It seems like most people in the professional world have grown to not only love coffee, but depend on it. After all, caffeine’s effects on our focus and alertness have made us seemingly more productive. After a cup of coffee you feel bright, energized, and motivated, so it’s got to be great for your career, right?
The truth is more blurry. While there are many benefits of moderate coffee intake, excessive coffee consumption could actually be harming your career. Here’s how:
1. Coffee Makes You Skip Breakfast. This isn’t true for everybody, but you definitely know who you are. You wake up late, you scramble to get ready for work and you say to yourself, “I don’t have time for breakfast. I’ll just grab a coffee on the go.” Coffee is great for waking us up and giving us energy to start the day, but that energy is an illusion — without the high-quality calories needed to fuel your body and mind, you only think you’re more energetic. The truth is, skipping a nutritive breakfast can lower your focus even with caffeine in your system, and decrease your productivity as well.
2. It Makes You Okay With Sleep Deprivation. How many times have you stayed up late to finish a project, not fearing the effects of sleep deprivation because you can wake yourself up with a cup of coffee in the morning? If you’re a working professional coffee drinker, chances are it’s happened more than once. Knowing that coffee can help us feel more alert and focused in the short term makes us more comfortable with depriving ourselves of sleep for short-term gains. However, sleep deprivation can wreak total havoc on your career, causing you to lose focus, lose productivity, and even develop long-term physical and mental health complications.
3. It Fuels Insomnia. The cycle gets even worse when you consider the fact that drinking lots of caffeine throughout the day can actually encourage the onset of insomnia. Drinking too much caffeine or drinking caffeine too close to bed time can make your body stay up far longer than under ordinary circumstances, even if you’re trying to get to sleep. This makes you extra tired the next day, which forces you to drink more coffee, which fuels the cycle further. Pretty soon, you’ll be so sleep deprived that not even caffeine can snap you out of it, and your career will take a massive hit.
4. It’s Taking All Your Money. It’s true that money isn’t everything, but money is a big part of why we go to work in first place. If you end up blowing most of your salary on unnecessary, temporary items, it could defeat the primary function of your job and make you work longer for the same amount of money. According to data from 2014, more than a third of all Americans drink gourmet coffee on a daily basis, with younger people willing to pay more than $3 for a good cup of coffee. Take $3, assuming 7 or more cups of coffee a week, and that’s over a thousand dollars a year that you could be saving — at the very least.
5. It’s Raising Your Blood Pressure. Caffeine naturally raises your blood pressure, which isn’t so bad in small doses. But in combination with a stressful lifestyle (such as you’d find in a demanding job), that blood pressure can skyrocket, putting you at risk for a number of other health complications. The higher blood pressure and shallow breathing caused by excessive caffeine intake can even limit the amount of oxygen that flows to your brain, making it harder for you to complete even basic tasks and interfere with your responsibilities.
6. It Makes You Slack Off. The stimulant effects of coffee make it seem like it would help you work harder. However, a recent study seems to imply that excessive caffeine intake can actually make you slack off. In a comparative study involving rats, lazy rats showed no difference in productivity after a high intake of caffeine, but other, naturally hardworking rats actually performed worse after consuming caffeine. If you’re a hard worker, consuming high amounts of caffeine could be making you perform less or perform worse, even if you don’t consciously realize it.
7. You’re Building a Tolerance. Caffeine is a stimulant, and like with any stimulant, its effects can be addictive. Over time, as you drink more and more coffee on a regular basis, your body will become used to the effects of caffeine and build up a tolerance to them. That means you’ll need to consume even more caffeine in order to get the same effects, compounding all the other harmful effects. What’s worse is that, if you let your coffee addiction grow, ceasing your intake will result in a difficult and painful physical withdrawal. If you don’t keep your habit in check, the end result is drinking six cups of coffee a day or trying to work through your withdrawal — and neither are good for your career.
If you keep your caffeine intake under control, you don’t have to worry about coffee ruining your career. A cup of coffee on most mornings can actually be good for you, but when you let your habit become an addiction, it can devastate your productivity, your motivation, and even your physical health. Moderation is the key.
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