Stimulants 101: How to wake yourself up and get shit done (without destroying your long-term health)

Alistair-Clark's picture
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,057

If you're reading this, I'm assuming you take a shit load of stimulants to stay awake and get work done.

It's the only option on those days where you've been grinding through mind-numbing Excel for 8 hours and your brain is turning to mush. When you've been getting crushed for weeks and barely sleeping 4-hours a night, and can feel your eyelids drooping.

All you can think about is going home and crawling into your warm, comfortable bed to sleep, but if you don't get this work done tonight then your boss will scream at you.

You'll definitely get a crap performance rating.

You might even get fired.

So what do you do?

If you're like most people, the answer is obvious: you grab a XXL coffee and get to work.

Ahhh, good ol' caffeine. It's the tried and tested performance enhancer of bankers, consultants, and lawyers all over the world.

Today, I'm going to dig into the topic of stimulants. I'll look at why the "common sense" approach to stimulants is wrong (and downright dangerous), and I'll give you a better and healthier alternative for waking yourself up when you need to get shit done at work.

Let's dive in.

Stimulants 101: The corporate PEDs (performance enhancing drugs)

There's a simple reason for why people take so many stimulants: they work.

They wake you up when you're feeling tired. They help you focus when you're distracted. They make you work faster when you're feeling sluggish.

Case in point: caffeine is one of the most effective and widely used legal performance enhancers in the world of sports.

When I played rugby for Canada, I was given caffeine pills before every game. In my locker next to my jersey would be a small zip-lock bag with seven 50mg pharmaceutical-grade caffeine pills. 60-minutes later, I'd be sprinting around the field like a maniac tackling anybody I could get my hands on.

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Caffeine also has significant cognitive benefits, as you probably know through your own self experimentation. Multiple scientific studies have shown that caffeine can increase alertness and concentration during periods of sleep deprivation.

Caffeine is the secret weapon of your best late-night work marathons. Until one day it's not. Until one day, it just stops working.

You down your usual Venti-quad-shot-Americano-with-4-sugars, and sit back while you wait for the lightning bolt of energy... but it never comes. 10-minutes later, you're even more tired and unproductive than before you drank the coffee.

It's common to get habituated to the effects of caffeine, especially if you drink it every single day.

When faced with this challenge, a lot of people reach for something stronger. Nicotine. 5-Hour Energy. Red Bull. Maybe even a prescription drug like Adderall or Modafinil.

After all, these are all proven to be powerful stimulants and have been used by ambitious financiers the world-over to get an edge at work.

But just because stimulants work, that doesn't mean they are good for you.

There are side effects to every drug and supplement (even if they aren't immediately obvious), and hardcore stimulants can mess up your health for years if you're not careful.

So before you go out and start popping pills like candy, consider this cautionary tale.

A story about the long-term effects of stimulants

As part of my business, I do 1-on-1 coaching with a select few clients.

These are ambitious individuals that aren't satisfied with being average -- they want to be the best. They are willing to invest in themselves and do whatever it takes to succeed. I help them build a competitive advantage at work using proven productivity, lifestyle, and fitness systems.

Two recent clients -- a PE associate and an investment banker -- came to me with a similar challenge. They were both feeling low on energy.

I was surprised, because these two clients were truly impressive individuals.

They had gone to fantastic schools and landed prestigious jobs at top firms. They had been on the grind for 3+ years, slowly working their way up the ladder with sheer hard work. By every definition, they were successful.

But beneath the surface, cracks were starting to appear. The years of late nights and sleep deprivation had taken it's toll. All those stimulant fuelled work marathons had done permanent damage to their health.

They were both suffering from adrenal fatigue. Now, I'm not a doctor, but I'm familiar with adrenal fatigue and know how serious of a problem it can be.

According to WebMD, "Adrenal fatigue is a term that's used by some to say that fatigue and other symptoms are caused by a poorly working adrenal gland in people who are under mental, emotional, or physical stress[...] Symptoms include:

  • Trouble getting out of bed
  • Chronic tiredness, even after you wake up in the morning
  • Trouble thinking clearly or finishing your tasks"

While there is still some debate in the medical community about the role the adrenal glans plays in this fatigue, the causes seem to be clear:

  • Poor sleep habits
  • Poor diet
  • Stress at work or home
  • Using caffeine and other stimulants

Any of those sound familiar to your lifestyle?

Again, I'm not a doctor and don't play one on the internet, but there seems to be a pretty obvious correlation (maybe even causation) between the finance lifestyle and chronic fatigue.

Chronic fatigue is one of the biggest risks for people in demanding careers, but no one ever talks about it! Instead, everyone keeps downing coffee's and popping pills while pretending that the immediate benefits come with no long-term side effects.

Well, today I've got a way you can create a competitive advantage at work by boosting your energy without using hardcore stimulants that might destroy your long-term health.

How to wake yourself up and get shit done (without destroying your health)

At the beginning of this article I promised you an alternative to hardcore stimulants. Here it is.

Over the past few years, I've turned myself into a guinea pig and tested countless strategies, hacks, and tools for surviving long hours with little sleep. I've done this for one simple reason: to help you create a competitive advantage and become a top-performer at work.

(You can also check out my another of my WSO posts: The All-Nighter Experiment: What Worked and What Didn't).

Today I'm going to talk about my two favourite strategies for instantly increasing your energy without hardcore stimulants: breathing and movement.

1) Breathing

I learned about the importance of breathing from performance guru, Tony Robbins. Here's what he has to say:

"Did you know that 70% of the toxins inside of your body are removed through the lungs? Breath is an essential element to life, and yet today we're using less and less of our lung capacity. Think about it. When you're stressed is your breath deep or shallow? You'd be surprised how often we hold our breath!

Breath is the key to physical and mental well-being, and if done properly, it can boost energy, relieve pain, and transform our lives.

To maintain your body's optimal health, your cells must be oxygenated through proper breathing. Learn how to breathe properly by using this exercise."

He goes on to recommend a simple technique for energizing yourself with breathing.

Whenever you need a pick-me-up, simply take 10 "power breaths" using a 1:4:2 ratio for inhale:hold:exhale. For example, INHALE for 5 seconds, HOLD for 20 seconds, EXHALE for 10 seconds, and REPEAT 10 times.

Tony-Robbins-Breathing

I use this routine multiple times a day, and it's a game-changer.

Action Step: Stop what you're doing right now (seriously, do this right now) and try the breathing technique. It only takes 5-minutes, and you'll feel like a different person by the end. Here's a simple video to follow along that makes it even easier:

2) Movement

The second strategy is movement.

I got this idea from a great book called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, written by John Ratley. The book describes all the ways exercise can help your brain, including: stress, ADHD, anxiety, depression, addiction, aging, etc.

But the one you're most interested in is mental focus and energy. Here's what Ratley says about those:

"Studies suggest that endorphins produced directly in the brain contribute to the general feeling of well-being that usually comes along with exercise. For starters, exercise immediately elevates levels of norepinephrine in certain areas of the brain. It wakes up the brain and gets it going. Exercise also boosts dopamine, which improves mood, motivation, feelings of wellness and attention."

This physiological reaction makes sense when you think about it from an evolutionary perspective. If prehistoric humans fell asleep while running away from a saber-toothed tiger, chances are they wouldn't live very long. When your body is exerting physical energy, it signals to your brain that now is the time to be alert and focused, not to drift off to dreamland.

Action Step: The next time you feel sluggish, instead of another coffee try going for a walk. Get up from your desk and do a lap of the office, or even climb a flight of stairs. I used to print random pieces of paper during the day just so I could go for a walk to the printer.

# # #

These are just two examples of how you can hack your bodies natural biology to replace chemical stimulants. There are plenty of other options out there, but too many to put in this post.

If you're looking for more ways to build a competitive advantage at work, I've put together a pdf download with the best strategies for instantly increasing your energy when your working long hours with little sleep. Just click hereto download the pdf I put together for you with my 5 favourite strategies for increasing my energy at work.

I want to hear from you

What do you do when you're crashing at work and need an energy boost? Are you a coffee addict (or something stronger)? Have you tried any natural stimulants?

Leave a comment on the post and let us know your secret sauce for increasing your energy at work (with or without stimulants).

Comments (94)

Aug 2, 2016

I think most of us here have tried most if not all of the techniques/stimulants above.

Coffee has traditionally worked for me when I'm working moderate hours. If I am really grinding long hours, I usually take something more potent. Usually a monster energy drink and in the very rare case that doesn't work I'll take a scoop of preworkout.

The problem with your natural solutions is I can drink a coffee or an energy drink and be in the zone for hours. But taking a few deep breaths or a walk only kind of helps short term (maybe for 45 minutes to an hour). And if you're like most of us and working with other people around you, you don't want to be the guy gasping for air every half hour or the guy that just gets up and leaves for 15 minutes multiple times per day (I had a coworker that did this and was dinged on his performance for being "unfocused").

I wish I could take a few breaths and be refocused but fact of the matter is if I want to be great at what I do I need to do what it takes...for better or for worse.

Aug 2, 2016

Fair comment. Everyone's got to make a choice about how far they're willing to go to succeed, similar to the choice faced by athlete's regarding steroids and other PEDs. Obviously, drinking a bunch of coffee and Red Bull's isn't illegal, but the long term effects are still a trade-off worth considering. Unfortunately, most people aren't aware (or just don't care) about the long-term sacrifice they are making for a short-term gain.

I will challenge you on the effectiveness of "natural solutions". You call things like breathing and exercise short-term fixes and imply that caffeine is a long-term solution, but I view it as the complete opposite.

Hammering a 5-Hour Energy is the definition of a short-term fix (hence the name), and is usually followed by a crash. While you may get a higher peak in energy, it is not a sustainable solution. This method relies on continually getting short-term hits of stimulants for energy, with increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effect.

A comprehensive lifestyle system that involves strategies like breathing, exercise, and nutrition is the real long-term approach to energy and success at work. These strategies form the foundation of a complete energy strategy that is far more effective when you step back and view your career in months and years rather than hours.

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Aug 2, 2016

I totally agree with your last paragraph - a long term fix revolving around exercise and nutrition is the best way to go period.

EDIT - also just want to say that I love these posts and to keep it up!

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Best Response
Aug 3, 2016

soooo nose beers are no good?

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Aug 3, 2016

Trying to stay healthy is difficult when glued to the desk most of the day. A few tricks I picked up along the way which have helped me a bit are:

Replacing sodas with fizzy water and squeezing some lemon/lime into it. Healthier, similar to a soda but you don't get the sugar crash after.

Instead of chocolate/snacks I now combine almonds/walnuts with dates/dried figs. The combo usually kills choc cravings.

Mix up tea and coffee. I usually try and have a tea when I'm not too tired so that when I have coffee I can still get a kick out of it energy wise.

Run in the morning. Noticed a big improvement in energy levels when doing this.

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Funniest
Aug 3, 2016

Welcome to 21st century finance, where people use breathing excersices instead of coke

    • 16
Aug 2, 2016

Don't forget about daily meditation.

Float tanks are going to be the next big thing. Just ask @AndyLouis

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Aug 5, 2016
BoardroomBanter8:

Welcome to 21st century finance, where people use breathing excersices instead of coke

LOL'd at this

Aug 27, 2016

I actually love Freezing showers. Like so cold you are shivering after 45 seconds, that shit will keep you up and hyperfocused for 2-2.5 hours before you come back down.

Aug 3, 2016

I noticed your point on the breathing and figured I'd chime in a bit. I tend to not breath very deeply (asthmatic and have poor ability to intake oxygen, although my peak flows show I'm about 50% above the average population in ability to push out). Suddenly, I will "realize" I haven't been taking deep breaths and get light headed and sit very still breathing for a minute or two. Afterwards I am often able to function much much better.

More so, my company encourages getting out and taking some walks if needed... although work does not always allow perfect timing, no one has any problem with you getting up and taking 15 or so. In fact, I just did this and took a 20 minute walk (I work in a tech park with some nice covered outdoor walkways between buildings). This is one of the best things I do every day to be productive. HOWEVER (and I hope you can comment Alistair), I find it hard to get re-focused very quickly. I think someone on WSO even posted about it taking 20 minutes or so to become focused again after leaving a task.

...

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Aug 2, 2016

@BreakingRich I can definitely comment because that's a challenge I face every day.

First off, getting refocused is one of the trade-offs of regular breaks. Sometimes you feel like you'd be better off keeping your head down and continuing to work. In my experience, this is a bad idea. While you may feel more productive in the short-term, you'll eventually burn out after a few hours and will need a longer break to get back to your previous productivity. That's why I recommend the Pomodoro Technique, which involves more frequent shorter breaks. I've written about that on WSO here: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/my-system-fo...
As for re-focusing, a couple of suggestions:

1) Take less-frequent long breaks. As mentioned with the Pomodoros, I recommend a 5-minute break and only a longer break every 2 hours or so. The shorter break is usually enough time to go to the bathroom, stretch, or get some water and it's relatively easy to refocus.

2) Use environmental triggers to get you into the right state-of-mind. You might have heard the advice in school that if you have a 7 p.m. exam, then you should study for the exam at 7 p.m. (Or, if you study drunk then you should write the test drunk). Both work because your brain creates environmental associations that help with recall.

I apply this principle to my work with music. I trigger my brain that it's time to work with music. Specifically, I use music scientifically designed for focus at work (check out brain.fm or [email protected]). I ONLY listen to this music when I am working, so that the trigger is strong. It's just like when you hear a particular song on the radio and are mentally instantly transported to another time when you first were listening to that song.

3) Before I take a break, I focus my mind on some specific problem I'm trying to figure out. I just think about it for a few seconds, and then take my break. While on break I remove my conscious mind from the issue and let my unconscious mind do some problem solving. I find that when I come back from a break -- even if it's 20 minutes -- that my brain is flooded with ideas for how to solve the problem I was working on. It's usually very easy to refocus when I use this "seeding" technique.

Good luck!

    • 2
Aug 3, 2016

Getting an addy scrip helps

'"The floggings will continue until morale improves"

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Aug 4, 2016

+1 have reduced from daily to an as needed basis however -- was having a hard time with appetite supression

Aug 3, 2016

It's definitely a tall order to try to force down some sad panera sandwich while you're stuck in a cube all jacked to the tits.

'"The floggings will continue until morale improves"

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Aug 3, 2016

Diet. That is what does it first and foremost. When I'm eating well, exercise or otherwise, I'm generally able to be more energetic and rely less on five hour energies and other stuff. Sure, it can be extremely hard to stick to a decent diet while stressing and working long hours but in the long run it's worth it to make that extra effort; at least in my case. Doesn't solve everything, but can make a noticeable difference over time.

    • 1
Aug 3, 2016

I second this. Dietary changes definitely help, not the I ever really ate shit - definitely will never see me being the person starting the day with a Cinnabun at work. But portion control and spreading meals out at equal intervals keeps me functional. I also eat at the same time each day, and I think my body has responded by pushing the work gears to each food-break and then re-starting once done.

...

Aug 3, 2016

I was going to say I don't understand why you don't mention coke here but plenty of others beat me to it. I like to mix up a five hour energy with a shot of Fireball and take it in the eye.

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Aug 3, 2016

Thank you for the detailed description of, "Drugs are bad, health is good, aren't I great."

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Aug 3, 2016

There are a few nootropics on the market I've had good success with. CILTEP is good if you know you're going to get a good night's sleep after using it (so, not ideal for finance monkeys). What I find works even better is Nexus by Axon Labs. I take Nexus two or three times a week, and it really works.

    • 2
Aug 3, 2016

Quaaludes, duh

Aug 3, 2016

I actually suffer from Adrenal Fatigue and it's a slow creep to this state. It's a slow road to recovery but I'm now on supplements, a strict diet, and work out 3-4x a week. I still have a lot of episodes of extreme fatigue because the workload hasn't changed but I'm now trying to mitigate it with all this stuff.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2016

+1 SB for you. Especially appreciated your comments on breathing, incorporating it into my day today.

    • 2
Aug 4, 2016

Breathing is all fine and good, but what really works is ephedra and caffeine, commonly known as an "EC Stack."

Go to the CVS counter and buy the anti-athsma medicine Bronkaid. (You'll have to show ID because it's also used to make meth.) It has ephedra in it. Down one pill with a cup of coffee or some preworkout in the morning. You are good to go until like 2pm. Works for weight loss too because it suppresses appetite. Then, come 2pm, either double down with another dose or just get a quick coffee to stay up.

    • 2
Aug 3, 2016

Is this ephedra shit that gucci? This is the first time I've actually heard of of it so I'm might have to go dabble in a sec. Thank god there's a CVS next door to my building.

'"The floggings will continue until morale improves"

Aug 4, 2016

Ephedrine is purely a stimulant.

It's not really bad unless you take a shitton of it and get heart attacks.

"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedrine"

Works well.

Aug 4, 2016

100%. You might get the sweats at first because it marginally raises your core body temperature, but that stops soon. Basically, ephedra was one of the best weight loss supplements on the market. It 100% worked because it was both a stimulant and an appetite suppressant. However, people were retarded and abused it so the government outlawed it being sold for weight loss or as a stimulant.

Bronkaid has the added benefit of opening your airways too haha since that's what it's for.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

Any update yet on how gucci it is?

    • 5
Aug 5, 2016

I used to run EC stacks when I would cut weight for competitions. Its damn good at that long subtle alertness, as opposed to the normal spike and crash I get from addys or the likes.

Word of caution though, it should be cycled on and off, at least the ephedrine. 3 months on, 1 month off, rinse, repeat, succeed.

    • 1
Aug 4, 2016

I agree. I said this somewhere else in this thread too, but it really messes my stomach up after a while. It gives me these death shits where black tar rockets out of my ass. I stop taking them and go back to normal immediately too. Completely agree re: cycling

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

Great stuff. Would do bronkaid + caffeine pills whenever I needed to cut weight, really got the job done.

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Aug 4, 2016

20 mg of addy and a large ice coffee always seem to do the trick

    • 2
Aug 3, 2016

Gotta try some Califia Farms XX Espresso. It's iced coffee with almond milk. I could probably drink a gallon of it, I'm not kidding. It really gets you going if you take an XR with it.

'"The floggings will continue until morale improves"

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Aug 4, 2016

Bahahaha you found my morning stack

    • 1
Aug 19, 2018

has Addy worked well for you?
I had a bad reaction (violent tendencies and over-hyped).
But ok for you then?

Aug 4, 2016

Ephedra (as found in Bronkaid) and Caffeine has changed my life.
It's like baby Adderall, but not so addictive or too much pure energy/focus.
It's used by bodybuilders to cut weight and stay focused, but I used it purely as performance enhancement.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

Aug 4, 2016

It does wreck my stomach after a while. I give it a rest after a few months.

Aug 5, 2016

Do your pharmacies still sell Bronkaid OTC? The ones in my area haven't had it for a few months-year now.

Aug 5, 2016
UTDFinanceGuy:

Ephedra (as found in Bronkaid) and Caffeine has changed my life.It's like baby Adderall, but not so addictive or too much pure energy/focus.It's used by bodybuilders to cut weight and stay focused, but I used it purely as performance enhancement.

I competed in bb (national level before going into finance) and only the natural guys use ephedra for the most part. A normal bb'ER might use it for an energy boost only; it's about as worthless for losing body fat as Hydroxycut. Cutting is done with hormonal compounds and diuretics.

Aug 5, 2016

Clen all day err day

Aug 19, 2018

where can I find that?

Aug 4, 2016

modafinil

Aug 3, 2016

This, if you can get the scrip. Nuvigil/Provigil

Aug 3, 2016

Also, if you guys are really interested in this stuff there is an excellent podcast dedicated to it:

http://smartdrugsmarts.com/

Aug 4, 2016

One habit I've adopted for over two years now and that has definately reduced my caffeeine needs: drinking large portions of water during all day. I've realised (and confirmed reading elsewhere on the internet) that when you drink large portions of water and stay hydrated, you become alert, stay focused and productivity goes all the way up.

The only obvious drawback is that you go to the toilet all day, but in comparison to the positive side, it's very worthwhile.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

This.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

Another technique that I've used is to head for the stairwell, explode up a good 4-5 stories, and then take the elevator back down. You may have to do that in reverse depending on what floors your keycard lets you into and your specific building layout.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

Realistically, I think we all clicked on this in hopes of finding NZT - we shall remain hopefully optimistic until it is released. Until then... grind on.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

^ Relevant Avatar right here my friend

"I did it for me...I liked it...I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."

Aug 5, 2016

Meddling Mage is my favorite haha

Aug 5, 2016

if you don't have a script for Adderall...you're doing it wrong...

    • 2
Aug 5, 2016

Ahhh to go to the gym or to go back to sleep? Which will make me feel better today?

Aug 5, 2016

Interesting side research on your point about breathing - it might have other benefits as well. There's some Dutch guy who goes by Wim Hof who does intensive breathing exercises similar to the one you posted. Apparently, he's able to voluntarily influence his immune system. Not sure how much of a benefit it really gives or if it's just one of those fads. However, they have run a scientific study on the breathing technique with 24 individuals, half in the control and half using the technique, then injected everyone with E. Coli. The results were pretty cool too, all twelve of those who practiced the breathing techniques showed far fewer flu-like symptoms, whereas everyone in the control group got sick.

Link to the article if you want to begin starting your day with 15 seconds of hyperventilation: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7379.full

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Aug 2, 2016

I've tried the Wim Hof stuff. It seems too good to be true, but a lot of elite athletes are jumping on board.

Despite my skepticism, I do the breathing techniques and ice cold shower almost every morning.

Aug 3, 2016

The showers are fucking hateful, but I do it too.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

20 minute naps (varies from person to person) throughout the day - NOT at the end of the day when obviously you're gonna fall straight to sleep...

Aug 5, 2016

Note that continuous high doses of caffeine (eg 2L diet coke a day) can cause urine shutoff problems after visiting the boys room. It's reversible, but it freaked a friend out.

Aug 3, 2016

Not to mention aspartame poisoning if you're drinking 2L of Diet Coke a day.

Aug 5, 2016

Or you could just pop some Adrenal support supplements!

Aug 5, 2016

Buck the office trend and alternate between sitting and standing while working.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

Or you could just pop some Adrenal support supplements!

Aug 5, 2016

I stopped reading when you mentioned adrenal fatigue.

You're right you're not a doctor, and adrenal fatigue is not an accepted medical diagnosis.

Aug 2, 2016

Should have kept reading two more sentences to where I said, "While there is still some debate in the medical community about the role the adrenal glans plays in this fatigue[...]"

Despite you being correct, it's amazing how many people tell me that they have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue by a medical professional. So while it might not be an official diagnosis, it's used commonly enough that I chose to use the term so people knew what I was referring to.

Good comment though.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2016

I have read all the stuff on adrenal fatigue. Whatever exactly it comes from or whatever exactly is going on doesn't matter, the effects are real. Basically, you're fucking exhausted. You're using stimulants for long periods of time to counteract your body telling you to FUCKING REST. Rest is not just sleep. If you're stressed out, thinking non stop, moving, typing, running the fuck around non stop, and not sleeping enough, all fueled on stimulants...you're gonna crash eventually.

Main thing is you gotta take some breaks. Lower stimulant intake for a month every so often if you can. 1L of water first thing in the AM did/does wonders for me (room temp is my preference for this). Some hippies will tell you to squeeze lemon in it...I kind of like it.

I've gotten to points where I would slam a bunch of coffee/yerba mate powder (favorite)/guarana powder at night to crush a project...only to realize my brain is fried and I go straight to sleep...LOL thats not good quality sleep. Which reminds me, sleeping with a bunch of stimulants running through you is not good quality sleep (from experience). I was helped significantly from the exhaustion when I banned myself from night time caffeine (I had no problem back then sleeping immediately after coffee). Have it earlier, the stuff runs in your system for a while.

Also, obviously having lots of fruits and veggies help over carbs with no nutritional density. I make sure I eat 3 servings of veggies a day and 3 servings of fruit a day...it's not easy, but holy shit...I'm walking on water these days, no joke. Smoothies don't count sorry.

Aug 6, 2016

Back when I was stationed on a ship I would chew coffee grinds to keep me awake during those long watches just mindlessly staring out to the open ocean in pitch black darkness at 0330 up on the bridge. The downside is they make your breath smell like shit so it doesn't really work in the office setting. Now I just bum addy off my gf since she is prescribed.

Aug 27, 2016

A friend of mine in B-school got through his green beret 40-day ruck or whatever the fuck its called by rubbing coffee grinds in his eyes. said it hurt like shit the first minute or two, but that it kept the eyes open and you alert enough to keep walking. not sure how much that helps you when you are trying to analyze a tri-party merger.

Aug 6, 2016

If you have to interact with other humans who are not as sleep deprived/crazy as you are then it is not recommended.

Aug 7, 2016

Is addy good for excel? I remember taking it in college and the series 7, helped my study like a mofo. But it was just reading....with like words and stuff.

Aug 27, 2016

yes, but balance check the shit out of your 3 statements ( I sometimes am churning shit out so fast, I will miss alighn an input or something. so I force myself to do period checks. also do not open WSO up or reddit or ESPN. or you will delay working on a model you are trying to do for a long time. Think of adderall like a water cannon you cant shut off. great focus, but if you move it off your intended target, you will have great focus in something utterly useless until you lock back into your tasks. I call it going down the rabbit hole. Learned a fuck ton about knock off LSD last week by getting sent a reddit link on Epipens.

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Aug 7, 2016

Awesome, great feedback.

Aug 8, 2016

Minimize the amount of carbs you eat during the day, the carb crash in the late afternoon is the worst thing you get during a sleep deficiency

Veggies, some fruits and chicken are good stuff, exercise is great and the breathing stuff is something I use to lower my stress levels. Good advice here, appreciate it!

Aug 9, 2016

I can totally relate to the printer-walk sessions, for some reason walking to the printer and back gives me energy. Sometimes I'll go a little further and take a walk to a Starbucks... Ice coffee + 5 minute walk changes my entire day. Other things I'll do is to go walk over to a co-worker and talk for a little, having a conversation wakes me up.

May 30, 2017

Monkeys, for students do you suggest something?

May 30, 2017

I know it sounds weird, but I've found that throwing some headphones in and listening to trance-like house music can keep me going for like 2-3 hours past my burnout phase. I used to play piano growing up/came from a pretty musical group of people and can attest that music alone can seriously influence your thinking/performance. Try listening to this shit - https://soundcloud.com/hi-lomusic/hi-lo-powerhauz-... and I promise you'll go straight to work.

    • 1
May 30, 2017

Psychostimulants? Rytaline? Good website to order?

no

May 30, 2017

wouldve been great to do a comparison from the same poll 10 or 20 years ago...

a couple thoughts: 1. coffee wasn't really a surprise here.. i wonder if coffee (or lattes etc) is being drunk starting at a younger age? I don't remember anyone drinking it in high school, and personally I didnt start until senior year in college, not sure how i held off for so long.

2. Water at 9%? I wish i was that healthy

3. were the 6% that drink tea mostly all in europe (London) + fin-hipsters that drink yerba mate?

4. predictions for the couple of years: nootropics category will go up, adderall (or similar) will hold steady, energy drinks will drop significantly; that shit is horrible for you. Next time i'll include Transcendental Meditation and it will get ~3-4% of the votes

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May 30, 2017
AndyLouis:

3. were the 6% that drink tea mostly all in europe (London) + fin-hipsters that drink yerba mate?

I drink good old fashioned Lipton because I don't really like to drink coffee after my morning cup(s). Tea gives me that little boost I need and I don't feel a crash from it unlike coffee, it's a gradual comedown.

Aug 19, 2018

adderall definitely helps me concentrate, but also makes me a violent roided unstable brute. So, not a good long term solution for me. I'd be keen to know what others have tried as far as concentration enhancers. I do have genuine concentration problems that form a medical need.

Aug 19, 2018

Lion's Mane (mushrooms) and gingko biloba have been very helpful in boosting my concentration in an herbalistic sense. Not stimulants per se, but certainly helpful, so I thought I'd chime in with these.

Aug 19, 2018

For tea, I recommend ginseng oolong (renshen oolong) as it is a double stimulant - the ginseng as well as the natural caffeinated tea.

Aug 22, 2018
Alistair-Clark:

Whenever you need a pick-me-up, simply take 10 "power breaths" using a 1:4:2 ratio for inhale:hold:exhale. For example, INHALE for 5 seconds, HOLD for 20 seconds, EXHALE for 10 seconds, and REPEAT 10 times.
energy at work (with or without stimulants).

Alistair-Clark:

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Great tip, not only did this energize myself, but my entire team at work from its chain effect. When my team saw me holding my breath for the first time, they assumed I was ahead of the curve on picking up on a massive fart, so they all began to hold their breath too, then they all took at least 10 power breaths when they actually smelled the fart fueled by my prior nights natty bender.

Also, now that I've been practicing for a while, my managing partner now thinks I've been trying to move the coffee mug on my desk with my mind for the past three weeks.

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