Increasing Productivity Without an Extra Cup of Coffee

Contributed by Bryce Ward

It’s no secret: American love coffee. Coffee not only helps us shake the morning glaze out of our eyes, it helps us stay productive throughout the day even when we start becoming mentally and/or physically fatigued. Whether you’re a CEO or an intern, the next great novelist or a blog writer, coffee can help you bump up your productivity to the next level. But is it the only way?

Medical experts agree that a reasonable amount of caffeine can be beneficial not just for your mental alertness but even for your overall health. However, you can only drink so much coffee before you start experiencing counterproductive symptoms. And if you still feel like your productivity levels could use a boost even after a day of sipping coffee, you may want to consider these alternatives.

  • Green Tea – If you’re insistent on caffeine as a productivity booster, try substituting green tea in place of your afternoon coffee. It contains less caffeine than coffee so you are less likely to experience the common jittery symptoms associated with too much coffee. It also has neurological benefits and packs a high dose of antioxidants.
  • Take a Break – As counterproductive as it may sound, simply taking a brief break from work can help improve your overall productivity throughout the day. Here at The Artist Evolution, for example, we will occasionally play a game of Foosball to give our minds a quick break so that when we return to work we have higher level of energy and focus.
  • Sleep – Most employers don’t have sleeping pods in their offices like Google where employees can go to take a quick power nap, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the benefits sleep has on productivity. Taking a nap during the day often isn’t practical, but getting the right amount of sleep overnight will help you keep your engine running for longer during the day.
  • Physical Exercise – Exercise improves productivity because it improves both your physical and mental well-being; incorporating it into your workday, however, can be challenging. If you have foosball table in your office, you can combine the benefits of taking a mental break with the benefits of physical exercise. But not all office spaces have room for a foosball table – some alternatives include stretching while at your desk or taking a short walk to refill on water, or perhaps some coffee if you haven’t reached your daily limit. Similar to sleep, though, you don’t have to engage in physical exercise during work hours to reap its benefits. Simply commuting to work by bike, for example, has been scientifically proven to help kickstart the day and improve overall well-being.

Despite the individual benefits of each of these alternatives, no one approach will wholly optimize your productivity. You can only drink so much caffeine before you become mentally fatigued. Physical exercise is a great way to improve mental alertness and energy levels, but only if you get enough sleep, or else you’ll end up needing to take more than just a power nap. The key to optimizing your productivity levels lies in balancing as many as these things as possible. So next time you’re considering pouring that fourth cup of Joe, you may want to consider these alternatives.