By John Sonmez December 8, 2016

Drinking Coffee & “I Don’t Have Enough Time”

Today we are going to talk about two different but relatable topics, when it comes to being a productive software developer.

So, the first topic we are going to address is the drinking coffee problem. I know a lot of developers have trouble when it comes to drinking coffee. Most people use coffee as a crutch to get energy during the day.

According to Body Ecology, “Research is finding that one reason so many people are addicted to coffee, is that they may be deficient in dopamine.”
“However, while this research may give people the license to drink more coffee, it is misleading. This is because the coffee itself may then lead to an increase in the root of the depression by further taxing your system, creating more stress, and damaging the delicate pH of your stomach.”
(Source: http://bodyecology.com/articles/are-you-using-coffee-as-a-crutch-for-happiness)

So, how is your relation with coffee and how does it affect your overall performance?

Besides that, we're also going to talk about the famous argument “I don't have enough time”. Do you really don't have time or are you “mis-managing” everything? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what’s up, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got a question, this is another health and fitness related video, but this one is on coffee drinking. It’s a little bit off topic at first, but I think it’s worth reading you here. This question is from Jay and he says, “I’ve been following your content for about 10 months, now I believe after you released the Simple Programmer podcast. I think a lot of your ideologies are great and there is rarely anything you say that I disagree with in general. I would really like to start following your advice on getting girls and becoming confident in general, however, I find that when I focus too much on chasing girls since to get anywhere with them often requires a lot of attention, I fall behind on my career goals and waste a lot of time.” All right, good, yeah, don’t do that then. “How would you recommend dealing with social life and meanwhile studying software development? To add to the context, I’m 23, I work fulltime, go to school part time some semesters and full time some semesters and I have 2 kids. I ended up asking a question completely unrelated to what I actually want to ask. Scratch that, but this might be an interesting topic for you.” I’ll actually address some of that too. “So my original question was going to be … What is your take on coffee consumption or caffeine in general? Good, bad, somewhere in the middle? I don’t consider myself a heavy coffee drinker since I can go days without it unlike most people I know. However, I do find it hard to study, work on side projects, or do homework after a long day and I need a grab of cup of coffee so I can get things done. I don’t want to become dependent on coffee to be able to be productive but it’s the only that works most of the time. Sometimes I can get away with a cup of tea but still, caffeine. Regards, Jay.”

Jay, you’re a little scatterbrain there. Maybe you drank too much coffee before you wrote that email. Let’s see, where to address? Let me see, the first thing that you talked about was how to deal with social life while maintaining studying and software development. That’s tough. I think—we’ve got some bells ringing, Santa Claus. It must be Christmas here. Doesn’t it feel like Christmas? Where’s the snow? All right. We’ll just listen to those bells for a little bit. It’s a long series of bells. That’s why Santa Claus is coming down.

Well, that’s enough of that. We’re just going to plow on through, forget the bells. Anyway, here’s the thing, anything that you’re trying to undertake, any serious undertaking that you’re going to try to undertake is going to require sacrifice. If you’re seriously like—if your schedule is loaded and you’re really devoted to enhancing your career as much as possible, I’m not going to lie, your social life is going to suffer. It is just going to, especially with everything you’ve got on your plate. Something has to give. You’re going to have to make sacrifices somewhere.

The first place I always ask people to make a sacrifice is watching TV because that’s just stupid. Why are you watching TV? That’s a waste of your time. If you feel like you don’t have enough time and you’re spending any amount of hours watching TV, just unplug it, throw it in the trash can and never turn it on again because that’s just a total waste of time.

That’s where I would start. If you still don’t have enough time and I’ve done this—I did this blog post on how you’re wasting your time, check out that blog post and you can go through that. If you still don’t have enough time, then it means that you just have o make a sacrifice. You might just have to sacrifice your social life for some period of time in order to get ahead. I like to live my life in phases where I’m focused on one thing very much for a phase and then at a different point in my life—there’s more bells, different bells. This is weird. Anyway, at a different point in my life I focus on something else.

So maybe what you’re going to do is you’re going to devote some amount of time to focusing on your career and building up your skills and getting your job or whatever, and then once you’ve got that going then maybe you focus some period of time in your life on increasing your fitness goals and getting in shape or something like that. Then maybe after that then you work on improving your social life and your skills, your social circle. The bells are ringing and kids are yelling. This is crazy!

Anyway, you see what I’m saying? You might want to shift between those things. Now let’s talk about the caffeine. I need some caffeine! Dang it! Anyway, I don’t really care that much about caffeine. First of all, I don’t like anything to be a crutch. I’ll probably do a video on alcohol and smoking and why I don’t like those things especially alcohol mainly because I don’t like anything that’s a crutch. I don’t want to utilize something that is going to help me get through that I won’t be able to do on my own. I’d rather build up my own personal strength and develop myself rather than relying on a crutch.

If you’re using caffeine as a crutch then you shouldn’t use it. With that said, I took a caffeine pill this morning. I didn’t actually drink coffee because with my diet program I’m taking caffeine and ephedrine because it’s a proven stack. I know some people think ephedrine is dangerous, fine, whatever. You can argue with me and tell me I’m killing myself or whatever, but it’s been effective for bodybuilders for 20 years.

I take caffeine and ephedrine a few times a day and if I don’t have caffeine, if I have to taper off of it I definitely feel it. I don’t feel like it really affects my productivity that much though. If it does for you, then okay, there’s not really much harm in it. I don’t think there’s much harm in drinking coffee. Just realize that you’re going to be handicapping yourself. If you’re relying on the caffeine in order to get stuff done and you can’t work without caffeine, you’re going to be handicapping yourself and using that as a crutch instead of developing your focus and concentration on your own which will be more valuable.

I would try to develop the focus and concentration and then if the caffeine enhances it, if it makes it better drinking some coffee then that’s great, that’s fine. But if you’re using it as a crutch then it’s bad. But overall, there’s lots of studies on caffeine and whether it’s good or bad. I think for the most part, a little bit of caffeine shows to be beneficial especially coffee. We won’t know for sure, but it definitely doesn’t seem to be extremely harmful. Weigh it out and see what you think.

I think you can go either way on it. There’s a couple of good books on it. You could search on Amazon. This is amazing with the bells, I got to tell you. You can search on Amazon and find books on caffeine. I think there’s one called Caffeine Blues or something like that and people—there’s people that are so against it and people that are so for it. I say use it in moderation and don’t become addicted to it and don’t rely on it and don’t use it as a crutch. That’s it. If you want to drink coffee, it’s not a huge deal. I drink coffee from time to time.

By the way, I’ve gone for periods without any coffee to test it, to see if it helps my mood, my state and everything. I found that I’m in a better mental state in general when I’m using some amount of caffeine or drinking coffee. Test it on yourself. See what you think and see what you come up with. That’s the best thing I could say.

Anyway, hopefully you enjoyed this video and the surprise visit from Santa Claus. If you want to get more videos with bells in them, this is the place for bells apparently. Just go ahead and click that subscribe button and you’ll get more videos with bells, ducks, screaming kids, all that kind of fun stuff here in San Diego and I would appreciate it. If you like this video, click the subscribe button or the like button and I’ll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."