Smart Drug Modafinil: A Code Monkeys Machine Gun
Programming isnt hard, it’s just sometimes tedious. On some days more than others it can be painful to work up the motivation to begin a project especially for tasks we are half heartedly invested in.
Ive heard it said that a programmer who isnt enjoying his current assignment is acting as a code monkey, mindlessly fiddling with his keyboard in an attempt to recreate Shakespeare. What can we do when we are stuck in this tedium, is there a way of escape? Smart drug modafinil is heralded as a solution.
Modafinil – A Smart Drug
Modafinil was developed as a drug used to treat people who suffer from excessive sleepiness, fatigue and narcolepsy. Like amphetamines modafinil promotes wakefulness by interacting with the brain. 1 in 5 students in the UK have tried modafinil to help them study and reach academic goals. The trend of using Modafinil as a smart drug took off in 2003 when students transitioned away from dangerous and addictive amphetamines replacing them with non-addictive, legal and safe alternatives like modafinil. Since then the smart drug has been known by some as Motivation in a Pill.
Modafinil was approved by the FDA in December 1998 and can be brought online with or without a prescription.
Cognitive benefits of Modafinil
Modafinil is described as a better stimulant than Caffeine and Amphetamines in terms of side effects and properties. Modafinil’s effects are long-lasting and subtle (15 hours) in a persistent way whereas caffeine is very short-lived and physically addictive. If you are tired it will help you feel and operate at normal levels by giving you energy and stamina. If you aren’t tired then it can increase working memory and other prefrontal processes, these positive benefits are common among smart drugs.
A user of popular reddit form /r/afinil says this of modafinil:
It has let me see connections I wouldn’t have seen before. Is it because I’m more awake? Or some activated level of understanding unavailable without lots of sleep and nutrition …
While another reports this:
I can say categorically that 1/3 of a pill (70mg) helped me break through a writer’s block I was having to complete a draft proposal for the Dalai Lama Foundation.
I personally find modafinil quite effective as a smart drug in programming and general coding sessions though it is essential to first set out and plan goals or waypoints, or else you will over-focus on small details and get lost. The passage of time flows fast when programming on modafinil so do to get up, walk around, and drink fluids every short while. I’d recommend modafinil to anyone who needs that extra edge and effort in any task they need motivation in. It definitely is a machine gun for code monkeys.
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