With much trepidation, I took the Modalert pill at breakfast time. I had been psyching myself up by remembering that there were few documented adverse reactions and side-effects were rare and nothing I had read had anything bad to say about it.

Naturally, taking the pill made no instant difference to how I was feeling or how I looked. Kind of an anti-climax.

This lack of anything at all happening continued on the train journey, then the walk to my office. I had a coffee and read some news, emails and various things on the internet. An hour passed in a flash and I still felt nothing. At this point I was cursing the jerk who’d burned me. I had probably just taken a sugar pill or something equally pointless. I started some work to take my mind off it.

Two hours later, I had completed my work and was looking for the next project to get stuck into. Despite this Modalert disappointment, at least I was getting things done. Four more hours disappeared in a blur of typing and concentration. Lunch time came and went and by 2pm I decided I should have something to eat. I wasn’t hungry but I hadn’t eaten since 7am so I made myself.

The 3pm dip was approaching. This is the point where the day’s end is in sight, but you don’t feel you’ll make it to 5pm without something. A coffee. A pastry. Some kind of biscuit based saviour to lift me and drag my limp, tired body across the line.

The moment never came. Sure, 3pm came, but I was too deep into my work to bother with afternoon tea disturbing my flow. This was one of those rare moments where I was in the zone and had been for 6 straight hours. Unprecedented. I’m normally killing time by half 10.

That’s when I actually understood what Modalert does. It isn’t “getting high” or losing control. It brings everything into tighter focus. It allows me to compartmentalise my sensory processing and choose what I want to concentrate on and exclude the elements that are distracting. It didn’t matter that my office was busy with movement and noise, or that the air conditioning was turning it into a meat locker – all I wanted to focus on was my work and the music playing in my headphones. So that is all I let in.

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