Increase productivity without caffeine
Published March 3, 2023
Do you need caffeine to be productive?
Yes? If you do, you’re certainly not alone and not entirely without reason. Many people rely on a cuppa to get going in the morning or to stay focused throughout the day.
Caffeine is a well‐known stimulant that has notable effects including increasing energy, decreasing perception of fatigue and improving sense of performance. There’s also some evidence to suggest that caffeine‐containing beverages may act as cognition enhancers.
How does caffeine increase productivity?
Caffeine works not only as a brain stimulant; it also blocks receptors for a chemical called adenosine. Adenosine prevents the release of excitatory brain chemicals. With adenosine blocked, excitatory neurotransmitters flow more freely — giving you a surge of energy and potentially improving mental performance.
An important point to remember is that most caffeine studies on performance enhancement are done on people with no or low tolerance to caffeine. You may not get the same performance-enhancing results if you regularly consume caffeine and have built up a tolerance too it.
Also keep in mind that adding lots of sugar or milk, or getting caffeine from sugar/artificially sweetened soft drink, may also counter any benefits.
What are the long-term effects of caffeine?
While drinking a cup of coffee may help improve performance in the short-term, what are the long-term effects of frequent caffeine use?
Regular, heavy use of caffeine (such as more than four cups of coffee a day) may eventually cause:
- difficulty sleeping
- irritability and headaches
- dizziness and ringing in the ears
- muscle tremor
- weakness and fatigue
- quickened breathing rate
- poor appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
- increased thirst, frequent urination, or increased urine volume
How to be productive without caffeine
So if caffeine isn’t the answer, then what is? There are ways you can help increase your productivity without relying on a daily caffeine boost. Our top tips include:
- Find your productivity ‘prime time’ and prioritise— Everyone has a certain time of day when they’re most productive. Work out when your prime time is, then schedule your highest priority projects for that time.
- Take breaks— Regular breaks boost productivity, prevent decision fatigue and help you stay motivated. Get away from your desk, go for a quick walk, or grab a cup of herbal tea.
- Eliminate distractions— Avoid the trap of regularly checking your emails and socials as these can be huge time Instead, designate specific times of your day to handle your inbox or return messages.
- Wake up an hour earlier— Rising an hour earlier can give you extra time to get things done, often in a quiet house.
- Exercise — Exercise has been shown to improve concentration and memory, help us learn new tasks faster, enhance our creativity and boost our mental stamina. Incorporate exercise into your day. Some studies have shown that even exercising during your working day can improve performance.
- Drink water — Several studies have been done linking dehydration with decreased productivity in the workplace. Decreased mental and physical performance due to dehydration in some workplaces can also become a safety issue. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water during the day.
- Get a good night’s sleep — Getting enough sleep can make a big difference to your productivity. Turn off your devices early. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, helps your body establish a good sleep routine.
- Eat well — Nourish your body with much‐needed nutrients from fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, lean sources of protein and healthy fats. Speak to your healthcare practitioner for advice if you’re concerned about your diet.
- Learn to relax —While some stress can be good for us, too much stress can impact our productivity levels and the quality of our work. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, try to consciously relax your muscles and slow yourself down by doing some slow deep breathing. Take a deep breath in, hold for three seconds and then slowly breathe out. It’s also a good idea to have an outlet from your daily stresses such as exercise, yoga or meditation.
Can supplements help?
There are a variety of nutritional and herbal supplements that may help improve your focus and performance. For example:
- American gingeng —American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) has a unique profile of compounds known as ginsenosides that may improve cognitive performance.
- Brahmi — Brahmi is an Ayurvedic herb that has been shown in human studies to improve memory performance and cognitive function in adults.
- Panax ginseng — Panax ginseng has been used traditionally throughout Asia for over 2000 years. Meaning ‘all healing’ ginseng was considered a traditional Chinese herb for general weakness, helping the body adapt to stress, and for cognitive function.
- Ginkgo biloba — Ginkgo has been shown to improve peripheral blood circulation and may support cognitive function in older population groups.
- B vitamins — B vitamins are a group of vitamins that work synergistically at a cellular level and are essential to nervous system function. B vitamins are needed to help your brain function, relieve fatigue, produce neurotransmitters and support energy production.
For additional support for improving your focus and performance, consider a supplement containing Cereboost®, B vitamins, Brahmi and Ginkgo biloba. Together, these natural ingredients may support memory and learning, relieve stress and support energy levels.
If you feel that you may require support from supplements to improve your productivity, you can learn about which Nature’s Own products may be appropriate for you. Please visit your healthcare professional to discuss if supplements are right for you.
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