The Adderall Productivity Experiment – 01

December 20th, 1300.

Adderall Experiment

The Hypothesis:

Getting high on adderal will result in an intense focus session for my writing. I will get tons done, then go home and to bed without any problems.

The Plan:

Take a 10mg adderal pill, then read blogs until 1400 while the buzz wears off. From 1400-2100, just do writing.

The Targets:

Write copywriting from 1400-2100 (done)

First, handwrite the copywriting of a great for 1 hour (done)

Then, email potential copy partners for 1 hour (done)

Then write copy for GGW or bugs or Scott for the rest of the hours (done)

Extra: publish CH articles (done)

Extra: Write Ch articles (done)

Extra: Write RadNomad articles

Experiment Log

1305

I just finished writing out the boundaries of the experiment. I’m about to take an Adderall, and then start reading blogs while I wait for it to kick in.

1320

Took the Adderall (only took 4 tries, yay for eliminating the gag reflex). Already feeling quite focused, but that might just be placebo.

Here we go.

1335

Oddly enough, I’m feeling a bit unfocused. A bit foggy brained.

But then again, I’m supposed to be just relaxing and getting inspired at the moment, so that’s alright. We’ll see what happens when I start working.

1410

About to start writing. Feeling…empty headed. Like the constant chatter in my head has quieted down.

However, I’m also having trouble bringing thought into my head. We’ll see how this goes while I write.

Into the work.

1502

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this focused. I was handwriting verbatim a famous direct mail letter from Gary Halbert (the coat of arms letter if you’re interested).

While writing it, I thought of nothing else. Not totally unusual, but still worth noting.

It’s when I stopped that I noticed my focus was high. Instead of searching around for a thing to do next (knowing that I should review my writing to learn from it, but not wanting to because it can get tedious), I simply started re-reading it to review it.

That’s an effect I heard others report, and one I’m finding too: I feel no resistance to doing things I know I should do, and know I will enjoy while I do it, but have resistance to the inertia overcome that I will need to do to start it.

Instead of searching for an out, I just did what I knew I should do.

Now for a 10 minute break of listening to music, and back to work.

1516

Faster decision making. I do less debating in my head about what to do with my time right now, and just trust in my mind to analyze faster than I can and make the right choice.

Case in point: a friend walked in who I’ve been wanting to get to know, and I was on my break, so I put down my music and went up to start chatting. Talked about Adderall & his knowledge of it. Ignored my alarm calling me back to work because I knew I would be back in a few minutes, and then finished up and am writing this.

Also, it feels like my mind is in a box. This could be confused with mental clarity, but it’s really quite opposite to it. My mind simply cannot drift off, and so I am focused totally on one thing at a time.

It is not as clean a focus as the one that comes from motivation and self-trust and enjoying what you’re doing, but it is till focus, and enjoyable none the less.

Onto contacting copy partners.

1522

Just occurred to me, time has been flying.

1533

Blindsided by some CH shipping complaints in my inbox. Was able to forget everything and focus on assuaging the clients & getting Stepan to look into the problem.

Defaulted to facebook after I was done, but then immediately closed it without even scrolling.

I’m enjoying this. I feel the desire to be productive.

1636

God I feel so productive. I don’t even wanna take a break. I’m just switching from task to task, using my breaks to do things like send important emails & organize my copy partner notes.

This is fun!

1706

Was getting a bit bored, but still productive. Needed a break.

Then some guys behind me start blasting this music, testing the speaker system.

Turns out, they made a documentary! It had already been on TV, shown in a few film festivals, and is headed to SXSW.

Anyway, back on the topic at hand: the moment I lost focus due to the music, my brain was blank again. So I went and chatted with them (who wouldn’t? They made a movie!).

While chatting, my mind once again focused 100%, and I got very little of the nervous energy that often accompanies me talking to anybody I see as above me. I was able to feel it, remember that there is no reason to be nervous & that I’m not going to be rejected, and just relax. We ended up having a great conversation.

My brain kinda hurts, but I’m not sure if that’s from the Adderall or from the volume of the speakers behind me.

Still on break for a few minutes, I think I’ll read some blogs till the bell goes off. Then I’ll dive into the bugsforbugs fly ad and make a first & second draft. In between drafts I’ll read Advertising Secrets of the Written Word (highly recommended to anyone who wants to be an awesome writer, especially in sales).

1736

Having trouble getting on task. Doing some note organization which is good but not as high leverage as the writing I’m supposed to be doing.

Problem found w/ Adderall: If you get off topic, you’ll get focused on that off topic task and will spend a lot of time in it.

1812

A bit of willpower got me back into the flow, and I naturally felt like taking a break at the 50 minute mark (the bodies natural focus rhythm).

Cool.

1912

Was reading and taking great notes. Brain boom. Then got distracted by facebook. Fucking facebook…

2135

Wow. Read a bunch, got some great ideas. Then finished the chapter and wrote verbatim for three and a half pages by hand! Hand hurts.

Then the movie started, I got comfy in my seat and was able to focus quite well on an awesome film about the Montreal music scene.

I feel a bit worn out, but that’s no surprise after all the brain work I’ve been doing. Yet I’m still good to go.

2235

Brain feels tired. Like a muscle that I’ve been working out all day. Like how your legs feel after a day out hiking.

But not done. Still wanna do some Chill Hookahs stuff.

2300

Got a second wind, and now I wanna do tons of work. But my day schedule is over, and it is time to learn french, head home, and wind down.

This was an amazingly productive day. I’ll see just how productive in the daily review.

2332

Tried to stop working half an hour ago. Couldn’t. Need to go home.

Next day

Brain feels a bit tired, but that’s all the after effects I’ve noticed.

Definitely noticing significantly less focus when writing verbatim. I’m making spelling mistakes, my writing is not as neat. I’m not as focused.

Ended up getting distracted by facebook for two hours. Can’t help but think that this wouldn’t have happened if I was on Adderall.

The Result:

Adderall is quite amazing for focusing and being productive. I didn’t notice a significant impact on my creativity, and I had no trouble with focus.

I scored 19 productivity points that day. Usually, I’m proud when I reach 12.

I was able to do tasks that have a high interial resistance to start with, without feeling any resistance at all.

I was able to make decisions fast by trusting my mind to know what the best thing to do is without my guidance.

There were periods where I would find that I had been focusing on something random for the last little while. If you don’t pay attention, you can really get lost in it.

It also lowered my social anxiety when meeting new and cool people, and helped me zone in on the conversation.

Final Statement:

This is an amazing productivity drug, especially if you’re feeling burnt out at the end of the week and want to finish strong. I’ll be doing another Adderall experiment on the Friday of my next productive week.

When taking it, make sure you’ve got a good long list to tasks to do. You’ll burn through them, and then some.

The biggest danger here is getting distracted and focusing on that distraction for hours. Make sure youknow what you want to do before hand, and check in every now and then to ensure you’re not doing something low-leverage.

The next day, you’ll feel a bit tired and not as productive. So I suggest taking Adderall on the last day before a break.

For more assisted productivity experiments, check out The Marijuana Productivity Experiment.

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