How to Lifehack Your Coffee Intake

Your colleague leans over and asks you if you would like to grab a coffee.

When you answer, what runs through your head? Do you think about…

  • How much you want to procrastinate?
  • Whether your boss would approve of your break?
  • What time of day it is?
  • What you have to do after you drink that cup of joe?

In this blog post, I’ll teach you the questions that you should ask so that you can lifehack your coffee intake.

First and foremost, should you be worried about your health?

Over the years, coffee has received a bad rap. However, according to Dr. Rob van Dam of Harvard University, you don’t have to worry…

…if you are not drinking more than 6 cups of joe a day. Drinking as many as 6 cups of coffee is not associated with an increased risk of death–much less an increased risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

With that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s lifehack your caffeinated beverage intake!

What time of day is it?

During the day, there are certain times when we are naturally perky. Our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol, which makes us feel awake and alert.

According to Steven Miller, Ph.D., our bodies naturally produce cortisol:

  • Between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

In order to lifehack your coffee intake, you do not want to drink your coffee while your body is producing cortisol because it will diminish the effects of your coffee intake. Instead, you want to drink coffee after your cortisol levels have dropped.

Specifically, you want to drink your coffee:

  • Between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
  • Between 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

To help you out, ILoveCoffee has created an infographic:

What type of work should you do after you drink a cup of coffee?

In a previous post, I explained why alcohol helps boost your creativity. To recap, alcohol helps your brain relax. It enables you to stop being hyper-rational, and it allows you to see new connections. For instance, you want to drink alcohol before brainstorming activities.

Coffee, unlike alcohol, is a stimulant, and the caffeine does not help your brain relax. Instead, it stops your brain from slowing down, which makes creativite endeavors difficult. But fear not! Caffeine is good for other types of activities!

When your brain is in overdrive, you want to do tasks that seem second-nature to you. Caffeine can help you if you are tired and working on tasks that are very straightforward and don’t require a lot of abstract thinking. In other words, you want to work on data entry, simple arithmetic, or line editing (if that is easy for you).


Generally speaking, you want to drink your coffee:

  • Between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
  • Between 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

When your caffeine high kicks in, you want to start work on simple tasks. Perhaps some data entry. Some simple arithmetic. Creating charts for a power point presentation – anything that is easy for you or has a set workflow.

Good luck riding that caffeine high!


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Image credit: Michael Dales

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