My coffee habit and rules

August 7, 2012 by Joshua
in Blog, Fitness, Freedom

Everybody has their deal with how they drink coffee — how many cups per day, where they get it, etc. I’ve written about my habits. Here’s the coffee habit I designed for myself.

I should remind anyone I haven’t mentioned this to that I find creating habits creates freedom. Some things you have to figure out anew whenever they enter your life. But for things that happen the same every day, once you figure out what’s right for you, creating a habit frees you from having to think about it all the time.

I’m writing this post not to recommend you adopt my rule, but to show an example of a habit I created to create more freedom for myself. If I seem overly pedantic or analytical, try evaluating how I present it not against how you do it, but by how it affects my life. To me it adds freedom with no cost in time, money, or any other resource. Actually, it saves time and money too.

Note also that I deliberately thought about and created this habit for myself. Most habits, especially coffee habits, form by accident, not by design, giving habits a bad name. Habits you form deliberately based on thinking about what you want out of it, can improve your life a lot (as anyone who knows the philosophy behind Getting Things Done knows).

My coffee rule

My rule is I only drink coffee on days I was up late the night before for something important I couldn’t avoid and I have something important to be alert for that day.

If I was up late for something unimportant or I could have planned for it, I don’t drink coffee. Maybe the meeting won’t go well, but I’d rather suck up whatever punishment comes than reward behavior that leads to dependency. If I don’t have a reason to be alert the next day either I won’t drink it.

Why? Freedom, like any deliberate habit

Why these rules? Because they match coffee’s effect with me.

Coffee’s effect number 1: coffee gives me tons of energy and makes me feel great. And it’s tremendously effective. A quarter cup at 9am will keep me going until 5pm, no problem — happy, chatty, low appetite. A quarter cup in the afternoon and I may have trouble falling asleep that night.

Coffee’s effect number 2: you develop a tolerance toward it. I see people wake up in the morning cranky and all out of sorts, talking about nothing but coffee until they get their first cup. Then I don’t see them as happy as I feel when I have coffee. They seem just like me without the coffee. They say they feel better and like the taste, but they look like they just feel better than crappy and I like the tastes of lots of things.

Anyway, so coffee is an open-and-shut issue for me. I like how it works for me. On the one or two occasions per year it helps, since I haven’t developed a tolerance for it, it helps me a lot and it never brings me down. I don’t get how people spend so much time and money on it. I mean, I know what they say and I believe they believe what they say, but I don’t see the benefit to their lives they couldn’t get without it. And dependency on an outside chemical seems to me a tremendous hit to their freedom.

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