How Making Coffee Made Me a Better Developer

Starting a couple of years ago, I started to feel what I now know as burnout. The brain glossing feeling stopping you from feeling joy in the day to day grind. I stopped being excited to demo new features, or work on projects. Since I wasn't excited, I stopped learning new things. My career started to stagnate. I was fired twice, both times for not having "the focus" they require of a senior engineer.

I was lost.

My fiance and I decided to move to the other side of the country, to a much colder, but more forgiving place. This wasn't a solution, but it was something. 

When we moved, I decided to take a remote job. Work on myself, go to the gym, focus on programming more, the whole works. And at first, the new job was refreshing, but my old habits came back. My brain would fight me and I would eventually find myself watching Anderson Cooper roasting someone again.

One thing really changed though. Something that was core to my behavior in San Francisco. Every single morning, on the way to work, I would stop at my local coffee shop. Then, I would get to work, read emails, work half-heartedly on a ticket before looking at the clock hit 5 P.M. on another unfruitful day. I don't have a local coffee shop here though. At least not within walking distance. I had to start making coffee at home. 

Of course, I have made coffee before. Lazy Sundays, breakfast in bed with the fiance, but it was always just above sub-par. A quick minute in the cheap coffee pot while I watch the news in the morning, or scan youtube. It was a good holdover, something to cover the caffeine addiction in between Blue Bottle Coffee runs. But it could never be a permanent replacement. 

I was in new territory though. And I was given the opportunity to do better. Funny enough, thanks to YouTube, I found a popular coffee series. Something to fill the time in my day. He sparked some interest in fresh, well made, methodical coffee. This alone would have been fine, but by coincidence, I was reading to 7 Habits of Highly of Highly Effective People around the same time and had the thought of replacing my dopamine rich morning routine with a habitual, meditation-like one. 

All of a sudden, I had found this time that my digital overlords had stolen from me; Time I could use to calm my brain, prepare it for the day. The fog was gone, at least temporarily. I found that I had more time to think about the things that mattered. My family. My work. And most importantly, in this case, my belief in myself, which is something that I think I lost a long time ago. 

I am not trying to say that coffee is the reason, but it is a way.

 

 

Reddit User @Mixed_Reaction also mentioned some important points. 

Coffee by proxy can increase depression symptoms. The proxy being lack of sleep, withdrawal, and dehydration. And a few more points. Will link below. Determine the validity for yourself. Thanks for the comments! 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/caffeine-and-depression/faq-20057870

https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/2017/04/might-coffee-caffeine-affect-mood-emotions/

https://www.quora.com/Does-coffee-make-anyone-else-feel-depressed

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/neuropsychiatric-effects-of-caffeine/7C884B2106D772F02DA114C1B75D4EBF#

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