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How to get work done without Adderall (at first)

Or, how to complete a big, looming task that you don’t want to do…without popping a pill, and without putting a gun to your head in futility

The Situation: You’ve got a giant project weighing on you and you’ve got to get it done by the end of the week. How do you do it?

On Adderall, you put it off while you do a hundred other things, then the night before it’s due, you pop a pill and spend all night knocking everything out in one glorious work binge, right? Well, that doesn’t work so well when you’re not on the pills.

After you’ve quit Adderall, you’d be surprised how many of these old ideas and archetypes about work and how work gets done are still ingrained in you.

You keep trying to attack projects like you did on Adderall and then you get frustrated and angry at yourself when it’s hell and you don’t manage to finish all the work and just end up more behind.

You’ll notice this especially when you start adding some “have-tos” into your routine as advised on my How to Quit Adderall page.

It’s dangerous and sanity-threatening to base your current approach to work (now that you’re off the pills) on these old ideas that you formed when you were on the pills (e.g., “work only happens in the form of motivation-fueled binges”).

One of the growing pains of quitting Adderall is that you have to break these Adderall-instilled work habits and form new ones. This can be especially hard at first, so here’s what worked for me.

Break it up and lubricate it

This is the best advice I can give you for completing work off Adderall (at least at first).

Break it up: Do not try to complete the task in one giant work binge

Lubricate it: Add something to your environment to divide your attention span between something pleasant (e.g., television) and something unpleasant (the big task at hand).

Break it up

It doesn’t matter how much you break the work up, just break it up into more than one work binge. You don’t have to be perfect and super-responsible about it at first (unless you can!), but at the absolute minimum break the work into two half-sized work sessions instead of one big oppressive work binge.

Let’s say you have an essay for school that’s due by Sunday night at midnight, maybe you take an “inch it forward every day” approach and write 2 paragraphs a day so you have the required length by the end of the week when it’s due. Or maybe you still do a “lock yourself in your room until it’s done” approach but instead of locking yourself in your room the whole day of the due date, you lock yourself in your room on two nights: The first night (e.g., 2 days before it’s due) to make a big dent then the second night (e.g., the night it’s due) to finish it off.

You have no idea how much pressure this takes off. The first night you get to a stopping point and you start stressing that you’re not done and then you realize “Hey, I get to go home and sleep now and I’ve got a whole other day to finish this”. Then when you come in the second night to finish it off you start with “Hey, this is practically done I just need to finish it off!”.

If the work is due on Sunday, do a first wave attack on Saturday. The more you do on Saturday, the more you will be thanking yourself on Sunday. But even if you don’t make a huge dent on the first day, every little bit helps tremendously. At least you won’t be sitting at your desk on the day it’s due staring at blank screen wanting to cry, desperately looking for any excuse to be anywhere else doing anything else but facing this horrible task.

Lubricate it

I define a lubricant as “anything that makes you tolerate where you are or what you’re doing more than you normally could without that thing”. In that sense, Adderall is the greatest lubricant in the world. Pop a pill and suddenly math homework or your thankless job becomes super-fun, whereas normally it would be grueling and monotonous. Cigarettes and alcohol also fall into the lubricant category. With plenty of cigarettes, you can do pretty much anything for hours on end as long as you can smoke (e.g., sitting at a bar booth, hanging out in a parking lot).

Once I quit Adderall (and cigarettes to a much lesser extent), two things happened:

1. I realized the evil of those kinds of lubricants; how they kept me in place when I was supposed to be moving.

2. “Have-to” tasks got nearly impossible, because they were dry and un-lubricated.

Adderall is a bad lubricant because it’s too effective. It lubricates to the point of having it’s own current and twisted influence on your direction.

But that doesn’t mean lubrication is always a bad thing; doesn’t mean all lubricants are bad.

Examples of common (effective) lubrication…

  1. Listening to music while running (or whatever)
  2. The TV screens on treadmills
  3. Entertaining on-hold music/audio when you call tech support
  4. The TV sets playing cartoons when you’re waiting in line for a ride at Disney Land
  5. Elevator music
  6. Bowls of peanuts in the waiting area of a steakhouse.

The whole idea is to divide your attention span so you don’t have to focus so completely on the negative aspect of what you’re doing.

Now, when you’re first getting back into doing “have-tos” without Adderall, you may need a bit more lubrication than just your favorite music in the background. So here are some suggestions…

Home Example – Make a dent every commercial break: Sit in your living room with your laptop and find a TV station (a normal basic cable channel not a premium one…you want commercials) that’s playing a movie that you kind of want to watch. Bust out one paragraph of that essay you have to do per commercial break.

Tips for this method:

  • Make sure to set the terms of the deal with yourself before you start. Get your head into the “I’m going to watch this movie but write one paragraph per commercial break” game and then start.
  • Force yourself to follow the rule with the very first commercial break. It gets way easier after the first one because you’ve already started the routine.
  • Treat it like a game. Take joy in the fact that you are cheating the system. You are slacking off and enjoying yourself and still getting the work done!

Modified version of this method: 10minutes of slacking/5minutes of work (note that this takes more descipline to maintain on your own without the natural pace of a TV movie and its commercial breaks)

Work Example – Multiple monitors and online TV: At my desk at work, I have three LCD screens (don’t call me excessive until you’ve tried it…multiple-monitors are an addiction like tattoos for me…once you’ve broken the seal you always want more).

On Adderall, I would fly between all three screens in a flurry of wild productivity with fast-paced music blasting through my headphones. Nowadays, one screen usually has hulu on it with some kind of TV series playing. I use the other two screens to do my work while the tv show is playing on the third. Two screens is enough for most of my daily tasks anyway.

On a good (productive) day, I’ll end up getting through one or two 40min TV episodes over the course of the work day (which means I hit the pause button a lot because my focus really zoned-in to a work-related task). On a bad (depressive, exhausted) day, most of my attention will be on the hulu screen and I’ll go through 5 TV episodes while I begrudgingly throw a few clicks and keystrokes at the absolutely-neccessary tasks of the day until it’s 6pm and I can go home.

Interesting environment-efficiency experiment: When I first quit Adderall I only had two LCD screens to work with (my original third monitor broke shortly after I quit), so I would use one screen for work and one for TV episodes… my productivity was pretty lousy and I was really distracted on all my work tasks, because the TV episodes were 50% of my attention span. When I eventually convinced my boss to by me a new third screen (no more investing personal funds in work equipment now that I’m not work-obsessed like I was on the pills), my productivity shot way up without any effort on my part…it just happened naturally because my physical attention was now divided as 66/33 work/slack instead of 50/50.

What’s interesting about that experiment is that I expected the results. I knew the 66/33 split would naturally make me more productive, and sure enough, it did. Just goes to show you that if you get a crazy idea for some environmental change that you swear will help you…go with it, even if it sounds crazy to others.

Side note: Give yourself plenty of time

For all the good points of lubrication, it can certainly prolong the time it takes you to complete a task, just like Adderall did (except it takes longer because you’re too zoned-out instead of too zoned-in). Make sure you give yourself plenty of padding time to procrastinate on, break apart, and lubricate the task to an extreme degree. The good news is that if you lubricate a task enough you won’t mind dedicating so much time to the task because the lubrication makes the time somewhat enjoyable.

Disclaimer: The ultimate goal is to not need excessive lubrication

Look, your ultimate goal should be to think explosively; to be as a perpetual explosion of creative brilliance. Like you were on Adderall, but way, way bigger and hotter and stronger. You’re not going to achieve that if you’re lubricating all your tasks so much that you’re spending half your life in some TV show’s alternate reality and quadrupling the time it takes you to complete each and every task. You will eventually learn to attack task after task with your own willpower and without the need for excessive lubrication.

I just offer this as a method for you to use as much or as little as you need to until you don’t need it at all anymore. And the way you get to that point is by gradually adding more obligation to your life…to gradually get better and better at completing work that you can’t avoid just on your own without the pills. The better you get at it, the more work you will be able to handle, and the less you’ll naturally need to lubricate.

Now, readers: Share your experiences!

What has helped you get work done without the pills? What kind of ways have you found to break up and/or lubricate unpleasant tasks?

14 Responses to “How to get work done without Adderall (at first)”

  1. Paige Price says:

    i use a mechanical treadmill at home and it seems adquate for basic exercise’;”

  2. jk says:

    what if we don’t ever learn or feel our willpower again? I’m scared the real possibility; is there always room for change. I believe so and so does my manipulated mind. What’s a good way to reassure reserves when the river is too far right now?

  3. jk says:

    The work of exercise vs. the work of a job; both are difficult to manipulate in whatever way to satisfy your existence off adderall.
    you’re write on about the job thing. i love what i do but i don’t love the job. so, i break it up and watch brain candy after i finish 5 charts; then go again. the problem i’m having right now is the work with exercise. i know cognitively/logically and have faith that once i get into a routine it will stick with running. And I love to run. But, my body is weak and tired, and dehydrated exercise seems so overwhelming. I used to be able to set goals I systematically approached but now; each time I go it’s just so hard. That, and I’m not satisfied with it. The thing is I know this is part of it. I know at first your body has to adjust to the metabolic changes for about a month with or without Adderall. And, in that time, you hang onto weight or don’t gain anymore before you start losing it the one month moves to two and equals sustainabile My boyfriend is not overly motivated to go either but I think I’ve convinced him to push me some. This all used to be really easy for me; to get movtivated, set a schedule, and go with it. And, I have to be in a wedding dress at the end of the year. I want to feel fit and powerful by myself. I don’t want it to take 2 years and I don’t believe it has to. But, I’m curious how you had the will grab exercise by the balls and hold yourself to going though work seemed like it was more difficult.
    Part of the last few months was that I wanted to get into a routine with exercise because then I’d feel so good from moving my body that it would be easy to come off of it. The thing I was using Adderall just to get to the point where I could motivate myself to go for a run. I did better than I have in the past. I thought about doing one of those Boot Camp things…maybe that would work. I don’t know. I’m struggling with ways to force myself to do what needs done. I need a goal. I need to know what I can reasonably expect from myself. Going to the gym now makes me a little uncomfortable because I spend the time thinking how much I want my old body and athletic ability back. And, my ability to say in front of a hill…what goes up comes down…Just keep moving.
    I know I will be okay; I do, because I know I can do anything. I just need to know how to do this with 4 12 hour shifts a week (more than usual because someone is on a month long vacation and we’re short). It’s hard for me to keep a routine in this job because the schedule is shifting so much. I have realized this is a problem, addressed it, and already have an offer for another job…however; I was advised with the job offer to wait about 2-3 months to let the company go through the honeymoon phase of a recent business extension to see how it goes and that way, know that it is stable before I start. I thought that was awesome that was advised; I think it will be fine. But until then, I don’t know how I can handle my job’s schedule and parts of my job that don’t allow for anything but having a glass of wine to chill out when you get home and watch alot of TV.
    Alot of times I can feel a little better if I’m at one office over the other…but I switch back and forth right now on the schedule and it would be really shitty to screw with the holidays to ask for one. I don’t know that will be honored. The schedules are set through January (however random my days on and off are).
    I know I have challenges exercising when I had stressful jobs with regular hours but overwhelming responsibilities. This job; the responsibilities are manageable. The schedule, however; is seriously limiting for self improvement to take place while I’m quitting. Any advice you would give me for going to the gym, running, something when I have a hurdle (being on a random schedule with every other weekend ) that with or without Adderall has never been a good one for me. I realize that; but I can’t just leave my job right now and I’m working toward getting ready for March. I think I’m approaching it the wrong way; but I’m clearly in need of some perspective.

    Sorry this is disjointed. I’ve had and have so many questions but this site has eased my fear/anxieties so much. The routine/Exercise component with a 12 hour shift is my biggest issue though. Because while I might fit the “overachiever” aspect too; I used to really train and am intensely competitive about running. So much so that it’s either all or nothing. I have a really hard time putting in 1 day here and 1 day there. If I’m going to do it, I want to go all out. This all or nothing; unfortunately, is not something I can make go away–I found out when one of my boyfriends’ commented about why don’t I do it differently and subscribed to his short intense bursts that were painful yet starting somewhere. I tried. I failed. I realized I like going to work out or run; but putting time into it or I don’t leave feeling like I’ve done something.
    I can barely stand to be at the gym though right now. And, I’ve built up my running over the past two weeks up to an hour; but then have not run at all this past week due to work; though I did .lift weights once. What gives. I need to get my mind around this.


    p.s. i’m not looking for the quick fix; i know normal takes time to get back to; the authentic normal. but i believe that it can take less than the half your relationship rule. only because with those relationships, i bounced back physically, mentally, socially pretty well by keeping myself busy. Emotionally, it ran it’s course…but it ended. I found the emotions okay to deal with because I had structure something else in my life. And, it gave me a framework to work through the answers and helped me remember the things that are good about me; validated my relationships when one had truly made me question it.
    This time, I’m scared I don’t have the same willpower and I know but don’t know how to find out.

  4. James says:

    Thanks for all the great info on this site Mike. You are an inspiration to many I’m sure.

    I’ve been off and on (mostly off) the adderall thing for 13 years now- not heavy, heavy doses but enough to screw me up and enough to le tme know that I have a pretty addictive personality and develop tolerance quickly.

    I was off for about 3 years and then got a prescription again about 1 year ago for just 1 10 mg pill a day. Well, of course, I didnt stay taking 1 a day for long- by the 3rd or 4th month I was taking 4 or 5 a day (some days as many as 10) and running out of my script after 4 or 5 days. I kind of justified it b/c I’d get it together for a few weeks and then do my little binge thing for a few days once a month. A bad cycle. No more, God willing.

    I’ve been clean from adderall for 15 days now. For the first 10 I went on a cold turkey no alcohol no smoking no caffeine kick b/c I wanted to cleanse my body and get back into the gym and be healthy again. Around day 10 I started drinking caffeine again and now I’m up to 2 energy drinks a day. The coffee//energy drink thing is not the best but I’m pretty sure that it’s better than adderall- I don’t go 3 days w/o eating or sleeping when I drink Rockstar energy drinks.

    Do you think it’s ok to drink these things? I feel that it’s a pretty good substitute for adderall but I also don’t want to just be trading one addiction for another. Thanks again for all the great info and God bless you brother. Keep up the great work.

  5. Mike says:

    Hey James,

    Thanks for the comment! Rockstar is not the healthiest drink in the world, and if you’re going to get serious about getting in shape/hitting the gym, I’d skip it. When you start working out hard you’ll feel whatever crap you ate/drank that day come out through your pores (not literally, but that’s the only way I can describe how it feels to me), and there’s nothing worse than feeling all of that sugar and citrus come back in the middle of a workout. But for now, if it’s the only thing helping you stay off Adderall, then it’s a necessary evil.

    Coffee, on the other hand, has tons of benefits. There have even been studies showing that people who consume a moderate amount of caffeine every day actually exhibit less mental decline in old age. As in, drinking coffee keeps your wits sharper for longer into your life.

    So go for it on the coffee.

    Just watch your teeth. 🙂

    Keep fighting the good fight! Let us know how it goes.

    P.S. What made you go back after 3 years?

  6. James says:

    Thanks for the feedback Mike. Lol here I go justifying again- I have at least been drinking the Sugar-free Rockstarts- today I had 1 cup of coffee in the morning and 1 energy drink at nite with lots of water throughout the day and it seems to have worked pretty well. I probably obsess over these things too much but I think it is a must when you are working a recovery to make sure you keep a close eye on on the “little foxes” that can certainly grow and turn into bigger things if we are not careful.

    I went back to the adderall b/c I was planning on going back to school (and I was mildly depressed and knew that the pill would elevate my mood and give me a brief respite from feeling down). I didnt think I would be able to get organized and focused enogh w/o it. The problem was that when I abandoned the school idea a month later I kept taking it b/c then I had to have it to get my resume ready…then i had to have it to learn my new job…then i needed it to clean my house…and so on and so on. It really does rob us of basic willpower to do mundane tasks- I still do find these things very difficult to do w/o the caffeine.

    Also something that I didn’t say before was that it activated a desire for alcohol in me immensely. I got to the point where I was using alcohol to come down- and of course i was drinking much larger amounts of alcohol when on adderall. This in turn led to me doing other stupid stuff- it was a snowball effect. There was a real demoralization for me toward the end amd that’s a big reason that I say nho more. It was turning me into someone that I wasn’t the real me and franlkly a person that I nor other people liked very much.

    Thanks again for your input. I hope you have a great night.

  7. Allie says:

    I took adderall this morning.. just started taking it and had been with drawling for a month. Things were getting better and better, and then i started second semester of grad school. but yea, my work ethic is totally shot.. and yes it is mental. but wow… the motivation or whatever that made me do work on my own two years ago (pre adderall) is just not there whatsoever…my sister came in my room last night and was like “you’re not going to class?” and i was like.. yea i’m having trouble getting in the right mindset” then she made me feel better for not going to class.. but seriously.. i should have gone, i was supposed to talk last week.. didn’t go.. and was supposed to talk yesterday instead. but i didn’t get my work done. so to save humiliation i skipped. it’s careless : /. I got off work two hours early to do work, and starred at my book.. couldn’t do it.

    I think JK said it correctly above. my mind is so manipulated. I took adderall for two years. my character is different and the worst part is… my friends don’t even remember who I was, they are like “adderall doesn’t change you that much” *yes it does!* (so i just don’t bring it up anymore, because i’ll describe things to them and they listen.. but nothing I say is validated. THEN, I got on here… and i have never read these things before but it is exactly what i’m describing to family and friends here at home and they just cannot grasp it, no matter how good of listeners they normally are. Adderall is just unreal). not having feelings validated is like having something supressed… it’s frustrating and it’s a thorn in my side. But I know I am not myself at all. My “image” to the outside world is completely different than what It would be had I been myself for the last two years. People used to admire me.. now i’m out of college, don’t have a real job, don’t look nice as often, work at my dads office as a secretary and am in evening classes. I had so many opportunities offered to me (teaching position, non profit grantwriting (which I couldn’t do on adderall- creativity was gone, i’m normally such a good writer.. even though it takes me a while to organize my points.) But I just don’t care anymore. When I was on adderall I did things I was never supposed to do, and saw things I was never supposed to see. I was treated differently than I had ever been treated before because I was acting differently than I had ever acted before. I reached a lot of new lows. and I got away with it… now that I know I can get away with it.. i’m not scared of doing it anymore, sort of. The amphetamines made me feel like everything was ok… but everything was NOT, NOT, NOT, ok. I said the worst things to my parents : (. I fought with my boyfriend… who is still hanging in there. He said.. “we’re going to ride this wave together” talking about withdrawal. He was the one who grabbed me and said, “when you are on adderall it’s night and day” (this was before he asked me to be his gf, but he was falling in love with me.. but not when i was heartless and shameless on adderall. I didn’t need him on days i took that stuff.. totally not a good things to take when you’re supposed to be falling in love with someone. Adderall was my crutch on those days, not this amazing new boy that came into my life) UGH.
    The way I grew up thinking the world was is not the way it is. I saw a darker side on adderall, because I had this false sense of confidence.. I was untouchable..so people treated me without care in certain situations.. because I didn’t care, it didn’t make me sad, I fought back, which made things worse. I had to take aderall this morning because I am so behind in my second semester of grad school classes. I didn’t go to class at all last week.. and the panic/depression/anxiety that would have kicked in (like the old days before I took adderall) just is not coming in. I don’t care, I’m not going to classes. This is so not me.. three years ago in college I would have been so ashamed. I had a presentation to give and I was like.. i’m not going to go to class, so my teacher was like you can do it next class, and I didn’t even go. who does that? : / Honestly, I know it looks bad to blame this all on adderrall, but every time I come onto this sight… my deepest thoughts and fears about aderall are written by tons of other people. It’s true, this stuff has effects on people that can’t be explained to people that don’t take aderall. They just don’t believe it. It MANIPULATES your mind. And don’t get me wrong.. I know there is a recovery, and I know I will be a great person (it’s a struggle to get back on that track) but aderrall ROBBED me, of what was supposed to happen. I have innattentive add, not hyper at all, and active only in things i’m passionate about… I’m always going to have to fight waking up in the morning depressed, frontal lobes not lighting up, thinking wow I have so much to do i’m such a slob, i get left behind and left out and i am not comparable to other girls my age and i can’t think the way they do… i have a presentation to give and i am dreading it, why don’t I just get up and make coffee and be cheery like my roommate?” (by the way i was diagnosed with innattentive add after I had completed college and a year of work.. and the symptoms I just described were there when I didn’t know I had it.. then i read the symptoms and I was like oh my gosh, exactly, thats exactly it right there. Anyway…

    I feel guilty because i’m posting this without revising it. but I have a lot of other work to do for class tonight… thats why i’m up and doing this, distracting myself, but also passionate about this and wonder if i’ll ever make a contribution to this page if i don’t do it right now.. otherwise id be lying in bed or watching tv with roommates, or driving around listening to music, or talking to my bf.. the whole time in the back of my head thinking i’m neglecting my work. i spend 75 percent of my free time thinking about what I should be doing and not doing it. a million things to do.. and i didn’t do anything, not even laundry.. things i normally would have done. I never go to the gym and always used do that.. these last few years have been so unlike me : / ? ugh.

    I want to revise this. it’d take me a few hours that I dont have.. but if i’m confusing I will. I think this is important. maybe I should do it when i’m not on adderall.

  8. Devin says:

    I’m a week into recovery and I’m already starting to feel like myself again. You take a realistic tone with the site, which helps with any unrealistic expectations. Oftentimes when we think something should be easy (“Just do it Devin, you used to be able to handle this, just GET IT DONE”) we start to think that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us. There’s not, it’s just a matter of consistently showing up and trying to get better. No one ever told a runner to “just do it, come on, run the MARATHON.” I think the runner comparison is really spot on.

    Mainly I just want to say that you clearly have a book to write “Quitting Adderall.” It does not exist, and you’re the leading expert on the actual experience of it all (believe me, I’ve looked everywhere, and it’s hard to quit when people like Dr. Aden, bestselling ADD specialist is saying to keep prescribing drugs because he drugs his own kids). So yeah, please write that book. You’ve helped a lot of people, including me (your site is like the mental health coach I can’t afford), I just want more people to know there’s a way. So you write the book, I’ll call Oprah–she owes me a favor.

    Another thing: I like the fact that you don’t have a clinical tone. You sound like me, you smoked like me, you gave into pressure like me, you’re lazy sometimes like me. So many of these self-helper types sound so assured, it just makes you feel incompetent. They haven’t ever gone to the edge of sanity and lived to laugh about it.

    And on the topic of self-help, I worry that a lot of people are using this site the way I used 100s of self-help books when I was on adderall. They make you feel like you’re attacking your problem without ever actually attacking it. For some reason, this time I feel like I can handle it, no more empty promises to myself.

    I feel alive and it’s only been a week, and this particular article has been the most helpful. Those “have-to” projects are always the death of my best intentions, because I just don’t have that confidence back yet. This TV game makes it seem way more attainable. But people, don’t get down, even in my first week, everyday tasks like emails, classes, and chores, which took huge build up before are done in 20 minutes now. I just knock em out, and then I want to MOVE man, I fucking skipped today, SKIPPED?! It…was…beautiful (to everyone who saw it). You’ll notice results immediately if you really embrace the challenge of quitting. Don’t expect them all the time, but when they come it’s like reliving your first joy-ride, six-pack, performance, ollie, kiss…all over again again. It’s a second chance.

    Last thing, the best way I’ve found to embrace the challenge is to consider yourself as an example to others. If I successfully conquer this thing, I can maybe help other people with sound, real-talk advice the way Mike does. You know how you’ve suffered, think about how good it’ll feel to tell someone “look, I thought it was hopeless too, but here are some techniques that helped me.” That thought alone keeps me going. See that’s the thing about quitting, you stop thinking about yourself ALL THE TIME and start caring about other people again, it really takes that constant “being-watched” feeling (you guys know the feeling) off of you, since you’re no longer the center of world’s attention. Anyway, I plan to follow Mike’s footsteps and shoot a very human documentary on adderall–you all can see some of my previous work for PBS, and Pul. Center if you follow my YouTube. Mike, will you be in the DC area anytime soon? I’d love to interview you for the web, and it’d be great for me to have when I’m pitching for small grants/kickstarter money. If not, Maybe I can come to you?

    Ok, long-winded (another writing habit I have to get out of, thanks Adderall!). I sincerely hope that everyone realizes that life can be so much more exciting without this shit. Imagine watching a movie where the protagonist never gets terrified, excited, or bowled over with laughter…No drama right? Well, life is like a movie, so embrace the drama and bring the excitement of the unknown back into your life. You’ll feel like a man again–excuse the expression ladies, you da women. Stick to it everyone, your determination keeps me going. And Mike…Mike…write this book man, this is your calling. I know it because you’ve helped me, and like I said, I TRIED EVERYTHING. Tony Robbins has a lot to learn from you, about the art of keeping it real.


  9. Devin says:

    One final mental biscuit (now that the ovens pre-heated to 350 degrees, att leasst):

    A recent study found that happiness is contagious. Not only will your happiness make the people you know happier, it’ll make the people THEY KNOW happier. What’s that mean? It means that if all you do on Earth is learn how to be happy, you’ll have a huge impact. Remember that janitor from high school who always stopped to give you a free compliment when you were feeling down? Whose life is more meaningful…his or the Georgetown grad working 80 hours for an investment bag?

    I say Janitor’s. I didn’t believe that when I was on the crazy pills, but I sincerely believe it now. But you can have both: material success and happiness. Just get in touch with the kid you were, back when you wanted to make the world your playground. When you don’t take things so rigidly and seriously, you start getting serious results–life’s great paradox.

  10. Mike says:


    Thanks for the really nice comment! I’ve thought about putting all of this into a book before, but I can’t imagine it having a wide enough audience to sell any copies/make writing it worthwhile. I’d probably have to widen the focus like “There is another way (besides meds)” using my Adderall experience as my one and only example. I like the web anyway.

    You should totally do a documentary about Adderall! All the documentaries that have been made to date have one fatal flaw: they’re made by people who have never taken Adderall, so they’re all just speculating. You know the topic from the inside, and that will let you present it in a way nobody else can.

    Do it! I’d love to feature your video here the website. And as for being a part of it: I’m in Atlanta, but I do have a brother with a film degree and a high-end camera. So maybe I could tape my part remotely or something. I don’t know. Let me know when you start putting it together and we’ll figure something out (mike at quittingadderall.com). Hopefully I can give you some good soundbites!

    Also, congrats on your first week! It’s crazy how fast you can finish work now that you don’t get so lost in it, isn’t it? It’s like you can see the forest for the trees again.

    Anyhow, keep rocking and drop me a line when you start your documentary!

  11. LifeLover says:

    Man can everyone post some comments! In response to healthy lubricants, as Mike puts it (which I really love by the way its so true) I’ve found that my office job is tolerable when I can break up the monotny with a little web surfing. I save things that I’ve been wanting to check up on (a new recipe, a book I’ve wanted to buy, a movie I wanted to read a review for) and wait until I really need a break. Then I surf those things and set an alarm on my cell phone for 10 minutes. I’ve been off Adderall for a week now and, besides the restlessness of realizing how boring this job can be, I am such a better person.

    Good luck everyone– You CAN do it!

  12. Mike says:

    Great tip, LifeLover! Maybe I should start saving up my fun site time like that. I have found (similarly) that I usually get less sucked in when I binge on slack sites all at once at a predetermined time, and then go back to work. Less distracting than “snacking” throughout the day.

  13. Chad says:

    Mike, I’m only two years late to your article, but I had to send a response. The example of you using three monitors really hit home with me. I currently use two. One for work and one for Netflix/Amazon/Hulu. I agree that once you go to multiple screens you’ll never go back to one. When I’m stuck in a situation where I have to use only one screen, I can’t stand it. I try to use that one screen as two and have the same windows open, telling myself ”I’ll just listen to the show/movie/video”. lol. Obviously that never goes well. I’m going to get a third screen as soon as I can. Thanks for the article.

  14. Adam says:


    I’ve been on and off of adderall for a while. I’ve never taken abusive dosages (20-30mg xr/day), but it’s been difficult to be very productive while not on it.

    Quitting has been tough, mostly because I feel like my energy and motivation is all gone. But I wanted to stop in and say that one thing that has been helping a lot is exercise. If I exercise hard for an hour in the morning I feel like I can accomplish a lot more throughout the day. It feels almost similar to the adderall right afterwards.

    – Adam

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