Is caffeine the answer to boosting productivity?

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Man drinking coffee
Do you need caffeine to be productive? 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 increases energy, decreases perception of fatigue and improves sense of performance.1 There’s also some evidence to suggest that caffeine‐containing beverages may act as cognition‐enhancers. Caffeine may be beneficial when consumed prior to a cognitive‐related task in which information is presented passively whereas in tasks in which material is learned intentionally, caffeine has no effect.1 It may also heighten working memory (short‐term memory) to a limited extent and improve reaction time.1

Unfortunately caffeine’s positive effects tend to diminish in long‐term coffee drinkers,1 it has no effect on long‐term memory and it tends to hinder performance in tasks that depend heavily on working memory.2 Additionally, caffeine in high doses, is associated with anxiety, nervousness and jitteriness,2 which isn’t conducive to productivity.

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’ – Everyone has a certain time of day when they’re more productive than others. Find out when your prime time is and schedule your highest priority projects at this time.
  • Take breaks – You can’t always be working at peak productivity. Take regular breaks to refresh by going for a quick walk or pouring a glass of water.
  • Eliminate distractions – Avoid the trap of regularly checking your emails and social networks as these can be huge time‐wasters. Instead, designate specific times of your day to handle all communication.
  • Wake up an hour earlier – Rising an hour earlier can give you extra time to get things done, often in a quiet house.
  • Exercise – Fitting exercise into your busy schedule is important as it helps reduce stress, improve concentration, increase energy and boost productivity.3 Sacrifice the comfort of the extra half an hour in bed and go for a walk or jog. Exercising in the morning rather than later in the day ensures that running out of time through the day doesn’t stop you from exercising.
  • Drink water – If you’re tired you’re unlikely to be very productive and the most common cause of daytime fatigue is mild dehydration.4 It’s therefore important to ensure you’re drinking adequate fluids throughout the day.
  • Consider natural support – There are herbs and nutrients available that may help improve your focus and performance. For instance:
    • Cereboost™ may improve working memory over six hours
    • Brahmi is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine assists cognitive function memory and learning
    • Ginkgo may increase blood flow to the brain
    • B vitamins may assist energy production

Taking these ingredients in combination may be beneficial for times when clarity of thought and attention are needed for example when studying or in a stressful work environment.

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Published March 3, 2015
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