What Fuels Your Development Effort?

coffee_cup-e1401640238400[1]I recently came to the aggravating conclusion that coffee just doesn’t do it for me. Coffee gives me a quick boost and the crash that follows is impressive! The day after a coffee boost usually results in me being more tired. Hence the start of a vicious cycle. Coffee to start me up and hide the fact that I’m getting very tired.

This realization got me thinking about other tricks that we use as developers to fuel our development efforts.Some of us are heavy energy drink users, some drink tea and others binge on sugar.

Throughout my career I’ve tried a couple of these and I’m curious to hear about your personal experiences.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks started off being fun. Some provide an extended boost of energy. They all have their own quirks and secret recipes. Overtime, they went from providing interesting shortcuts to the “zone”, to not helping at all. Sometimes the extreme amount of sugar, caffeine and other substances result in massive headaches that stop me from working.


Sugar like what we find in soft drinks and candies give you a quick boost. In small quantities these are great to get over that sleepy afternoon bump. In large quantities I suffer from similar side effects that I get from coffee or energy drinks.


In 1998 I discovered tea. Like coffee, tea is a universe to discover. I found that my body reacted differently to the caffeine found in tea. Although it keeps me energized, drinking too much tea ultimately results with jitters and headaches.

On a positive note, when I drink tea I don’t suffer from the same sort of crash that I get from coffee or energy drinks.

In Retrospect

All in all, anything that gets you to your comfort zone is fair play as long as it’s within reason. Going back to basics. When you care about producing quality, being in the right state of mind matters a lot. You need to be rested and well oxygenated. It’s crazy how just a little bit of exercise can get your blood flowing and your ideas straight. Sometimes, going for a walk is far better than taking that third coffee.

I’m curious to hear about your personal experiences. How do you fuel your development efforts?

Comments (8)

  1. Peter Ritchie says:

    Music helps mood and energy levels… There's some developer play lists with some high energy tracks kicking around.

  2. Mathieu Langis says:

    I know that I shouldn't probably drink Energy Drinks, but I did when I was at the University. I was drinking "Red Bull" and mostly, "Rockstar". Those gave me the exact same "crash" and headache you're talking about.

    Since I finished and now working full time, I discovered "Guru" and take a small format (250 ml) half the morning, half the afternoon and no headache, no stress, no crash, just good focus and enough energy to work all day long and sleep at night.

  3. I personally start my days with a few coffee, typically 3 or so, then go for tea the rest of day. Like you said, the creash isn't as bad as with coffee.

    Sometimes, typically during overtime, I go for some lemonade to get a bit of extra sugar.

    As for energy drinks, I didn't like the taste of the ones I tried, so I never use those.

    Sometimes when I do feel my attention slipping I go read some news/blog for a few minutes. That usually gets me back on track for the rest of the day.

    Interested to see what others do!

  4. Oscar Zarate says:

    The best ever is a "short" nap (yes, siesta). 10/15 minutes (equivalent of walking to the coffee shop and getting a coffee).

  5. Richard says:

    Try green tea or better yet Matcha. Both are not caffeinated.

    But I confess, when I'm really desperate, I show up to work with a Starbucks.

  6. Phil says:

    I'd say music sometimes, but mostly self-determination and perseverance.

  7. Doug says:

    A very healthy diet and exercise.  Since changing my eating and exercise habits, I never get tired during the day and never have those afternoon mood and energy drops!

  8. Christian Coté says:

    Have a look at this book:http://www.amazon.ca/…/ref=sr_1_1. Very good one!

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