Bad News for Journalists and PR: Coffee Is Terrible for Productivity

coffeeJust when you thought all was right with the world and your local barista got your order right (you know the one)…

A grande extra hot soy with extra foam, split shot with a half squirt of sugar-free vanilla and a half squirt of sugar-free cinnamon, a half packet of splenda, all in a venti cup. And fill up the “room” with extra whipped cream with caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top. 

…turns out that coffee might not be the world’s second greatest beverage after all.

It’s no secret that hacks and flacks alike are terribly addicted to coffee, but now a study tells us that coffee may be the worst thing for productivity.

We read something horrifying in Inc.:

Travis Bradberry, co-founder of emotional intelligence testing and training company TalentSmart, is out with a new post on LinkedIn that makes the case as to why your daily coffee habits are terrible for your personal productivity. Bradberry points to research from Johns Hopkins Medical School, which suggests that those good vibes and the boost in energy you get from drinking a cup of coffee are the results of temporarily reversing the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

You know what this means? Newsrooms will come to a standstill. PR pros will crash and wake up to find the space bar engraved in their forehead. Client meetings will require live entertainment to keep people awake. Bradberry goes on to explain why coffee also results in a loss of inhibitions. He says that caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline—the source of the “fight or flight” response.

“The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email.”

And then there’s this harrowing news: it may not be work stress and deadlines that are keeping you awake.

It’s your java intake, you junkie!

If your morning ritual involves having a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., 25 percent of that caffeine will still be in your body at 8 p.m. When you do turn in for the night, any caffeine left in your body will result in reduced REM sleep–the deep sleep your body needs to recharge.

Somewhere, Starbucks is rethinking its direct response strategy for communications.