From Our Desks: An Ode to Coffee

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I cannot start my day without a cup of coffee.  I’ve tried numerous times to break the habit. Not because I think it’s unhealthy, there’s plenty of research that enables me to carry on my addiction consequence-free. But, because the compulsion it has over me can be inconvenient at times. If I’m not at home, my morning must set off like an explorer, hunting out the nearest, decent coffeehouse. And if it’s cold or raining, that journey can be pure treachery, no one wants to start their day that way.

I’m aware there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, so despite my intermittent inconveniences, I recognize the good coffee brings to my life unquestionably outweighs the cons – therefore, cementing a lifetime commitment to my coffee relationship.

Think of all the career benefits that come from a good ‘ol cup of joe: endurance to finish yearly planning, coming up with creative solutions, and laser-focus on rows and rows of data, just to name a few. Let’s explore these benefits in detail so that we can give our liquid joy the educated appreciation it deserves.

Endurance

Studies show that caffeine, the very caffeine that’s floating in our mug, can increases alertness, wakefulness, and feelings of “energy,”, while also decreasing the sense of effort associated with physical activity. Basically, fueling us to do more while making it feel like it’s easy…AKA super powers. In fact, coffee’s caffeine has ergogenic benefits – in that it actually improves endurance performance.

Creativity

The coffee bean itself isn’t going to make you think of the next Snapchat or Uber. But what it can do is promote actions that lead you down that road. In an article from Redbooth, research from MIT found that coffee can help people be more creative both individually and in a group setting. Sitting together over coffee at work can break down normal social and professional barriers, leading to more casual or freewheeling conversations. For some, drinking coffee stimulates their brains, blowing out the cobwebs and making room for innovative thinking or a bolt of inspiration. Others thrive when they work in a coffee shop because the ambient noise that improves their creativity.

Focus

It’s hard to focus when you’re tired and have a never-ending to-do list. So whenever I have to bunker down and complete out a lengthy project, you best believe it’s been fueled by some java.  The EFSA evaluated a significant number of studies and concluded that caffeine increases both selective and sustained attention. Meaning that when you drinking your brew, your able focus on the task at hand and can do so for a longer period than you would sans-coffee. However, the caveat is, you need to figure out your tipping point because increasing your intakes do not necessarily result in an increase in alertness. Too much and you’ll just jitter your way through the rest of the day.

In addition to improving focus, drinking coffee can also make you smarter. A study from PLOS found that the caffeine value of 2 cups of coffee prompted the brain to identify words and phrases more quickly. The study also found that coffee consumption leads to improved short-term memory and an increased ability to solve reason-based problems.

I think it’s important to hug your handle with an extra appreciative intention as you start each day. It’s what’s going to get you through it, get the job done,  and its time here is limited, after all… coffee is apparently going extinct.

So let’s lift our mugs to productive days and higher focus!

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