305: Leave Workplace Burnout In The Dust: The Science Behind Caffeine – with Danielle Robertson Rath

Meet Danielle


Danielle is the leading authority on the science behind caffeine and energy drinks, the best-selling author of How To Get Shit Done When You Feel Like Shit, the host of the Caffeine at Midnight podcast. As the founder of GEG Research and Consulting, she helps people who work long hours and use caffeine to get through the day. Green Eyed Guide (GEG) has helped workers, nurses, college students and small business owners beat burnout with caffeine science.


So you say you help people beat burnout with caffeine science. What does that mean?


Essentially, caffeine is the number one coping mechanism when it comes to stress or sleep deprivation. During the last survey that Forbes did, which was before Coronavirus, 67% of employed Americans said they struggled with burnout in the workplace. I imagine that it’s more than 67% since Coronavirus, but that’s the best number that we have. So essentially what this means is that people are using caffeine throughout the day to help them juggle all their roles and responsibility and there are certain situations where caffeine can actually backfire, it can actually make your mood worse and your anxiety worse and your sleep deprivation even worse. So what I do in my workshops is I go through my system called the five levels of fatigue. I teach people how to identify every level of fatigue and then we talk about the ways that you can beat or manage that particular level of fatigue with and without caffeine. Ultimately, what it’s doing is it’s teaching people how to drink caffeine strategically so that you get the benefits of caffeine like improved focus and improved mood, but you also know when not to have caffeine and that way you’re not compounding that anxiety and that burnout that you have because you have that caffeine strategy. So it’s a comprehensive plan that addresses the caffeine as well as you know, your physical and your mental health.


What’s your favorite caffeine-related tip to share with the coffee drinkers listening right now?


Well, I am a huge dog lover and so I have something called the barks doggy law, which is really a law about moderation. Essentially, what happens in this barks doggy law is that if you’re bored, or you’re tired, one cute little doggie can come along and then your mood goes up a little bit. Then maybe another dog comes, another dog comes, another dog comes and then you’re surrounded by like, 50 yapping dogs, and it’s no longer cute, it’s no longer improving your mood, and it’s actually making your mood worse and is actually making it hard to focus. That’s because performance improves to a point with increasing stimulation, and then you become overstimulated and your performance decreases. That’s what happens when you have too much caffeine. So there’s a sweet spot in this Barks doggy law and essentially, it is finding your sweet spot where your stimulation is just enough to improve your performance, but not enough so that you’re overstimulated and it pushes you over the cliff. This is my favorite tip to give caffeine drinkers because the amount of caffeine that you might need to get you to that sweet spot might vary day to day based on what other stimulation you have in your environment. If it’s a relatively low-key day, maybe one cup of coffee will do. But when shit hits the fan, you might need more caffeine, but you also need to make sure you don’t fall off that cliff where it makes you even more frazzled. So that’s my favorite tip, find your caffeine sweet spot by nursing your caffeine and being extra aware of how stimulated you feel.


How do you connect with your ideal clients?


It really does require me to be a chameleon, because it depends on who I’m talking to. I’ve learned this the hard way, if I’m talking to someone like an HR rep, they might not care so much about my background in biochemistry and food science, or how many years I spent studying caffeine. They want to know how they can keep their workers happy and safe and how can they keep them from quitting because that’s all the stuff that’s going to hurt their bottom line. So when I’m networking, I do the best I can to identify the pain points of the person who I’m talking to. My target audience is usually someone in operations or human resources, someone that has the power to book me for a workshop with their employees to walk them through the five levels of fatigue. Certain people want to know that I am a published author, and I’ve published research papers and I’ve got degrees in biochemistry, blah, blah, blah. Other people don’t care and they want to know that I’ve been there on the manufacturing floor, that I’ve worked nightshift, they want to know that I can actually relate to what their day-to-day struggles are.


Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you’ve had?


So one of my most successful networking experiences was actually me stalking different food science groups on Instagram. I would go through Instagram and be like, “Oh, I see you have a speaker, did you know I also speak I speak about caffeine and energy drinks, could I be a speaker for your food science group? I’ve got quite a lot of gigs that way. But one of them in particular was actually with the California State University of Long Beach. California is my home state so I’m happy to have that type of connection. So stalking the Cal State University of Long Beach Food Science group connected me with a food science professor there and since that initial interaction on Instagram, I’ve done four guest lectures for her class and we’ve actually submitted research papers together. So she’s one of my favorite connections, my favorite source of referrals and I just love working with her as a scientist. So I never would have met her if it wasn’t for me reaching out to people on Instagram.


As you continue to build your network, how do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships?


Well, it is a struggle. I find that I go too long without calling my grandma. So for a long time, I was looking for a system like, “How do I remember to call my friends and my clients and my customers and my own relatives?” So what I found is that Zendesk has an app called Cell and in it, you can load your contacts and you can load tasks and reminders. So that’s probably been the most effective system I’ve found for helping me stay in front of my network and keep track of leads as well as keep track of previous clients as well as keep track of my best friends, who are great supporters of my work and supporters of me as a person. That app is kind of my go-to for staying in front of my network.


What advice would you offer that business professional is really looking to grow their network?


Not all networking groups are created equal. When I first got started, I joined a specific chamber of commerce organization, which had a very high fee to join. Every other week, they had breakfast meetings, and you were supposed to say who you’ve done one on ones with and what I found after a year of being in that group was I got zero leads, but I had 60 on ones. Because they put so much pressure on doing these one on ones with people that became the goal. So you ended up having a lot of disingenuous meetings that were just a waste of time or people that weren’t trying to help you, they were just trying to turn you into a customer as opposed to a source of referrals. So I found another networking group that was free and already being part of them for like three months I’ve made $1,000 in book sales and workshops, and caffeine treat boxes. So it just goes to show you that the networking group that might work best for you might not be what works best for your friends. So look around and try something out and be wary of the ones that require a heavy fee upfront because that may or may not work for you.


If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?


I would definitely tell my 20 year old self to go to a different college, study a different major, do a different thesis. But aside from those life changing decisions, I would just tell myself to do more speaking gigs and to get more pictures and testimonials. Essentially, I’ve been speaking about energy drinks since 2004, but I didn’t take a lot of pictures, I didn’t get a lot of quotes or testimonials. I could have used that to prove that I really have been doing this for decades. We didn’t really have cell phones back then and energy drinks have changed a lot, and so has cellular technology. So I really wish I would have gotten more quotes or pictures or testimonials from all the speaking gigs that I did back then.


We’ve all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you’d love to connect with and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?


I would love to connect with Pierre Bouvier, who is the frontman for the band Simple Plan who are one of my favorite bands of all time. I would love to do a caffeine and fatigue workshop with musicians that have been through tours and endless road trips where it’s exhausting and you’ve got to perform. They’re drinking a lot of caffeine, there’s caffeine everywhere. I would love to do a workshop with bands that I admire. I might be six degrees connected with Pierra, but that would be a dream come true.


Do you have any offer to share with our listeners?


So if your listeners enjoy drinking caffeine, then I have a free download, which is called the energy drink report card. This is by far my most popular download and what it is it’s a PDF that has not just energy drinks, but also the top selling coffees like Starbucks doubleshot and also the top selling teas like Arizona iced tea or Honest Tea, different things that are ready to drink, not the not the type of keys that you brew in a cup or the type of coffees that you have to make in a machine. But where do the top selling energy drinks, coffees and teas fall on a scale of you can drink this every day versus avoid this at all costs. So in this download, you can see where the different things fall in a red, yellow or green category. So ultimately, this is showing you like how good or bad this is for your health. You can get the energy drink report card https://greeneyedguide.com/freebies/ 


Connect with Danielle


Check out Danielle’s book!


Email: info@greeneyedguide.com 


Instagram: @greeneyedguide

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