Burning the Candle on Both Ends

Perhaps some of us work in a startup with a small team. And you find that it’s everything that you dreamt of, right down to the awesome colleagues, tight deadlines, and meaningful contributions.

Perhaps, some of you might also find that your skill (like mine) is not where you want it to be to create the giant slaying product or service that you envisioned (or perhaps you don’t know what you don’t know). And so you have two choices: learn it up, or fuck off.

The very nature of deadlines and cashflow goes against the need for a learning curve and since we know that time isn’t fungible¬†by default, you would have to find a way to make it so. In my case, I turned to the less legal form of ritalin.

What followed was a 30 hour spree of extreme focus and unshakable faith in my own abilities to comprehend new methods. Not only that, because my focus was on learning and improvement, even when I received perceived destructive criticism (You see, criticism is criticism, and what is constructive to one person is destructive to another), I could focus on the feedback and ignore how I feel about it.

In short, it was 30 hours of nothing but super-man productivity.

But at what cost? You ask. Well, apart from the direct physical effects of amphetamines which is its own ballgame altogether, the indirect effect of dopamine flooding and interrupted sleep cycles and extreme usage of brain-food (glucose) lead directly to, you guessed it, burn out.

Ostensibly, the plan was to start the spree on Thursday and have Friday evening and the rest of the weekend off to recover. What I realised is that two and a half days is only enough to work the rest of the stuff out of my system, and now I am dealing with the emo-ness that comes from suddenly having less dopamine than I am now used to.

It is not sustainable, even in the short term. And given that I have easy access to it (It’s cheaper than you think), I type these words largely for myself.

And yet, given the path that I have chosen, the temptation to make use of God mode will be strong indeed.


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Hankit Mok

I live to tell stories. Sometimes, I get paid for them.

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