You may have already heard that Jake Knapp and John  Zeratsky, two of the designers of YouTube and Gmail, are releasing a book about time management entitled Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day.

While I'm not entirely certain the world needs another book on time management (most of which seem to recycle the same ideas), an article that recently appeared on the CNBC website suggests Knapp and Zeratsky might have something original to say.

For one thing, their book is apparently critical of the much-touted "zero inbox," which is arguably the dumbest time management idea of all time. They say scrolling through social media is a huge time-waster. Less controversial, that, but a point that needs making.

More important, though, Knapp and Zeratsky are examining the role that coffee plays in time management. Now that's something new and, from what I can see, their observations are dripping with insight. Here's the gist of their observations:

1. Start your workday (not your day) with a coffee break.

To get the maximum benefit from your first cup of coffee, don't drink it when you first get out of bed or during your commute. Instead, wait until you're already at work. The reason is simple.

When you wake up, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that works similarly to caffeine. Adding caffeine to cortisol can create stress (you overdose on energy). At about two hours, though, your cortisol level drops, making it the perfect time for a jolt of caffeine.

The implication here is that you should start your workday with a coffee break, rather than do what most people do, which is have their first cup when they wake up and their second cup around 10:30 a.m. (the traditional coffee-break time).

2. Take a second coffee break after lunch.

Most people try to hit the ground running after lunch, figuring that they've spent time recharging. However, it makes much more sense, from a standpoint of maintaining your energy level, to have a coffee break about 30 minutes after lunch.

What you don't want to do is wait to drink your coffee until the post-lunch energy dip (usually about 2 p.m. for most folk). As Knapp and Zeratsky put it: "The tricky thing about caffeine is that if you wait to drink it until you get tired, it's too late."

3. Take a nap right after your second coffee break.

Probably drawing on the extensive academic research on this subject, Knapp and Zeratsky treat the midday "power nap" as an excellent use of your time. Surprisingly, though, they don't see the nap as an alternative to the second coffee break but as a way to supercharge it.

Here's their logic: Caffeine takes about half an hour to have its full effect on your system. Therefore, if you take a 15-minute nap right after you drink your second cup, you'll wake up both refreshed from the nap and energized by the caffeine.

Needless to say, the regimen described above isn't what most people follow. However, it jibs with everything that I've been reading about coffee, naps, time management, and productivity. If their book contains more advice like this, it's gonna be a must-read.

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Published on: Aug 30, 2018