4 Coffee Tricks That Will Make You 10x More Efficient

Caffeine has power. Use it wisely.

girl drinking coffee PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock

Nearly 500,000,000,000 cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year.

That's a lot of caffeine! Caffeine — which has multiple pharmacological and physiological effects — is actually the most widely used central nervous system stimulant in the world.

But I doubt that many people understand the power of coffee/caffeine and know how to use it properly.

I’ve been drinking coffee for years now. Over time, I’ve figured out how to best navigate my coffee consumption to maximize the benefits caffeine has on my life.


In this article, I want to discuss a few tiny tweaks to your caffeine consumption that can help you do the same. Let’s dive in!

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Here are 4 coffee tricks that will caffeinate you much faster:

1. Substitute gum for coffee sometimes

Most people fail to understand that coffee retains power only as long as it can stimulate you. Many of us drink coffee way too much and in turn, our bodies get tolerant, and the effect is reduced.

  • We drink it when we wake up.
  • We drink it when we’re feeling sleepy and don’t want to sleep.
  • We drink it when we’re bored.

Basically, people drink coffee all the time.

I should know. I was one such person. However, I decided to change this when I realized that the effect of coffee on my body was getting reduced with time and I needed to drink more and more coffee just to get the same effect as earlier.

The scientific term for this effect is called tolerance.

To retain the power of coffee on my body, I had to reduce coffee use and use it only when I truly needed the power of coffee in my life.

So I did. But that didn’t last.

How to replace coffee:


You see, reducing coffee intake created a vacuum. I especially felt this vacuum when it was the middle of the day, and I felt sleepy but I couldn’t afford to sleep because I wanted to study.

To solve this issue, I re-began drinking coffee whenever I felt sleepy in the middle of the day. I continued for a while, before deciding to reduce consumption again. I went back and forth a few times actually, never finding a solution that works.

Enter, Gum.

I might sound stupid here, but Gum changed the way I consume coffee forever. You might be thinking what has Gum got to do with coffee? Fair question. Let me tell you.

You see, I was using coffee as a way to not feel sleepy whenever I felt sleepy. But then, I figured out that I could use gum to do the same.


Now, whenever I feel sleepy while studying or working, and I cannot or don’t want to drink coffee, I chew a piece of gum instead.

Why gum works as a coffee replacement:

  • When you chew a piece of gum, you’re fooling your brain into thinking that you’re eating something. And your brain knows that it cannot sleep when it’s eating — so it stops trying to get you to sleep.
  • At the same time, no food is actually going into your stomach. This is great too. When you eat something, blood from your all over your body — including your brain — is diverted to your stomach to help you digest and absorb that food. This is why people feel the need to nap post-lunch.
  • In a way, gum wakes you up the same way coffee does. And by substituting gum for coffee at times, you avoid being increasingly tolerant to caffeine.

Does this mean you’re meant to completely swap coffee for gum? Nope. Not at all.

Coffee is powerful. I simply want you to restrict coffee consumption for some specific purposes. We’ll talk about that in the next point.


Note: This doesn’t mean that you keep chewing gum all day, every day. This simply means that it’s a nice alternative to coffee if you want to reduce caffeine consumption. Also, if you’re going to do this, find a good brand of sugar-free, high-quality gum.

RELATED: People Who Drink Black Coffee Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths

2. Restrict your coffee consumption 

Coffee is actually very powerful. Research after research has shown that coffee...

In short, coffee can send you into a superior state of energy. But most people drink coffee even when they have to do easy work. That’s not a very wise use of caffeine’s power.


What I want you to do is reserve that superior state of energy only for cognitively and physically challenging work in your life.

For instance, I drink coffee only when:

  • I’m going to have a good writing session
  • I’m going to give an important 3-hour-long mock test
  • Or if I’m working out

Earlier, I would drink coffee mindlessly. I would drink it whenever I felt like drinking it — irrespective of what I’m going to do after drinking that cup of coffee.

But now, most of my caffeine consumption is restricted to the highest actions of my life. This works beautifully because:

  • By restricting coffee consumption to these purposes, you decrease overall consumption. This reduces the chances of tolerance. And consequently, the power of caffeine is retained — and exploited properly.
  • By restricting coffee consumption to higher actions in your life, coffee begins to enforce higher actions. For example, sometimes — I schedule a writing session just because I want to drink coffee!

Other than for the purposes of these higher actions, I avoid coffee as much as I can. I might drink coffee at times with a friend to enjoy a good conversation or if I’m going to read a great book. But these are exceptions.


3. Assign one purpose to your caffeine session

We discussed some short-term cognitive benefits of caffeine in the last point. To put it simply, caffeine sends you into a superior state of energy.

However, it’s also important that you learn how to channel that energy to the task at hand.

Here are a couple of maneuvers to ensure that.

Before drinking coffee: Browse through your task list and assign ONE purpose to your caffeine session

At any given time, I have a number of cognitively-challenging tasks to work on. That’s true for everyone. But earlier, I used to make the mistake of not clarifying to myself exactly what I’ll be working on before drinking my coffee.


I would drink my coffee and waste my time trying to decide what to work on. Often, I’d just mindlessly alternate between many tasks. This would dilute my focus and prevent me from doing deep work.

Now, every time before drinking my coffee, I browse through my list of tasks — and choose ONE task to focus my entire energy on. Examples:

  • "I’ll write this article about X."
  • "I’ll write the copy for this particular digital product."
  • "I’ll review the questions for this test."

This gives your one cup of coffee a singular purpose — which allows you to focus.

After or while drinking coffee: Walk through the gateway of flow

Once I take my first sip of coffee, I only have one goal: to enter flow. That’s what allows me to do the best work with absolute focus.


Here are a few things I do to enter flow:

  • I put my phone on DND and lock the door to my room, especially when I’m at home.
  • I put on my noise-cancellation headphones.
  • I play the "Peaceful Music" playlist on Apple Music.
  • I set a timer for an hour or 90 minutes because a timer ensures I stay focused. It both enforces a stay of flow — and prevents you from going out of it.

I’ve found that it takes me around 10–20 minutes to enter a state of flow. But once I’m in it — after consuming coffee — the focus I achieve and consequently, the work that I do is extraordinary.

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4. Don’t drink coffee immediately after waking up

Most people, like myself in the past, ingest caffeine right after waking up — within 30 minutes or so.


But there’s a problem with this approach as laid out by Andrew Huberman, a professor of Opthalmology and Neuroscience at the Stanford School of Medicine in this informative podcast.

To understand that properly, let me give you a brief understanding of this molecule called Adenosine and how caffeine affects its functions.

Adenosine and caffeine:

  • Your body has an energy currency called ATP or Adenosine Tri-Phosphate. (The three phosphate bonds are the ones that contain energy.)
  • When your body spends energy, ATP is broken down, and Adenosine builds up in your body.
  • Adenosine binds to receptors in your body and tells your body that you’re low on energy — and that you need to sleep to reconvert adenosine to ATP.
  • Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors. And hence, it makes you feel alert again.
  • When caffeine is washed out of your body, adenosine can bind to the receptors again, and you don’t feel alert anymore.

Drinking coffee soon after waking up leads to an afternoon crash because: 

  • When you sleep at night, adenosine in your body is recycled to form ATP.
  • Hence, when you wake up, you have lower levels of Adenosine in your body than you had while going to bed. However, Adenosine levels are still not zeroed out. There’s some adenosine left even after a good night’s sleep.
  • When you consume caffeine right after waking up, this adenosine doesn’t get to bind with its receptors. And hence, you feel alert. But note that this adenosine is not gone. It’s still there, waiting.
  • Once the effect of caffeine wears out, this by-standing adenosine starts binding to its receptors and it causes an afternoon crash.
  • This afternoon crash can prompt many people to consume caffeine again. And if that cup of coffee falls within 8–12 hours of someone’s bedtime, it will affect their ability to fall asleep or the quality of their sleep.

What to do instead:

Andrew Huberman says that instead of blocking Adenosine’s effect by drinking coffee right after waking up, you can wash out that adenosine altogether!

This can be done by:


Both of these acts will increase your cortisol — which in turn will help you wash out adenosine altogether and make you feel alert without consuming caffeine.

This can help you avoid the afternoon crash that results due to consuming coffee right after waking up.

Caffeine has many pros, but it has cons as well. Too much coffee can reduce sleep quality, and cause insomnia, dehydration, anxiety, high blood pressure and more.

That’s why you want to use it responsibly. Hence, you must never forget the basics of coffee consumption.

  • Dosage: 1–3mg of caffeine per kg of body weight per cup of coffee is considered appropriate with a maximum dose of up to 400mg per day. Try to stick to the power end of this range as much as you can.
  • Timing: Avoid caffeine use within at least 8 hours of your bedtime. Ideally, avoid it within 12 hours of your bedtime. Even if you have no problem falling asleep after consuming coffee, the quality of your sleep is still getting affected without you realizing it. Sleep is the bedrock of performance in life. It’s not worth sacrificing that for the benefits of coffee.
  • Frequency: Drink it responsibly, and only when needed. I feel it’s better to drink coffee every alternate day, instead of every day. Another option would be to have one week of complete caffeine abstinence every few weeks so that you can counter caffeine tolerance.
  • Avoid sugar and cream: As much as you can, try that you don’t consume too many calories with your coffee. An unchecked coffee can easily cross over 300-400 calories. That’s not what you want.

We discussed a few nuances of your caffeine consumption in this article:

  • Chew gum at times instead of drinking coffee when you’re feeling sleepy. This will help you feel awake without resorting to coffee. In the long run, this will help you to avoid developing tolerance.
  • Restrict caffeine consumption to the highest actions of your life — like doing cognitively and physically challenging work. It’s okay to enjoy a conversation or a good book over a cup of coffee every once in a while — but don’t overdo it.
  • Assign ONE purpose to every single cup of your coffee and make sure you enter flow after drinking coffee to channel the energy.
  • Avoid coffee for 1.5 hours after waking up. Get sunlight and/or do some exercise instead.

All these tweaks are geared towards the same goal. Remember, you want to consume coffee in a way that allows you to exploit the energy it provides for the highest actions of your life!

RELATED: 8 Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal & How Long It Lasts If You Stop Drinking Coffee

Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.