I just about can’t believe that my answer is water.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to quit drinking coffee anytime soon, but not too long ago water overtook coffee for me. It’s like grease for my brain. This is totally counterintuitive for me – I’ve been using coffee as my main study aid since high school. Coffee got me through undergrad and law school; all-nighters of the studying and partying kind. Coffee used to accompany me everywhere. Now water does.
Now, when I’ve got a whole lot on my plate at work, I make sure my water bottle’s full and that I keep drinking from it. I still have coffee first thing in the morning, and it’ll definitely give a push in the afternoon, but when I need to buckle down and get something done, it’s water that I’m reaching for.
A strong cup of coffee (I take it black and prefer it nice and thick) will get me going for a short time, but that jolt really only lasts for a couple of hours and I’ll often end up jittery afterward. I’m not even sure that my work product is better – it just gets done faster. Either way, I’m going to pee a whole lot more, but coffee dehydrates me and after a bit I can feel my brain lock up. With water I can keep going and going. I’m not in any rush to finish, so I’m more thorough and this (I think) makes my work product much better. I answer questions faster and more accurately and am less self-conscious.
This doesn’t work so well on a first date, though. I still reach for the coffee cup in that situation.
Staying hydrated while I’m hiking is key as well. I used to fill my water bladder with ice because I found cold water more refreshing, but I spent some time training myself to drink tepid water and am much better for it. I can’t imagine how little I’d like stream water when camping if I were still stuck on drinking it ice-cold. I also burn fewer calories this way – my body doesn’t have to spend them heating the water up in my stomach.
I drink water to stay hydrated because I perform better (in all aspects of my life) thus. Right now, I drink about two liters of water a day (sometimes three) – which isn’t a whole lot, but it’s much more than I used to.