The relationship between productivity, creativity and coffee.
A few years ago, a good friend of mine launched Black Insomnia Coffee. For those of you who are unaware, Black Insomnia Coffee is considered the world’s strongest coffee. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on it in Canada where I lived for the last two years. Recently, I moved back to the UK, and for the previous month, I have been helping update some of the technology behind Black Insomnia Coffee. You will be glad to know that this includes ensuring we have international shipping options.
To say it has given me a robust boost each morning over the last month would not do it justice. I really wouldn’t want to start my day any other way. I believe I am far more productive after grabbing a cup of coffee as it helps me get the ideas flowing. A day started without my tasty old Black Insomnia brew would be like night and day. Yes, in my case, the difference in my productivity and creativity is sometimes that stark. I don’t believe I am alone in saying that.
For many people around the world, waking up and starting your day with a cup of coffee is of paramount importance. That leads me to wonder what about my favourite brew is helping me to not only be more productive but kick start those creative juices as well.
I wasn’t interested in the well-documented science behind caffeine as a central nervous system stimulant in particular, but rather attempt to quantify if there is a relationship between my love of coffee and my creativity. The web is already full of articles about what gives coffee that pick-me-up pep and at almost three times stronger than Starbucks’ dark roast and more than six times stronger than McDonald’s coffee, I am without a doubt more productive.
As a starting point, I had to consider what creativity is. From a scientific perspective, creativity is your ability to think of something original from connections made between pre-existing ideas in our brain. Brains are made up of many tissues, cells and hormones working together, but in our case, we will focus on a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine is the chemical that relays information between nerve signals to regulate your body. It alerts your brain when you are running out of energy and reacts by slowing down the connections made between neurons by binding to adenosine receptors. When energy levels get low, adenosine alerts your brain to slow down brain functioning. Now you know why you begin to feel tired, after a few hours of work.
Typically, the only way to recharge is to rest. That is, of course, unless you have a secret weapon handy like Black Insomnia Coffee. After drinking a fresh cup, I land up feeling far more focused. I find that in conversation, my words flow freely without pauses, ums, or ahs. If I’m coding, my fingers never stop typing. My thoughts flow freely, and I overflow with ideas, but why?
Science says this happens because caffeine blocks your adenosine receptors, thereby preventing adenosine from binding. This tricks your brain into thinking you have lots of energy. The best part is it all happens within 5 minutes of drinking Black Insomnia Coffee. It turns out that when adenosine receptors are effectively blocked, chemicals like glucose, dopamine, and glutamate increase the performance of your neural activity, thereby allowing you to work into overtime.
The best part is the peak effect of caffeine on your body happens between 15 minutes and 2 hours after you consume it. You feel like you have more energy. When caffeine enters your bloodstream, you become more alert from an increase in the production of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. So it turns out I wasn’t wrong. Black Insomnia Coffee’s boost is what’s behind giving me a “double dose” of both an increase in productivity and getting my creative juices flowing again.