Stimulants & "Slow Productivity"

Before I was diagnosed as bipolar, three different shrinks said I just had ADHD based on page 1 of this link. Any idiot who actually wanted Adderall could go in and know how to answer to get a prescription. It did nothing for me, btw. I could a full dose and lay down for a nap. Felt nothing. Vyvanse has been much better for me.

Yes. They might be able to decide that. Which is why I called you out for this:

Also, you misunderstand:

Adderall is speed. I didn’t think you suggested it so he can go fast.

Plenty of folks think they’re not addicted to drugs that they’re addicted to.

Yeah - this is EXACTLY what I’m against. Heavy stimulants like the ones we’re discussing are not for giving yourself a boost - they have a toll, on your hormones, your neurotransmitters, your circadian rhythm, your body as a whole. I have taken PLENTY of stimulants, and plenty of drugs - this isn’t about vilifying any particular drug, it’s about identifying what is and what isn’t abuse. Using this drug for anything other than treating severe hyperactive disorders is almost always abuse.

If someone has an “addictive personality”, it doesn’t matter one way or the other where they get their drugs from, which is why I bristle every time you use the word “safer”.

I’m not personally attacking you, I’m telling you that your statements concerning what is safe and what’s not are dangerous.

I don’t know what any of this has to do with what I’m saying, or what any of this has to do with taking heavy stimulants. If you have a hyperactive disorder that precludes you from being able to live your life, you should take the appropriate medication for it. Outside of that, you’re just doing drugs. It would be quicker to list the drugs I haven’t done, by the way, and I took adderall more than once in college, so I’m not saying it’s going to make you explode, I have simply been around too many people with ruined lives who started with prescriptions or seemingly benign compounds to not say something in this situation.

No hard feelings towards anyone, either - I feel as if something foolish and reckless was said. Doesn’t mean I’m trying to attack anyone’s character. If saying foolish and reckless things was illegal I’d have been executed by now.

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I work in a behavioral health clinic with psychiatrists and psychiatric mid levels. I don’t prescribe (I’m a therapist) but I am qualified to diagnose mental health disorders, including ADHD. @flappinit is correct in his take on the use of stimulant medication for performance enhancement. It is overprescribed, often by PCP’s who want happy patients, who are asking for it and then claiming it resolves “my adhd.”

I like you, @Andrewgen_Receptors, but I cringed over your initial post, too.


I found it interesting to read in some of the above opinions on the subject that the average American is not productive. One wonders how America has achieved such a level of development if most people are unproductive. You may be hardworking, but if you are not productive the results will be bad. The explanation for me is that perhaps the minority is dragging on its back the others who are unproductive. It turns out that in many parts of the world, capable people work for others (they are not to blame for being incompetent), who are more.
I don’t live in America, I’m not familiar with it, but someone who worked there told me that in America you work very hard. Life is fast paced and no one has time to wait for you. If you are incompetent and lazy at the same time, you will be kicked out immediately. But America is a big country, and maybe not every part of it is that way. Because somewhere there may be a hunger for hiring workers, but at the same time there is not much competition between qualified job candidates.

Not saying it’s healthy for you. Just saying it’s likely not as dangerous as AAS, and the reason for use is typically way more justifiable. I’m a fan of drugs that enhance your life, not just ones that fix a problem.

And my second paragraph was in response to the general thread topic

You haven’t done this recently, i take it?

No. Once I was diagnosed a bipolar, I quit the Adderall and started other things to address the main issues.

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I’ve spent a lot of time in American cities/industries considered “fast-paced.” There are some people who work very hard, but the vast majority just give the impression of working hard. They’re masters at faking it. They’ve probably even deceived themselves. But in reality they’re just stressed-out robots who do lots of busywork but don’t get any real work done.

The ones who can focus on what really matters are the ones who, over time, rise above the crowd.

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I guess this is my “issue” with the theme of slow productivity. Once you figure out what matters, applying urgency to those items is important. The first part should be a given… And then you can work hard and quickly at what matters. It seems framed as an OR not AND proposition. Work smarter not harder. Why not both?

Not to mention, figuring out the important bits so time/ resources aren’t wasted, is hard frantic work much of the time.

The ones who work smarter AND harder rise above. The ones who just work smarter OR harder stay middling, though one of them lives a more enjoyable life.

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When I worked at one of the 50 largest companies in the world “faking it” didn’t even begin to describe some of the nonsense ideas about work output and perception.

Perception mattered as much and probably more than any sort of actual output. Low and mid-level salary employees were expected to be working close to 60 hours per week. Being seen leaving at 5 was a “bad look”.

My office at the time was 800 miles away from my home, so a typical Monday would involve waking up at 3am, taking a flight to NYC, a cab to my office and still being at my desk by 9:30 am. As I was packing up to leave at 5 on one of these Mondays my manager had the nerve to scold me about this. “It doesn’t look good to be seen leaving at 5”, he said.

Of course, nobody from management was watching me when I got up at 3am to begin my workday 800 miles from my office.

Long story short, the environment you’re in can shape your work habits just as much as any sort of personal initiative. It may not particularly matter what your actual work output is if it is more important to create the perception of being busy and putting in extra effort. Some of the least competent people I ever worked with were very good at playing the perception game, some even making a career out of it.

Lots of lessons were learned from my first salary job.


I work at Lockheed Martin Skunkworks (feel free to google it) and I promise you, this is the case for many. Padding stats, initiating projects that have no real positive effect just to show you did something, taking shit out of this toolbox to put it into another toolbox just so people recognize that you did a thing… it’s constant.

It is also what I will do to move up in positions… Except that projects I undertake (that aren’t my job to do) actually have a positive effect.

I think we should approach our work like athletes…there are seasons of maximum effort and seasons of recovery. When you’re training, really train, don’t just go through the motions; and likewise for when you’re recovering.

I promise you will not look back and smile on “how uberly productive” you were, partictuarly if your are laboring for other people.

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Yes and no…if what you produce in turn produces for your family, you might be thankful for it

The most successful (monetary/career) people I know LOVE to work. It is their hobby and passion. It’s why the go back to work despite being worth tens of millions+. They are really damn good at what they do, and who doesn’t enjoy being really, really good at something?


I agree with this. The highest paid individual I know enjoys work. He also does 70 hours of it per week. He wakes up at 4am on Saturday to work.

It is no surprise he keeps getting promoted. Who else is going to be able to compete with that?

This has more to do with productivity, even slow can be better if done more efficiently. (Absolutely nothing to do with stimulants.)

When we closed two of our steam generation plants, I moved to plant process improvement. Before our company chose to implement a culture change (which they did via The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People), I had presented to the senior manager of power production that before we could implement Deming principles we needed a culture change. I started teaching Stephen Covey principles to the work force.

One of the best principles was categorizing work activity.
All work has 4 quadrants that all activities fall:
Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent
Quadrant 2: Important and Not Urgent
Quadrant 3: Not Important and Urgent
Quadrant 4: Not Important and Not Urgent

Obviously Quad 1 activities require attention as soon as possible.
And equally obvious Quad 4 activities need no attention until all else is adequately addressed
Quad 3 is someone else’s problem. If it’s a call, they can leave a message. Many people get fully engaged in Quad 3 activities. It takes discipline to resist Quad 3 “calls” (activities that get in your face screaming important, but they really are not.)
It is in Quad 2 activities that the greatest leverage can be achieved. The most success for the corporation is maximizing time in Quad 2 activities.

This is working smarter, whether it’s harder or not.


Yep. Maximize the time spent working quad 2, to minimize work that comes to you in quad 1.

That said, becoming more efficient doesn’t remove the “need” for urgent work ethic. It just allows you to do more. Like Greg LeMond said “it never gets easier, you just go faster”.

Very interesting concept. I haven’t read the book, but here are a couple of general observations.

1.) I find top performers have a very steady work output. Do they have times of higher output, sure, but in general they keep within a steady range of output. I find folks with abnormally high output tend to be cyclical. They bust ass for a week/month, then have to ratchet back to regain some kind of equilibrium. I one heard someone say “The devil may be in the details, but the results are in the averages”

2.) As far as stimulants go, i don’t think they are antithetical to “Slow Productivity”, but i think it depends on how they are used. I need a couple cups of coffee to blow myself out of bed in the morning, but I don’t drink it past 11am. I also use nootropics, but it’s more to help with certain cognitive issues and perform well rather than to perform more. excessive stimulant use can lead to the same cyclical behavior described above.

3.) I will also say that high performers tend to have a higher total yield than those who run cyclically. I kinda think of it as having a good cardio base or good GPP, but mentally. I keep a baseline of output, then over time I move that baseline up till I start having small crashes. then i know it’s time to back off a little until my productivity GPP improves. Cyclical work leads to burnout faster.