The Hottest Productivity Booster

Morning Cup of Tea

We want to know: what are your favorite productivity boosters? Drinking eight glasses of water? Listening to classical music? Turning off the internet? Chair yoga?

What little things help you get more done?

Our interview with Matthew Stibbe veered into tea-related territory, which wasn’t included in our profile. We wanted to share his take on why tea works for his productivity and his greatest tea-related tips: 

Coffee doesn’t work very well for me. I saw a lovely poster in New York. It said, “coffee lets you do stupid things faster,” and that’s exactly what it does for me. I redouble my efforts in the wrong direction.

Tea, on the other hand, is a more reflective drink for my biochemistry. It puts me into a much more grounded place. The act of making a cup of tea is a very good way of giving myself a break between tasks. When I occasionally get to try the Pomodoro Technique, a cup of tea is the perfect thing to do in the gap between two bursts of work.

Two tea-related things that have changed my life in the last couple of years:

1.  I bought a little travel kettle and I put it on my bedside table, and I’ve got a little tin of leaf tea, my teabags and a mug. In the morning, all I have to do is reach out, put the kettle on, and I can make myself a cup of tea in bed to wake up. It’s the best start to the day.

2.  I am half Dutch, and I found in Holland that they sell DIY teabags, tall teabags but there’s no tea in them.

If you have a really proper high tea in a posh London hotel, they’ll have a big teapot and they’ll put leaf tea in it. Otherwise, people in England drink this crappy teabag tea. It’s designed to brew quickly, and it doesn’t taste very nice. These teabags are available if you know where to buy them, but it’s not in the high street, so people don’t know about it.

It’s a classic case of William Gibson: the future is already here but it’s unevenly distributed. What I love about online stuff is you have access to a new capability, or a new technology, a new idea — whether it’s buying DIY teabags and looseleaf tea because they don’t sell it in your hometown or it’s something like iDoneThis or it’s something like Turbine.

It just changes what is possible, and I think that’s very exciting.

Image: Heidi Schachtschneider