Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Regarding number 7, I disagree with the alcohol statement. At least for me I tend to over-think and never commit to anything, but after a beer or two I can sit down and just start coding and I will be more focused and have less distractions, I will get more accomplished after those two beers than when I am completely sober and awake.

With those beers I finally just let go and put what I have been thinking down on paper, I can finally concentrate. Now I haven't been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD but I have a hard time concentrating mainly because my thought processes are already 100 steps ahead of where I currently am and are thinking about things that are completely irrelevant for now.

If anyone else has experienced this, or knows what I can look for in myself/and start improving please let me know. I really would love to be like my co-workers who can just instantly dive into a task and have their mind focused. I always feel like I am not able to produce the amount of work they produce because I am so easily distracted.

That is not to say that what I ultimately produce is not good, no it is fantastic, it is well thought out, takes care of the little details like memory management, but it takes me a long time to get it done.

The really high-level meta-advice here is to introspect and notice patterns. What circumstances and mental states lead to feeling bad? What methods have shown themselves effective for producing desired changes in feelings and behavior? Noticing this sort of thing can be very useful. It's certainly helped me.

In other words, we can do science to ourselves.

I don't feel bad, I don't feel down, instead what I feel is like I can't concentrate on any single one task unless I take a downer (alcohol in this case) to slow my brain down and let me think of one single task at a time.

The thing that has helped me, as stated before, is alcohol. It allows me to concentrate and just get code down. Now do I think that is good for me and or my body? No. I would rather have my full brain capacity to work just as hard, I want to be able to focus on one task.

That is why I was asking if other people had found the same, and what they were doing about it, or how they were solving the problem.

I was similar until I got a prescription for Adderall. That worked for me. Not saying it works for everyone but treating my "overactive brain" with Adderall has changed my life, 100% for the better.

This is a really common symptom of adult ADD/ADHD. I highly recommend the book Driven to Distraction. It helped me make sense of a lot of aspects of my life that I just couldn't understand before.


You post rings very true for me, however I self-medicate with marijuana most every night. I too have a hard time concentrating when my thought stream moves far too quickly.

Pot slows it down to roughly the same speed that i can work at. It does not make me stupid or turn me into a 'stoner'. I am more productive when under this influence, and I write better code. Obviously, this is not a solution during work hours for me either.

I tried SSRI's for about a year and did not find a medication that 'Worked for me' in that time. Some of them were downright worse than the disease, so I stopped taking them.

If you work it out let me know :P

> "With those beers I finally just let go and put what I have been thinking down on paper, I can finally concentrate."

For different reasons the same works for me. I've had OCD that has gotten worse/changed over the last 7 years since I started having problems. I've been on various SSRIs that help, but not in the ways I need. About one beer is what I need to be able to focus and accomplish something and be happy with how I spend an evening.

I am right there with you. Sometimes I need an energy drink to make one part of my brain catch up with the other, or it's a beer or two.

Frankly, I would have never finished college were it not for a strange mix of kidney-liver assaulting caffeine/alcohol liquids concurrently being imbibed. At times it seems the solution is the same for writing code for extended periods of time..

I'm going to bet ADD. I was never diag'd either.

I was diagnosed with ADHD predominately inattentive in Jan 2010. After some education and reflection, I decided to try the medication route. My psychiatrist had first suggested EEG biofeedback therapy, but my location was 1000km from the nearest facility, and the costs involved were prohibitive at the time. Mindful meditation was also suggested, but I couldn't get into it. I started Adderall in July, but the PNS stimulation was too great, so I switched to Dexedrine 4 months ago. Since starting the stimulants, my productivity has gone up 300%. The only side effects I have noticed is having an increased drive where I sometimes take on more work than I should, and that even a small amount of alcohol will make me feel ill/off for 4-5 days.

This questionnaire http://easydiagnosis.com/cgi-bin/expert/start.cgi?mod=Attent... is reportedly quite accurate for the adhd diagnoses.

This questionnaire http://easydiagnosis.com/cgi-bin/expert/start.cgi?mod=Attent.... is reportedly quite accurate for the adhd diagnoses.

Wow, 86% probability for me. Sounds high enough to seek medical advice I suppose? And I thought I'm just an average persone like everyone around me. ADD though, not ADHD. Edit: apparently they are the same thing according to Wikipedia.

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and started taking Ritalin, and it's helped tremendously. In the past I took that, and sometimes Vicadin, to help. They both helped me focus and get much more done. Obviously the Vicadin wasn't prescribed for that, I just found out by accident that it worked.

I just tried this test and scored a 99% for ADD (ADHD was recently changed to be all encompassing - you can have either inattentive or hyperactive or both).

I noticed the similar effect in my past, though I did not let me drink very often.

1. I came to conclusion that there are things that induce/ fixate short attention span patterns and things that help induce/ fixate long attention span.

The first are news, jokes and basically everything that makes you switch topics very often. The second are playing a few hours of Civilization, reading long books, basically things that are enjoyable and require a long focus on the same topic.

So you can at least move the first type of activities to the end of your work day, and do the second type before the work.

2. There are problems with concentration related to deep hidden fears that you used not to notice for years. "Core Transformation" by Connirae Andreas is a great tool to fix that and a lot of other mental blocks.

3. There is some noticable effect from taking nootropics like Piracetam. Expecially the first time if you never did it before.

Interesting. I get the opposite effect, despite having a rather high tolerance for alcohol at this point. After a glass of wine or two beers, I'm too "slowed down" to properly concentrate on coding. It becomes a much more perceptible strain.

"If anyone else has experienced this ... please let me know."

I discovered the same thing. Alcohol stops the overthinking and lets me get stuff done. It seems that alcohol is a substance that different people react to very differently.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact