How I hacked my brain with Adderall: a cautionary tale

But coming up daily on Adderall has less to do with a caffeinated sensation than it does with becoming a detail-oriented post-human, a machine following self-imposed routines with little regard for anything outside the routine’s scope. It turns out that my Adderall self has a knack for accounting, spreadsheets, and administrative tasks that my unstimulated self would normally shy away from: an inbox-zeroing robot bent on eking out every last ounce of productivity my heightened senses could spit out.

How I hacked my brain with Adderall: a cautionary tale by Trent Wolbe

Mental models and metaphors

Ontological metaphors like these are so natural and so pervasive in our thought that they are usually taken as self-evident, direct descriptions of mental phenomena. The fact that they are metaphorical never occurs to most of us. We take statements like “He cracked under pressure” as being directly true or false. This expression was in fact used by various journalists to explain why Dan White brought his gun to the San Francisco City Hall and shot and killed Mayor George Moscone. Explanations of this sort seem perfectly natural to most of us. The reason is that metaphors like THE MIND IS A BRITTLE OBJECT are an integral part of the model of the mind that we have in this culture; it is the model most of us think and operate in term

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

Question: What mental models do we have, about Automattic, about WordPress, about startups?

Learn by doing a little, every day

We don’t go to the gym expecting to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a single, day-long workout. Instead, we do several short workouts a week, spread out over months. Our bodies need time to heal; our muscles time to grow. And the same goes for that muscle inside your skull. When trying to develop a new skill, the important thing isn’t how much you do; it’s how often you do it.

Make no mistake, the goal isn’t to do avoid having to practice every day; it’s to make the repetition manageable so you can introduce new material every day. It’s about staying interested and excited about what you’re learning.

–Jack Cheng: 30 Minutes a Day

Writing in the age of distraction

When I’m working on a story or novel, I set a modest daily goal — usually a page or two — and then I meet it every day, doing nothing else while I’m working on it. It’s not plausible or desirable to try to get the world to go away for hours at a time, but it’s entirely possible to make it all shut up for 20 minutes. Writing a page every day gets me more than a novel per year — do the math — and there’s always 20 minutes to be found in a day, no matter what else is going on. Twenty minutes is a short enough interval that it can be claimed from a sleep or meal-break (though this shouldn’t become a habit). The secret is to do it every day, weekends included, to keep the momentum going, and to allow your thoughts to wander to your next day’s page between sessions. Try to find one or two vivid sensory details to work into the next page, or a bon mot, so that you’ve already got some material when you sit down at the keyboard.

Leave yourself a rough edge

When you hit your daily word-goal, stop. Stop even if you’re in the middle of a sentence. Especially if you’re in the middle of a sentence. That way, when you sit down at the keyboard the next day, your first five or ten words are already ordained, so that you get a little push before you begin your work. Knitters leave a bit of yarn sticking out of the day’s knitting so they know where to pick up the next day — they call it the “hint.” Potters leave a rough edge on the wet clay before they wrap it in plastic for the night — it’s hard to build on a smooth edge.

–Cory Doctorow,