This Week I Did a Little Experiment

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This week I did an experiment, and it didn’t really go very well.

Over the past two months I’ve been having a bit of trouble adjusting from backpacker life to digital nomad life, and my concentration is non-existent. Turns out, it’s really hard to sit in a room and focus on work for more than an hour at a time when you’re used to going on brilliant adventures every day (every person reading this who has a proper job wants to punch me in the head right now, I’m sure).

This week, I was working in a café with a friend and once again I was huffing and groaning that I’d had to sit still and write for three hours (in that three hours we’d had a three course lunch, so it wasn’t even a solid working session). In what I’m sure was an attempt to put a stop to my constant complaining, my friend, from the US, subtly slid a little orange pill across the table to me. I asked what it was and he replied “coffee”. Now I’m no detective, but I knew that wasn’t true, and after some digging I learned that it was Adderall.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Adderall is a prescription drug that’s used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. You don’t need a prescription to get it in Colombia, so lots of nomads use it to increase their focus and make them feel more awake.

I’m a bit scared of drugs, and even coffee makes me twitchy and weird, so taking a tablet from the pocket of a man I’ve met just three times in my entire life seemed like a bad idea. But, I was bored and needed something to write about for this week’s blog, so I decided to swallow that little orange pill right down my throat hole.

For the next hour I continued to ‘work’, waiting for my wonder tablet to kick in and for me to break the world record for fastest typist. But nothing was happening, and I still felt bored, restless and a little uninspired. My friend and I decided to walk to another café for a change of scenery, and by the time we got there I was feeling distinctly different.

By different, I mean FUCKING WIRED. I thought this stuff was supposed to aid your concentration, but I was like a toddler fresh from its nap. I was excited, couldn’t stop talking, and all I could think about was going outside and running around. I couldn’t keep a single thought in my head and I didn’t even look at my laptop for a good 40 minutes or so, never mind do any work.

I can see how this silly little pill is a treatment for narcolepsy as I was 100% awake, but I really don’t understand how it’s supposed to benefit focus. I’ve never been more distracted in my entire life, and for me that’s quite a feat. I mean, how am I supposed to write an email to a client when I can’t even sit still and drink my smoothie (originally I’d ordered a green tea but quickly realised that the last thing I needed was caffeine and whatever else they put in that stuff that makes you feel like you could climb Everest).

After it finally wore off I was a bit shell-shocked and in no way ready for more work, so we went to a bar and drank white wine for the rest of the afternoon. Quite the productive day I had – thanks Adderall, you massive liar.

Is this really what being in your 30’s should be like? When am I going to grow out of spending my Wednesdays doing stupid experiments? Answers on a postcard, please.

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