Anyone who’s started up their own company will know what it’s like to wish for more hours in the day. When I was setting up my initial company while holding down a regular job, I only got 6 hours sleep out of every 24. This intense schedule carried on for about three quarters of a year, weekends included. After hours, I’d labor on the startup until just before midnight, snatch some sleep until 04h00 then hit the startup work again and take an hour powernap before my day job started.
I’ve blogged about that crazy schedule but up until now haven’t spilled the beans on what allowed me to pull it off without crashing and burning. My secret weapon is Modafinil, a smart drug that boosts alertness and mental function. Modafinil purchase was a real benefit for me. Modafinil is very popular drug and it is well advertised by lot’s of Modafinil vendors. You might have heard of it under another name, like Provigil or Alertec. Among entrepreneurs, nootropics that boost brain function are a hot button issue. Everyone in the startup space works hard and most play hard, so anything that helps you keep up with the pace is really interesting. I’ve discussed this at length in online forums but now I’m going to concentrate my knowledge into this single article.
Modafinil, the Facts
Night-shift workers and narcoleptics are often prescribed Modafinil by doctors. There are also anecdotal reports from military, police, rescue workers and son on that they sometimes utilize Modafinil during crunch times, when lives are on the line and an alert mind is required. The full pharmacological action of Modafinil remains to be discovered but some claim it boosts cognitive function and regular users agree that it blocks fatigue signals and boosts wakefulness.
While Moda’s reputation as a reliable stimulant began among narcoleptics and others with sleep disorders, it’s become well-regarded by those in search of extra energy and a mental boost, I call it sleep-in-a-pill rather than a sleeping pill. It’s available through pharmacies over the web and costs in the region of 5 bucks a pop. So instead of a Starbucks, you could take a Modafinil and enjoy a caffeine-like effect but without the jitters and inability to sleep.
Besides coffee, other obvious comparisons are Ritalin, Adderall or even meth. These drugs also have stimulant effects but the difference is Modafinal doesn’t produce anything like their side effects. The way all these substances affect the human body is pretty similar however, despite how smart-drug companies will try to differentiate Modafinil for PR reasons.
Meth has particularly ugly side-effects and social consequences, so it’s understandable that nootropic manufactures want to emphasize that they’re pharmaceutical companies, producing a strictly-controlled and legitimate product. While it’s theoretically possible one could OD on Moda, or anything for that matter, I’ve never heard of that actually happening. Harmful substances only exist as traces in Modafinil so you’d have to exceed the recommended dosage over ten times to get really sick. You probably wouldn’t even suffer any impairment after your recovery, which would be a nasty half-week or so.
My Dosage Regimen for Modafinil
The first time I took Moda, it was branded Alertec. This was during my initial startup plus day job phase, my famous six hour schedule. During my long sleep which began 23h00, I’d briefly wake at 03h00 to pop a full 200mg tab of Moda. This would kick in at 04h00, when I’d wake and get up. I’d then take another 50 mg as a booster dose around 09h00 and the same again before lunchtime. A moderate amount of caffeine was the final element that kept me going strong despite being seriously short-changing myself on sleep. The roughly 300 mg. per day dosage was also my highest usage of Modafinil. I take it now and then at lower doses, sometimes even if I’ve had enough sleep but just want more energy.
It’s been around twelve months since I last took Moda. Back then I’d consume a quarter to half the standard 200 mg pill, mostly to help me power through chores. Moda is great for that. People have told me that they’ve taken multiple pills during the same 24 hours. Some even do so habitually! That’s excessive, in my opinion, considering the distinct effects of even a quarter pill. I’d never take more than half on a day when I’d gotten a full night’s sleep. Overdoing it with Modafinil is dumb, as that’s when you’ll start getting side-effects and end up hyper, with nervous energy you can’t effectively channel. That’s just a stressful and unproductive experience.
Modafinil and my System
I’ve mentioned the general benefits of Modafinil but not my subjective experience of them. So here goes but keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional and your results may vary from mine. Also, I’m making no recommendations to anyone. I’m sharing my knowledge, how you act on that is your responsibility. What I’ve observed is that taking Moda when I’m well-rested gives me a far more noticeable boost than taking it when I’m behind on sleep. If you’re tired when you take it, don’t expect to have an amazing time, take it when you need to keep sleep at bay so you can get things finished.
The immediate effect is that fatigue recedes. This happens in a smooth, organic way that’s much less of a palpable kick than you get from ingesting strong coffee. There is a bit of a buzz though, so you need to be prepared to ride that out without getting giddy or edgy. Most everyone is familiar with coffee of whatever kind, so let me contrast Moda to caffeine. Back in the day, I could tolerate a little caffeine in my blood system but I’ve now developed tolerance, to the extent that a rich dark roast drunk at night actually chills me.
But comparing to my early pre-coffeeholic days, a quarter Modafinil pill does more for me than a half-shot of espresso. The espresso would hardly register but the Moda would keep me on track for up to 8 hours and it would let me down easily afterwards, with no abrupt slide into sleepiness.
A couple measures of espresso would give me a jolt and energize me. If I was fading late at night, I could then usually pile into any task for at least two hours, with a good level of alertness. The caffeine comedown sometimes made me irritable. So a similarly conservative measure of Moda, say 100 mg., would by contrast give me about four times coffee’s period of alertness, I’d go hard at it for eight hour stretches sometimes. The key is to keep the momentum going and not lose focus on your work, exercise or whatever other goals. On top of the stimulant effects, I’d also feel mild bliss. Coming off was gradual, taking at most a few hours, during which times my concentration was lacking so I stuck to light, enjoyable work and entertainment.
Going overboard on the coffee, which for me would be about four shots of espresso, was never something I enjoyed. I’d get mild anxiety feelings, a certain squirreliness about the eyes, unsteady hands and disrupt my concentration. The typical symptoms. If I took a heavy dose of Moda, let’s say 200 mg. while being already alert, I’d get serious bliss without any twitchiness or concentration disruption. There’d still be a level of anxiety of however, a definite sense of urgency that made me attack even the simplest of tasks like a rabid bulldog. It’s not a good thing to take around people who just want to vegetate on the couch, in other words.
Whenever I used Modafinil, I experienced a certain tunneling of my focus. Things around the borders of my mental and even visual awareness became a little fuzzed. At higher doses, that could make driving or navigating complex environments a bit more dangerous, you might not noticed things from the corner of your eye as you would usually. Moda also makes it harder for me to think creatively or abstractly, which subject I’ll now elaborate on.
It seemed my verbal IQ rose on Moda, I had snappier replies. I also thought a little faster generally. However, deeper thinking became harder. Doing something like CAD design or typing out data-rich articles is more of a chore on Moda. Sometimes this was restrictive in what I could use Moda for, so I’d have to resort to caffeine instead. So, if you want to plough through a task that’s repetitive and / or requires a lot of fine grain attention, that’s where Modafinil shines.
If I had taken Modafinil and wasn’t occupied at any specific task, then I’d find my mind wandering as per usual until they reached some intriguing point, I’d then find that consuming my attention as I explored it with great focus. Sometimes this helped me come up with good ideas for writing, but always on off-topic subjects.
As I alluded to earlier, this required me to plan out my activities for Modafinil in respect of its strengths and weaknesses as I experience them. Sometimes I hit peaks of efficiency, especially if I had a plan laid out of goals I wanted to achieve during its period of pharmacological activity. So I’d set myself a target like 30 coding sub-goals that I wanted to finish up in a single day, well beyond my usual completion rate. I got some major rewrites done in record time using this method.
Something I felt really helped me to retain my focus and productivity was the use of appropriate music. Trance music helped in this regard and I had some epic coding sessions to such accompaniment. Classical music was also a good option, although that experience had a different texture entirely.
The exit ramp from Modafinil is clearly marked, in that you’ll feel pretty spent. In fact, Modafinil can leave you literally drained as it’s also a diuretic; plan on visiting the facilities more than rarely and remember to keep hydrated. Actually keeping hydrated can be harder than it sounds, as you won’t feel much thirst or appetite at that. You’ll make the mistake of not drinking enough precisely once if you experiment with Moda, as you’ll feel pretty bad if you get dehydrated by drinking very little water or whatever but urinating a whole lot of stored fluid. Besides a generalized rattiness, insufficient fluid intake is liable to induce headaches.
Modafinil can also make you more aggressive and this is something you’ll have to adjust for. You might find other people irritatingly slow to grasp a point or complete a task, so you have to practice maintaining an even temper and being patient.
As for the productivity boost, it’s undeniable. I steamed through my mission list of scheduled tasks like a machine. Sometimes I’d get multiple days of work finished in a single sitting. It’s amazing how much you can do once all the regular distractions are filtered out and you have no excuse to procrastinate. Previously intimidating plans, made up of pages and pages of smaller tasks to complete, used to seem like the twelves tasks of Hercules until I popped a Modafinil and got stuck into them.
Sorry for this vague answer but “it depends.” Mostly it depends on exactly how you use Moda.
Habitual and heavy usage is not something I advocate, as you’ll have noticed above. I have personal experience of this, having verged on the abuse of Modafinil during the most intensive part of my career. Nootropics are, as the name kind of implies, “new.” This means we don’t have long-term trial studies on what habitual use over a decade and a half will do to someone’s brain. My advice is don’t be the guinea pig, that guy the doctors write their paper about. Clearly, Moda has powerful affects on your neural operation so treat it with respect and keep your usage light to moderate insofar as humanly possible.
Speaking of light to moderate usage, that’s not really something I advocate under ideal conditions either. See, if you have the time and inclination to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep and keep yourself motivated, then you’ll be functioning pretty near your peak capacity – so why fix what ain’t broke? Making modafinil purchase you’ll just spend money building up a tolerance that’ll weaken the effects of Moda when you really need them. The famous Modafinil brand is Modalert by SunPharma which is available on the market for less than one dollar/pill. See http://onedollarthings.com and another Modalert sources listed on the main page.
What I do advocate is taking Modafinil when your obligations become burdensome and you just have too much on your shoulders to get enough rest or spend time cooking good meals or attending to your own happiness. Then it’s about the best thing you could take, even in light of the possible side-effects, as well as the tunneling effect I spoke about and the blunting of abstract thinking.
The best thing you could do if you really need more energy and focus to meet your responsibilities and achieve your goals, is to balance your lifestyle so it’s healthy in all respects. That’s a challenge all on its own but it’s better to put in the work than rely on a crutch, like Modafinil or coffee or whatever. It’s not chemically addictive but it can become psychologically addictive if you always choose the Moda shortcut. To boil it down, a life coach might be a better investment than a lifetime supply of Moda.
Finally, for what I’d term more recreational or experimental usage, well you only live once… Modafinil at a moderate dosage like half a pill isn’t going to wig you even if you’re inexperienced in psychoactive substances. If you’re curious or want to decide if it’s right for your lifestyle, remember to lay in a stock of your favorite non-alcoholic drink (never mix drugs unless you’re highly experienced with them), queue up some upbeat music and draw up that list of things you want to nail down. Have fun but don’t screw up.
Entrepreneurs on Modafinil
Now that I’ve discussed Moda as comprehensively as I know how, I’ll address this specific theme. I’d say people in just about any competitive field might find Moda compelling but those of you involved in startups are definitely going to have a particular affinity for this substance.
OK, so will Modafinil make you successful as an entrepreneur? The honest answer is no. You’re the only one who can make yourself successful. Even with increased energy and drive, you’ll still need good judgment to guide your efforts with any realistic chance of success. If you’re going down a wrong path, chances are Moda will only keep you on it for longer. While taking care of a lot of work in a day is helpful, it’s takes more than that for your business to succeed.
If you’re confident in your business wisdom and, even more importantly, have some solid business experience under your belt, then Modafinil will probably be OK for you during your execution phase. Do bear in mind that it’s a poor fit for the planning phase in particular and, if you find yourself needing to pivot, it’s better to make those decisions with a clear mind. Having good plans, getting your life healthy and learning to delegate is always going to be a better option than relying on substances.
Hopefully I’ve provided all the information that my fellow founders need to make the right choice here.