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An Excuse for Midday Drinking? It Boosts Creativity: Study

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By William Peacock, Esq. on December 23, 2014 12:49 PM

Like many lawyers, we can't live without a midday break. Why? A wee little dose of creativity in the coffee.

You see, it turns out that drinking may indeed inspire creativity, just as all the greats (here's to you, William Faulkner) said it did. But the researchers behind this study say there's one small caveat: The target is buzzed, not blitzed.

So next time you need that spark of creativity to add a little extra nasty flair to a demand letter or otherwise boring legal brief, should you knock back a couple and give it another shot?

Target BAC: 0.75 Percent

Apparently, staying creative is a lot like driving: You want to set a limit for a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration.

According to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a few nips of the old whiskey will improve your ability to complete creative tasks over your sober coworkers. The "creative peak" was a BAC of 0.75 percent. However, while creativity was enhanced, memory tasks were obviously impaired, reports The Huffington Post. (Note: The UIC study was actually published in 2013; the HuffPo article seems to cite the study in order to plug a new brand of beer.)

Taken together, this seems like the optimal workflow:

  • Step 1: Write the boring stuff.
  • Step 2: Drink.
  • Step 3: Write the fun stuff.
  • Step 4: Proofread.

Plus, assuming you've done your math right, you won't even have to worry about getting a DUI on the way home!

Finding That Sweet, Sweet Spot

Too little booze, and your risk being too ... sober (shudder). Too much, and you won't be able to type straight.

How do you find the sweet spot? HuffPo mentions a cutesy little product that is 7.5 percent alcohol by volume (about twice your average cheap, light beer) which comes with a scale on the back of the bottle to help you guesstimate.

But you don't have to buy any specific beverage: Any alcohol will do, in moderation. A BAC chart is a good place to start to find out where your near-0.08 percent sweet spot is, since your gender and weight are significant factors in determining how much to drink. A pocket Breathalyzer might be handy too -- not just for creative days, but for after parties as well.

We're Totally Kidding

Look, lawyer have enough issues with booze without bringing a creativity excuse into the mix. A drink or two with lunch, or at a networking event ... sure. But if you're drinking every day to get through those legal briefs that you can't stand drafting -- maybe its time for a career change or a break from booze.

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