Let me just say, that Adderral changed my life. I used to have what I termed "Reddit seeking behavior". I could work on tasks that were interesting, but if it got a little rough or boring - what's happening on Reddit, or HN or Digg? However when I got on Adderral that entirely changed. I still check HN, but much less frequently because I'm busy getting things done. I don't have to resort to extreme changes in my environment to resist distractions. It comes naturally now.
I don't discount or disagree that focus can be improved. I know it first hand, but I would also argue that people with ADHD have some additional things going on that are much harder to train. If you are one of those people, getting on the appropriate medication could well change your life. I know it did mine. That's a big statement, and often over used, but for me, it changed the way I experience every day life in substantial and dramatic ways.
Take it for what it's worth, YMMV.
If you find that it negatively impacts your creativity or that it just doesn't make you feel like you, you can use it only for those occasions when you especially need to sit still/focus/etc..
A therapist friend of mine doesn't take her meds on days when she sees patients. She does take them when she has to catch up on all the paper work that she lets accrue.
What's more, there's a nice little truism that comes up from time to time around here that just because something feels like work, that doesn't mean it's actually productive. I think the same might be true of creativity. Within the first hour of taking my first medicine, I had a kind of fuzzy discomfort at how quiet my brain was. I'm used to having a flood of disparate ideas and impressions. Having that slew of noise in my head may occasionally yield some creative product that otherwise would be lost, but by the same token, I often will find a creative thread that I am excited about only to have it slip away as some other tangent jumps in front of it in my mind's eye.
If however you use it as prescribed, the euphoria leaves and the focus remains. I honestly feel more creative now, but as mentioned by others, it's a bit different. Before, I felt like I had a thousand ideas battling for my attention all the time. I didn't really notice it though because - well it was like that since birth. When I went on Adderrall, it was as if someone took all the buzzing in my brain and turned the volume way way down. The ideas and thoughts are still there, but they don't dominate my thinking process unless I choose to focus on them.
That said, it is not a permanent change. If I take a break from Adderall, the way I think about music is back to how it is "normally".
As an aside, I've found that smoking pot while on Adderall brings me to a rather mentally focused and creative state, which is nice, but not something I'd do every day.
I think Adderall would be more useful for you while taking existent characters and places in your worlds, and extrapolating around them, for lack of better phrasing. Coming up with new characters and places? Not so much. Really fleshing out existent ideas for characters and such? Oh yes. YMMV, of course.
It's been few weeks and my life has completely changed. I haven't quite experienced a "high" nor a crash except the first day. I just feel normal--and not like a bot that adderall is supposed to turn you into. I am not sure what to make of it. And it could completely be placebo.
I really wish I took this step few years ago! Simple things like making my bed, having breakfast seemed like a super pain in the ass. Not anymore. I really hope it stays this way longterm and isn't placebo.
Yet, I experienced no high of any sort. I still indulge in timewasting activities while on adderall(I'm on it now:)--but it's significantly less.
Please rethink what you're doing.
To put my tin-foil hat on: I consider ADHD an artifical diagnosis pushed by the pharma companies.
In that light, I'll share that my first 6 hours on medication (ie. as of this writing) have been an absolute revelation. I did a few chores around the house, the kind of thing that would usually take three times as long as it should, throw me into a bad mood, be interrupted by three or four stops at the computer to see whether anyone's responded to me on HN, and then end up being done with less than great attention to quality. Instead of that, I felt like I was in flow--for the first time in a LONG time. That usual static in my brain and in my attitude was almost entirely turned off, and instead, I was able to focus my attention and energy on efficiently and effectively solving the problems and accomplishing the tasks that were part of the job.
One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises was that I generally didn't misplace any of my tools while I was working. Usually, I spend several irritating chucks of thirty seconds or more trying to track down the pliers or the sand block. That didn't happen at all this time.
Also, and I'm sure this sounds pathetic to those who can't relate, I would often be faced with the most trivial of decisions, the most minor of challenges, and that would throw me off entirely, compounding all of those negatives I described above. This time, when a challenge was before me or a choice had to be made, it seemed like the most natural and normal thing in the world for me to quickly assess the situation, the options, and immediately settle on a likely solution and put it to the test without delay. All without duress and without effort.
I see what you mean about becoming a bit of an evangelist for this. If these benefits from medication last even once my system has done whatever adaptation it's going to do, I will be looking at a whole new life.
Could I go to a general practitioner or local clinic and get a prescription to try Adderral?
It's definitely something you'd want to talk to your doctor about, and they will monitor you closely when you go on it. If it turns out that it doesn't work for you, it can have some negative side effects on your personality. People get really angry and irritable, so if that happens you'll want to get off of it.
Definitely talk to a doctor about it if you think it is impacting your ability to work or study effectively.
This is an image representing an average-length human life; each box is one month.
Step 1: Clear your mind:
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath and say "oooooooooooooom" ten times. Try to keep your voice as steady as possible - concentrate on trying to keep the intensity and pitch of your voice consistent.
Open your eyes slowly. Your mind will feel clear and you can now focus on the task at hand.
I guess without proper "paid" media, articles of this quality is all we get.
Regardless, I use links because I think I ought to be doing you the service of linking to my original sources -- usually well founded research -- rather than just presuming that I'm to be trusted.
A link isn't distracting. You clicking on it is. We need articles with more links to background information, not less. See:
If you frequently link to many sources within a single post, it might be better to use superscripts and link to sources at the bottom (which, incidentally, is how PG does it). These are still distracting, but considerably less so when they're used exclusively for citations, as opposed to digressions.
http://bit.ly/9OKHt9 (google scholar search)
And "...a nuts-and-bolts, step-by-step guide to Insight [Vipassana] meditation...":
I've found that since I have to perform the physical act of swiveling my chair to comfortably use the laptop, it is much less tempting to get distracted. It was too easy to "just check my email really quick..." or "just respond to this one instant message..." when it was only a quick Spaces shortcut away.
The answer for me is balance. Work for two hours, then 1 hour break. Maybe exercise. Then when I come back, I'm focused and ready to go for another hour or so. Then maybe break, run an errand, have lunch. Take a short nap. Then work for another 2 hours.
Also, if you're having trouble focusing, ask yourself how much you like what really like what you're doing. I've been a programmer for 6 years, thought I liked it but had problems focusing, then realized my true passions were elsewhere.
I just tried pomodoro today as an experiment based on this article, and ended up going waaay overtime on several of them. As in, an hour or more of sustained focus at a stretch. So I suspect that the paperwork and the "have to stop after 25/35/45 minutes" parts are actually impacting my productivity (by popping me out of 'the zone'), not helping it.
After reading a suggestion on HN, I now try to start with something productive instead of email. If I HAVE to check my email first, I'll first start an alarm countdown to 10 minutes and then check email + HN.
I'm always a bit scared about the large influence a few pop-sci titles have, especially the ones that aren't even written by scientists.
Also, vidar mentioned Vipassana which I also have tried in the past. I meditated daily for a few months and my focus increased a TON. Extremely beneficial.
I'll definitely check out Pomodoro though.