O man, take care!
What does the deep midnight declare?
"I was asleep—
From a deep dream I woke and swear:—
The world is deep,
Deeper than day had been aware.
Deep is its woe—
Joy—deeper yet than agony:
Woe implores: Go!
But all joy wants eternity—
Wants deep, wants deep eternity."
Modafinil isn't the biggest gain I've made towards peak experiences -- that'd be just basic exercise. It's not the largest gain towards general well-being, which is just a cleaner diet and very good hydration. It's not even the biggest no-brainer of a nootropic, the honor of which probably goes to Piracetam.
But with that said -- wow. It's some pretty amazing stuff.
In this post, we'll cover:
1. The effects and subjective experience, negative and postive, of Modafinil.
2. The routine I built around taking it, through trial and error, for best performance.
3. Some jumping-off points for further research.
Please note that I'm not a physician or nutritionist. I've consulted with some, and am an enthusiastic amateur. Your health is incredibly precious and you should get informed personally through thorough research, and it's absolutely worth spending the small amount of money to consult with trained professionals if you're changing your health and medical routines.
Okay, so what's the world like on modafinil? There seems to be a lot of curiosity around it. Having been taking it on-and-off for a few months now and tracking my performance both objective and subjective, here's one take.
We'll start with the downsides.
Negative Effects of Modafinil
Downside #1: My kinesthetic sense is sharper.
This actually isn't a good thing, in my book. I've got a variety of nagging sports injuries, some latent damage from a motorcycle crash in Cambodia, etc. I'm more in touch with my body and my senses are sharper on modafinil, but that actually brings to the surface some otherwise acclimated latent pain. It can be distracting as I feel some of the old damage in my ribs, formerly broken hand, etc. The gains from a greater kinesthetic sense are relatively small with what I do, feeling old injuries more acutely can be distracting. (More on how I deal with this in a moment.)
Downside #2: Same with vision, though this one is more of a mixed blessing.
I pick up colors, patterns, backgrounds, and details to a larger extent. I notice buildings on the horizon and more of the surroundings. This is neat for "getting presence," but for instance, there's a restaurant near my office with an outdoor area with Christmas lights strung over it. Those neon lights are much brighter, almost distracting on modafinil. It's not such a problem in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, but I think it'd be maddening in Tokyo or Las Vegas.
Downside #3: I lose track of time.
It's good for focusing, putting your head down, and getting a lot of things done. But I really lose track of time, and have to set alarms. I'll look around and it'll be 5AM, and 8PM was not that long ago. Stupid basic things, like sitting in a cafe two hours before an appointment next door. Normally no problem, on modafinil I need to set alarms things like that. I won't take modafinil in a day stacked with a variety of things that have to happen at specific times, unless someone else is managing my schedule.
Downside #4: Fluency of thought increases, but can easily go all over the place.
I don't like to be on modafinil with five things on my mind. One or two, good. This requires strict agendaing... if there's five things and I'm task switching between them, then it's very easy to fall into an intensely focused bout of uselessness. If I'm researching quotes for writing, I could wind up reading about Shakespeare or some military conflict for a few hours. Breaks are dangerous too -- when I was first acclimating used to modafinil, I definitely burned some 10-hour stretches just playing online Chess, which would never happen not on the stuff.
Downside #5: Apetite is gone.
I don't want to eat anything. Normally after lifting weights, I'll eat a salad with chicken or tuna, and then a couple more plates of chicken. On modafinil, I'll feel full three-quarters of the way through the salad, and have to force-eat more to get some sustainable amount of calories. Snacking on nuts slowly can help with this, but it's actual a real problem since I almost always try to lift on days I take modafinil (more on this in a moment).
Downside #6: Mild headaches.
I've sometimes gotten mild headaches on the stuff. This might be due to unrelated things though -- like forgetting to eat, drink water, etc. I'm unsure -- I now carefully manage when I take modafinil and the routine around taking it, and don't get headaches any more.
Downside #7: Long half-life plus can't-sleep-on-it requires some planning.
The half-life of modafinil is 12-15 hours, which is just absurd. Sometimes I'll be planning on doing a work stretch on modafinil, but it'll hit early evening and I hadn't taken it yet. Then I'm in a bit of a bind. If I take it, I won't be sleeping well until 7AM to 10AM the next day, and I'll probably wake up between 11AM to 2PM pretty alert with it still in my system. This might sound good, but it's not -- you have to actually plan around taking the stuff. I'd really prefer if it had a 4-6 hour half-life.
I like to start with the downsides of something for perspective -- the majority of articles like to start with the "wonder and awe" aspects, which leaves out some important information. On modafinil, I experience greatly heightened senses, though that's not necessarily a plus (bright/neon lights can be distracting, I feel pain from old injuries). It's conducive to "head-down" working, but that can easily go off the rails. It's powerful stuff that lasts a long time, so needs to be seriously planned around. It's possible to neglect hydration and eating on the stuff, which is also bad. I had headaches on it sometimes before experimenting and building a routine around it.
Positive Effects of Modafinil
The biggest effect is that it obliterates the need to sleep.
It's just gone. You don't need to sleep on the stuff.
If you're sleep deprived, you get back to "normal and pretty good" quickly, though I think that's a bit of a dangerous game so I don't play it. Rather, I try to take modafinil when I'm on a reasonable amount of sleep, which results in a prolonged and stable much-increased baseline of energy and alertness.
The mechanism of action for modafinil isn't fully understood (which is always troubling to me when I'm researching something; after I did a lot of research on this one, I decided to go for it anyways). It's a nootropic, and not an amphetamine or traditional stimulant. The current state of science is that it's not fully understood how it works.
But tiredness is gone. For me, it brings a sharp and clear awakeness, similar to a non-caffeine user having a large coffee, except the effect is larger and there's no jitteryness or agitation.
I do better writing on it, and put abstract connections together better. It's particularly helpful when I'm trying to do something that's somewhat boring but could use a dose of good creativity, like writing sales materials for a conservative industry where it's hard to get great copy and good points. I particularly like to do positioning, branding, and putting the finishing touches on products and services on modafinil. Integrating creativity into logical thinking (which have some opposition naturally) tends to be easier on it. So is synthesizing new information, like if I'm reading Ogilvy On Advertising and trying to implement some ideas from that.
I write much better cold emails on modafinil to meet people. I seem to put a better sense of connecting with people, their interests, and accomplishing goals together at the same time on it. The response rate is much higher even though I can dash it off quite fast without constructing the email at all.
I try to avoid activities that have highly variable, moment-by-moment results like making sales calls. I can too easily focus on one call or action and deconstruct and think it through for what seems like a short time, but is actually quite long.
I find it's not so good for solo research, but can good for researching with someone else who "brings things back around and keeps them on track."
I'm far less likely to "put stuff off" or "schedule it" on modafinil -- it's like, "Why aren't we doing it right now?" Though I try to leave very rote, repeatable tasks that don't require creativity for other days, since I don't take the stuff every day.
I work much faster -- this article is already at 1500 words. I've been thinking about this article for a week, outlined it yesterday in 20 minutes, and I'm now 30 minutes into writing it. I don't normally write that fast, not at all.
It's a great "get over the top" for particularly difficult problems. You know, the kind where you know you know the answer, and it's right there in your face, but you can't quite get it? Lately, instead of beating my head against the wall, I take some final notes on problems like that and leave it for when I take modafinil.
I have more energy in general, and a general better sense of well-being. I'm more optimistic on it by a little bit. Surprisingly, I seem less impatient (there's a light fleeting sense of, "I shouldn't be wasting this time..." if I'm in high-creative mode on modafinil and doing something rote, but not much aggravation or hostility with it.)
As a caveat though, I've had bad experiences when taking modafinil in a particularly bad mood. If I was ruminating and having a particularly bad day, taking modafinil made me get deeper into the rut and accomplish nothing. Eventually on those days I'd wind up doing the 10-hours-of-online-chess thing to just block the ruminating. So it's not a cure-all, it's a good boost for moods ranging from "slightly below average" up to "excellent," but not a good solution for particularly bad days.
My Routine on Modafinil For Effectiveness
I had hit-or-miss experiences with modafinil until I built a routine around it. First, my normal routine.
My normal routine includes a diet heavy in protein, moderate in fat, and almost no carbohydrates. In the morning, I take 1600mg of Piracetam along with Vitamin C, fish oil, calcium, collagen, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid. In the wintertime or if not getting much sun, I add Vitamin D. I also consume way too much caffeine, I've been scaling back from 6-7 coffees/teas per day to 3-5. I'm happy with the majority of these lifestyle choices, except the caffeine which is just simple addiction that I haven't been willing to go through the withdrawal effects to break yet. I occasionally take melotonin, which promotes better sleep. I'll usually do this if I'm sleep deprived and want to sleep 10+ hours to recover, but I never never take melotonin around the same timeframes I'm taking modafinil -- if tolerance building or dependency effects are coming on, I want to know it and not accidentally have it covered up.
I lift weights 2-4 times per week, and usually go for a 2-4 hour walk once or twice per week, along with a good amount of walking mixed into my lifestyle.
Warning: Speculation follows. Check with doctors, nutritionists, do your own research. This is just my speculating based on my experience, with a sample size of one.
Out of everything I take to supplement, Vitamin C, fish oil, calcium, and collagen are pretty standard supplements for healthy people. I doubt Vitamin C, calcium, or collagen has much of an interaction with modafinil. Fish oil might have some impact and relevance to the discussion, in that it tends to promote good moods and reduce inflammation, both of which are relevant. I take hyaluronic acid and glucosamine for some soft tissue damage I had, which definitely helped healing and recovery, and seems to have minimal impact on mental state.
Piracetam probably has the largest interaction with Modafinil. Piracetam is another nootropic, which has some qualities of a stimulant and generally seems to increase my working memory, capacity for thought, and problemsolving. Piracetam was first synthesized in 1964 and there have been people on constant usage of it since then, and it seems to be rather safe. The biggest point on Piracetam is that it seems to promote brain connectivity, which heightens and expands the effects of other mind alterants. I suspect that modafinil has a greater effectiveness and a faster effectiveness when combined with Piracetam.
I also consume a significant amount of caffeine, but I don't have a baseline before-and-after -- I've been taking caffeine the entire time I take modafinil, so I can't comment. There might be some sort of interaction there, or might not.
So, my first experiences with modafinil were mixed. Some wonderful ones, some poor ones.
These days, when I take modafinil, I take it 20-30 minutes after I take my start-of-day supplements (Piracetam, Vitamin C, fish oil, calcium, collagen, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine) and I try to heavily hydrate before taking it and have a large coffee, since I can easily forget later. I eat some light protein, usually a couple eggs or a pack of nuts. I then make sure I go to the gym in the next hour or two. I won't take modafinil any more without doing intense physical exercise.
That's the most important thing for consistent good feelings and production on modafinil -- the post-workout hormones with dopamine, etc, seem to dull the pain from injuries and potential headache, make me relax a little more (which helps me knock off the task-switching which can ruin productivity).
I try to have a few problems I'd like to work out on already laid out, so I can just dive in. It's best if they're organized in such a way that there's no desire to switch between them. For instance, maybe I have three pieces of writing I'd like to do -- I'll just work on one of them, in that case. Having problems that are related (a sales campaign and a marketing campaign that have lots of feedback between them) is particularly problematic, since I'll get ideas for both of them that are worth capturing, but it'll take me out of the intense flow.
I try not to have any appointments scheduled.
After the gym, I eat the salad and drink a huge pitcher of ice water. Probably 30 minutes after that, I force myself to eat another plate of chicken or a pack of nuts (I don't want to), and order a coffee. While I'm eating, I'm very open to doing random things. I'll skim my list of projects and campaigns, go through my email, listen to audiobooks or music, read a little, or whatever. Right after the gym I'm kind of in a blissful mood and not quite ready to put my head down, so I just enjoy it and take in some good inputs.
About 30 minutes after the gym (3-4 hours after taking morning supplements, 1.5-3.5 hours after taking modafinil) I hit the highest part of my creative stride. I try to be solo at the this time, and work on difficult problems I couldn't normally solve. It's a great time for writing, in particular, and all sorts of other abstract problemsolving.
This time will run for a couple hours, and around hours 5-8 I like to start working on something collaborative with someone. Early in the supplement/modafinil/gym/food cycle, thoughts and production come too fast and I want to just channel it and stay in flow state. After a few hours, it slows down a bit and I'm "just" a more energetic/optimistic/slightly-increased-senses-and-thought version of myself. It's good for collaborating.
My experiences are with 200mg doses of Modalert from MyModafinil, which is a generic version that costs around $2 per dose and is made in India. It's lightly controlled in the USA, so you do your own research and get a prescription if you're interested in it. I've had good experiences with MyModafinil.
For further reading, Gwern's article on Modafinil is quite scientific.
Dave Asprey at Bulletproof Exec is a big fan, as described in, "Why You Are Suffering from a Modafinil Deficiency." I wouldn't say the edge from it is quite that big as Asprey describes it, but yes, it's definitely possible to do things creatively on it that aren't off of it.
Daniel Tenner's "Modafinil and Startups" is insightful -- he used it to combat sleep deprivation, so that's where you can get a take on that. He had some similar experiences as me (if you don't have a focused thing or two to do, it's easy to go all over the place) but some were different (his periperal vision declined; mine improved almost to the point of it being distracting). The Hacker News discussion on Tenner's piece is good too.
Just A Few Recommendations
Mostly, I'm not making recommendations -- just sharing my experience. However, I do have a few.
1. Research thoroughly if you get into any new medicinal or pharmaceutical routine. It's just a smart practice. I'll try to write an article sometime in the next week about how I evaluate pharmaceuticals/addictiveness, but you should definitely be familiar with dosages, tolerance-building, withdrawal effects, contraindication and drug interactions/reactions. It's your life and health, so it's worth spending time to learn.
2. Try to talk to a few people directly who have used whatever you're considering. The internet makes this really easy, there's no really good reason not to.
3. Find a good health professional with similar philosophy to you that understands your goals, and get professional advice. The right professional can do wonders for helping you make good decisions and avoid bad decisions.
4. On a personal note, I'd recommend Piracetam as a better starting point than Modafinil for someone who has never done nootropics... it's just much less hardcore in every respect. It doesn't lead to such huge gains, but it has a lower half-life, less side effects, and overall doesn't change your day and life as much as Modafinil.
Make sure you bookmark or subscribe via RSS -- sometime in the next week I'll cover evaluating addictiveness, side effects, etc., of pharmaceuticals. It'll be quite relevant if it's a topic you're interested in, so stick around.
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Note, November 2013: Please don't link or recommend companies in the comments if I don't know you personally. There's been a medium large volume of spam and it's not clear what's a comment from a legitimate buyer and what's spam from a company. There's plenty of places online with comprehensive reviews and discussion; the comments here can't adequately fill that function. Thanks.
After taking it for the past 3 days, I am really confused by the many, many glowing reviews of Modafinil. As an academic book editor, I purchased it to help me get through the grunt work of footnotes, indexing etc which requires a narrow focus for extended periods while fighting back boredom. I thought Modafinil would be just the thing. Took 200mg when it arrived, around 3pm, which in hindsight was a bad idea, but I didn't feel any different. I couldn't eat dinner, and then after doing chores, putting the kids to bed etc I thought I'd get some work done. Started by checking emails first, and that was when the trouble began. I responded to a group school email from my son's teacher with an insanely long and inappropriate manifesto about education and my expectations of the school, hopes for my son, blah blah blah, cc the Principal. At the time I was writing I felt a kind of mental clarity but also a little bit of buzzy/high sensation (an arrogance?) of thought. I could drill down into ideas I was attracted to and articulate them clearly, but my sense of what is appropriate was lost somewhere. Why can't somebody please come up with a "delete sent email" function!?
I sent another couple of long emails to colleagues, nothing too bad, then got caught up doing something on the internet. I then realised it was after midnight and I thought the clock must be broken. It appeared that around 3 hours had gone by in about 5 mins. But I couldn't really remember what I had been doing. Went to bed and lay there all night. Awake, watching the clock, feeling my heart race, until dawn. I had to get up at 6 and make the breakfasts/lunches, do school run and go to work, so what options do I have? Take another Moda, of course. After dropping kids at school, I decided to walk to work (late? who cares), and had a wonderful walk, my mind in a wonderful place of exploration and possibility. I have an interest in history, so I was kind of imagining the city evolving since settlement and how awesome it is that all the decisions made by people in the past affect the way we live today, how certain past events may have turned out differently, and that we may be living quite differently today. It was a cool Autumn morning on Sydney Harbour and I was feeling very lucky to be alive, and right there at that time.
Got to the office and my great mood was immediately replaced by a sense of dread, and I knew I couldn't stay there. I tried. I looked at the index and could barely remember the alphabet. My brain was off, running free somewhere else and I didn't know how to put it back on a leash. It just felt too good to think. It was like I had been allowed into a world of ideas and, like a greedy kid being let into a lolly shop, I just wanted to sample them all, "oh - but there are too many, I can't possibly get to them all but don't know which one to choose". Gah! Then I felt an overwhelming urge to talk. I knew I was rambling but I couldn't help myself. My words were running together and I was talking over people. I was being loud and obnoxious and I didn't care. I felt anxious that the conversation would end. I could sense my colleague trying to wind up the conversation and get back to work but I was deliberately ignoring these social cues to continue talking about food security, or whatever one way conversation I was having that had nothing to do with work. This is SO unlike me. While I am usually pleasant and friendly at work, I am generally quiet and involved in my own tasks.
I was overcome by a complete crash around lunch time. Suddenly I felt horrendous. I couldn't eat, was having aching pains, all the while I am sucking my mouth like crazy every since taking the first pill and the insides of my cheeks and tongue are very painful. Ordered a strong coffee but couldn't drink more than half. You know where this is going don't you? I had to be able to function for my kids so inevitably, I took a taxi home (I was so tired I couldn't even walk to the bus stop) I tried to have a nap but I knew sleep was still not going to happen. I decided that I would have to take more, so it would be better to do it sooner rather than later, I took half at around 2pm and by 3pm I still felt like shit but knew I need to go and buy food for dinner, and be alert to cook etc, so I took the other half. Evening went fine but I was feeling racy and worried I wouldn't sleep so decided to have some wine. Oh, the wine was wonderful! I can't remember anything after that. When I woke up the next morning I found 2 empty wine bottles! I had put the kids to be in their pajamas etc but have no recollection of doing so. Going through my mobile phone calls list (torture), I discovered that I had called one friend 5 times! She said I kept calling and forgetting that we had just spoken, so called again! She was really worried about me.
Yesterday (Friday) I was 'working' from home (getting nothing done), unable to get out of the intense 'brain fog', but my ex-husband is picking up the kids and taking them for the weekend so I have no responsibilities. I am due to meet a friend for drinks and dinner. She is out from the UK and this is the only time we can find that is convenient for both of us so I really don't want to cancel. Firstly, I really want to see her, she is such fun, and also I don't want to be rude and let her down, or turn up feeling so tired and grumpy that I am rotten company. So, using the same logic, I come to the conclusion that yes, I am going to take another pill to perk me up, so with that decision made, I then thought, sooner rather than later or I'll be up all night. So I took one pill around 3pm. I called the school principal to continue our 'conversation' about the education of my children, and can barely remember the evening. I don't know why but I took another pill at around 6 I think. We went to dinner, I ordered soup and said I just want to smell it, and sat there with it in front of me inhaling the aroma in an exaggerated way. I was behaving like a fucking idiot! She asked me if I was on drugs, but I said "if I'm acting weird it's pms". Yeah right.
I woke up this morning in my clothes, including high heel shoes, see blood on my pillow and freak out. Turns out I've had a nose bleed. My mouth, nose and lips are intensely dry and the constant sucking has left white blisters inside my lips and cheeks, and deep ridges in my tongue that look like bruising. At first I think my lips are bleeding but I think that's just red wine stains in the cracks. I have no idea how I got home, don't remember anything except a few flashes. I feel like I've just come out of a 3 day drug bender. I feel so embarrassed and ashamed of my behaviour. What started out as a desire to be more productive, has left a trail of destruction in it's wake. I have insulted both my son's teacher and the Principal, possibly lost a friendship, and failed to complete my work. In fact the little I did do will have to be redone, and I am left to face the author on Monday to explain why the book is not going to meet production schedule.
Obviously, in hindsight, I should not have taken the first 200mg pill on the first afternoon. It created a cycle that I couldn't get out of. So, my advice to anyone thinking of taking it would be to please, start at a much smaller dose.
Sorry, but this is the funniest shit I have ever read. I can't believe you're serious. You take this thing that doesn't work at all with you, and all you do is take some more. I would say you deserved it. Learn from experience...
Hey there, I'm a trainee doctor with a background in Neuroscience and I've just wrote an article on modafinil that would have saved you a lot of pain. I highly rate the drug, when used properly and safely: http://improveanthony.com/2013/10/29/conqueringsleepwithmodafinil/
Forgive my rudeness, but why on earth would you take a drug with a 15hour half-life, that inhibits sleep, at 3 pm? If you take it at 9am, it will still be quite active in your system at midnight.
may i add im so thankful i found your post, i thought i was going insane and started blaming myself for being so careless about my health , i am so interested in knowing whether you continued with your medicine and if you could reach a good balance to get the most out of it (without feeling you are about to burn out) or decided to discontinue
This is the most hilarious thing i've read in ages!!! I couldn't believe it everytime u kept repeating the same mistake(ie taking yet another pill)
I am day three into this medicine, took 200 mg today and feeling rather exhausted from all the alertness !my doctor wanted me to start half a pill (according to the nurse i checked with)but that was lost somewhere in communication and i ended up following the instructions on the bottle(which allowed me to take up to 400mg a day and i did that yesterday!) . Now according to the nurse i'm too small for this dose , she didn't say i overdosed but i don't need to be a genius to conclude so. I will skip tomorrow and restart the day after hoping for better results
"Piracetam works by stimulating the Acetylcholine receptors which in turn is going to cause the ACh transmitters to need to be replenished. This is why taking a Choline source such as Choline Bitartrate, Choline CDP, and Alpha GPC is not only helps to enhance the effects of the piracetam but will also eliminate any side effects one feels from taking piracetam alone (i.e. headaches)."
Do you take any source of Choline with it?
Like I was saying before my post got deleted - I've taken Choline alongside Modiodal and Modalert with differing effects (bought from www.BritishMedStore.net)
As always I recommend people that if they're going to stack, do it after conducting lots and lots of independent research. We know Modafinil isn't super dangerous but I never trust stacking enough to just take a punt without knowing the precise science behind the mixture.
You should do an article on Piracetam alone too. It would be interesting to see you try a day without caffiene and just have Piracetam & Modafinil alone. Have you tried Asprey's Bulletproof Coffee?
Great post. I'm a trainee-doctor with an additional degree in neuroscience and I've written an article about my experience with Mod as well as my simplified interpretation of the scientific literature and my safety considerations for using mod too. Please take a look if you're interested:
I'm curious. Have you tried grass-fed beef/lamb. It's Dave Asprey's biggest recommendation in the diet. You don't subscribe to that advice? Excessive chicken can also elevate omega-6 above optimal levels relative to omega 3, though if the rest of your diet is clean, I'm not sure how important just that part is.
Alpha-GPC makes a world of a difference when taken with Piracetam (which improves ACh receptor function) or acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as Caffeine. It's not cheap but is the only choline source shown to permeate the blood brain barrier. It makes caffeine feel like modafinil ;)
I first too Modalert(Modafinil) after I was prescribed it by a Psychiatrist in 2011 when I couldnt focus for my exams. It suddenly improved my mood and my concentration. I could get a whole lot of work done and had a lot of energy to do the studies. I took it during my exam days as well which helped me but it left me with a headache and once I stopped after my exams it took me 2-3 days to get back from the tiredness I suddenly felt after abandoning the drug. I took it as prescribed at 8 in the morning.
Now I am taking it to counter an anti depressent prescribed to me which was making me sleepy and it has reduced sleep. But I can feel my weight now and the drugs have wreaked havoc on my digestion and stomach.
I would say Modafinil is great for concentrating during important moments but should not be taken just for alertness.
great post, btw pay attention to the tea.. high dose was linked to hepatotoxicity(liver damage) stick to a cup a day..
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you on some points. But first let me say I was successfully treated with pemoline (Abbot's Cylert) for 25 years. Pemoline helped me with my lack of short term memory and inability to complete tasks or even wanting to start any. Nuvigil does none of these.
I could still sleep as a normal person as it did NOT keep me awake at night. I do not like Nuvigil at all and it's very expensive even with insurance coverage.
I didn't track Days Twenty or Twenty-One. On these days, I did a few valuable things and got in approximately 5 hours of very high-level creative work onto sales and marketing (almost by accident), and went to the gym once. But the days were very flawed.
Short answer is I was gearing up on Day Twenty for a big day, had my morning rituals in order, and took modafinil. Now, I've written about modafinil before -- it makes you really concentrate intensely. It's great when producing, but if you get off-track while on it, you can get really off-track.
So I took modafinil, and then made a gigantic mistake -- I checked my email.
And my email was particularly ugly that morning. You know the like "oh man, that's a pretty significant pain-in-the-ass emails" that you get a couple times a month? Well, I had like 3-5 of them sitting on top of my inbox. From my lawyer in Hong Kong (bad news), my landlord (rejecting me trying to extend a lease on reasonable terms, he wants something crazy and isn't really in touch with the property market here), a couple mails from clients, and an actually very solid opportunity but one that's pretty neurosis-increasing.
I should've willpowered through it, but the day was off-track after that. Then, didn't get to sleep until 11AM the next morning (modafinil + energy drink), and the next day was basically shot too.
My job and just about everything I do is reliant on having a well-oiled machine of a brain, so among the most important things that I do like eating healthy, exercising, and meditation, I also consume legal nootropics or "smart drugs" to give me the final edge I need to keep up with the work I demand of myself.
My modus operandi with performance-enhancing substances is to drop everything I'm on for a week when I first start taking a new substance. This is so that I can focus on the new substance and understand how it works on my body in isolation. Through this process I've weeded out a powerful synergistic mix that works very well for me. Keep in mind, a few of these chemicals are research chemicals, and PRL-8-53 in specific is very untested. You might find experimentation like this reckless, and I'd agree with you, but by carefully adding new substances to my "stack" one at a time, I've been able to so far safely avoid any perceivable negative side-effects.
One thing I've experimented with and found to just not work for me is phenyl-piracetam. Regular piracetam is awesome, but the additional phenyl group is just too much stimulation for me. I always crash at the end of the day and get really moody, to put it lightly.
Another rule of thumb I follow is to never touch anything that messes too much with my dopamine system. My will-power and reward system is something I try to delicately craft to do precisely what I want. I won't take amphetamines, coke, or anything with addictive properties... or anything dopaminergic whatsoever. The only exception of which is caffeine, which only acts on dopamine as a side effect of working on blocking the adenosine receptors. I also only get my caffeine from green tea in low doses. Dopaminergics usually aren't nootropics anyways, so that's a subject all its own.
What I usually do is cap my low-dose compounds in a pill so that I don't have to spend 10 minutes every morning mixing powders. You can get a huge bag of empty pills on Amazon for really cheap: