energy to integrate into our life. You know, we don't need much willpower, but then we start to get into the eff it stage and then it takes more effort, more willpower, that we need to expand to work a change into our life. We're so motivated at New Years to hit the gym everyday, at least judging by the number of people at the gym at New Years. And, at that point, the amount of willpower is quite low that we need to maintain that habit with. But eventually, the change becomes harder, and it takes more willpower to continue with it. And so because of this, until a change becomes a habit, and then we start, we get to slide down this curve, until we hit the end and we have worked a habit into our life. Then it's like brushing our teeth, or getting up in the morning, whatever habit is so integrated into your life that you don't need to think about it anymore.