There's been a lot of talk about productivity levels lately, whether it's that people are "quiet quitting" at the workplace or simply too distracted by social media to get anything done. Ironically, there are plenty of productivity hacks being shared on TikTok and there are productivity apps you can download. But, at the end of the day, all of these productivity tools are just another form of technology to help you better manage... your regular technology use (which is a challenge if you are a fellow in-front-of-the-computer worker). It's an ouroboros situation — so when I heard that natural supplements brand ASYSTEM released a product called Productivity Gummies, I knew I had something to chew on. (The brand also sells Libido Gummies, which we've also tested).
The directions are easy: Take a single gummy about 30 minutes before you're ready to focus on a task, and it should help you get in the zone for over five hours. I decided to give these a try for a few weeks to see if I could meet my ambitious deadline of writing and finishing a screenplay within a month.
Okay, so immediate spoiler alert, I didn't accomplish what I see now as a totally unrealistic goal while holding down a day job — but what I did take away from this experiment is that these gummies can help reframe my idea of what it means to be productive. I had a lot of personal assessments to do along the way. For instance, during the first couple of weeks, I popped a gummy (which, by the way, tastes vaguely of berries although it tastes more medicinal than candy-like) right after lunch in order to get through that afternoon slump, only to discover that I was then more focused on scouring things on TheRealReal and Etsy or thinking about filling my calendar with workout classes.
But, my screenplay! So then I switched up my gummy intake to early mornings, like within the hour of waking up, to see if it can encourage me to sit down and work while I was running on my freshest early-morning brain juices. (At one point I started taking two gummies at once.) I found that adjustment helped significantly, especially when coupled with my matcha or coffee. But strangely enough, I ended up more focused on getting my "pay" work finished as quickly as possible rather than trying to get my "creative" work done — which may say more about how I need to better prioritize my days' goals. What also resulted was not necessarily getting more done, but getting the best possible version of my work done before I felt like calling it a day. (My brain has always operated on a "quality over quantity" mindset.) But, also, what if this is all a placebo effect?
For more insight, I tapped Henry Simonds, General Manager at ASYSTEM, to give me the straight scientific facts on this product.
Why and how were the Productivity Gummies developed?
"From a formulation perspective, this was a lot of fun to develop. From the start, we wanted to create something that gets to work quickly, keeps you locked into whatever you’re working on, and doesn’t cause any jitters or crashes like most products out there.
Our Scientific Advisory Board landed on a key ingredient blend of Suntheanine, clinically proven to significantly increase alpha-1&2 band brain activity which enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity, Lion's Mane Mushroom, an adaptogen noted for its ability to improve cognitive function, Huperzine A, an ingredient used for Alzheimer's, and NewCaff, a slow release caffeine that doesn’t have a crash. The result is a product that works within 30 mins and lasts for 5+ hours."
The idea of a productivity supplement seems too good to be true, and obviously, productivity levels look different for different people. That said, how do we know this actually works?
"The clinical data behind Suntheanine is very strong, so that was a great starting point. Our product development process includes multiple rounds of tests with our panel of scientific and athletic experts as well as our customers. This includes blood or saliva work, and consumer surveys to ensure the efficacy of the product is there in the short and long term. After 11 rounds of testing, we landed on the right blend for efficacy and flavor.
A lot of people (myself included) use this as a replacement for their 2pm coffee to help them get through the day. Hopefully, for most people the impact is noticeable and with a daily routine, these benefits will compound over time."
What sets Suntheanine apart from other key ingredients that may be found in competitor brands?
"We love this ingredient! Our obsession started when we went deeper into the benefits of L-theanine, which many of your readers may have heard about by association with green tea or matcha. Personally, I switched from coffee to matcha a few years ago, and my ability to handle stress and stay focussed has changed dramatically.
The real magic of Productivity comes from the complete formula by what’s called the entourage effect. When we combine different compounds they work synergistically to create uniquely beneficial effects. So adding Lion’s Mane, Huperzine A, B-12, and slow-release caffeine, NewCaff™ are the real reasons this product works."
Can people take more than one gummy at a time, or take more than one a day if they have important or time-sensitive projects to focus on?
"We recommend one gummy per day as that should give you 5+ hours of focus. There is no harm in adding a second dose in the day though if you really need an extra kick."
This interview has been edited for length.
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