Caffeinated And Getting Things Done

by Randy Murray on June 30, 2010

I love coffee. Black, strong, and hot. It’s a part of my family heritage, at least the black and hot part, and at least one of my daughters is following in my footsteps. The other seems more like her mother with the need to doctor it up with cream or various flavors.

But apparently I’m not drinking enough of it. The benefits of coffee drinking are adding up. Before the pendulum swings back the other way and it’s bad for you again, it looks like coffee drinking, over a long lifetime, might just help you live a long happy, life.

I drink, on average, just two cups a day. To receive the full benefits, I’d need to drink a total of three or four. But if I get jittery, the amount of clear thinking and good work I can do diminishes. So I’ll stick to my two cups.

I do use coffee as part of my process and ritual and, most importantly, my break schedule to help me stay productive over a long morning of work. Here’s what the general shape of it is:

  1. I grind the beans and make a pot of coffee first thing, within minutes of getting up, while the skillet is warming and before I make my wife and myself our morning omelets.
  2. After she has left for work around 7 A.M. and I’ve cleared the dishes, I pour a cup for myself and fill a small thermos.
  3. I climb the stair to my office and drink my first cup as I review email and the work for the day. Then I start writing.
  4. Around 9:30 or 10, depending on my workflow, I take a break, pour a cup of coffee and drink it as I check my email, twitter, and RSS feeds.
  5. I get back to work for another hour or so.
  6. If I have a big project coming together, I will occasionally have a third cup to fire me through the afternoon, but that’s not always necessary.

I’ve found that it’s not just the coffee and the caffeine that help me stay productive, it’s the ritual, the breaks, and the process. You can create your own, even if you don’t drink coffee. But having something other than work to let you step back, relax for a moment and enjoy something is important. Think about what that might be for you.

On second thought, I will have another. Make it black.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mari June 30, 2010 at 8:31 am

Funny how our morning rituals are the foundation for productivity. When out of town recently, a completely devastating blow to the most familiar of rituals, there was a morning where acquisition of my two cups of joe was detained until Noon. Yes. Noon. When finally infused with the delicious brew, I congratulated the Malibu view for keeping me awake through a caffeine-free morning. Oh, and two ibuprofen.


2 Randy Murray June 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I’m such a creature of habit and on those occasions when I’m forced out of them, I’m not particularly happy.

Here’s to always finding a hot cup of coffee to greet you in the morning!


3 Hal Brown June 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Like you, I love coffee. I can identify with this post - I too have a morning ritual, breakfast and coffee. There is no better time of day than early morning, alone, with breakfast and coffee. Then, to work and a cuppa Joe to sip on.
This makes me want more coffee.


4 Randy Murray June 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Thanks, Hal. Morning is my most productive time, too.

Now if I could just kick this damn bug so I could drink more coffee . . .


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