15

Whatever it be, caffeine, tobacco, whatever, list your programming performance enhancing drug of choice.

Do you feel like you NEED it to be most effective at your work?

Vote up someone if they answered the same as you.

73

Water, the best stimulant known to the human body :o)

48

Tea is so good. there are many varieties, it can have similar levels of caffeine to coffee, and it tastes better. Antioxidants too. Gotta keep those oxidants away.

44

Coffee = coding fuel.

38

You're talking about Nootropics (meaning "acts on the mind").

Beginning with the harmless:

Piracetam or Aniracetam or any of the "racetams" - the first of the Nootropics, thought to improve memory, but has also been found to increase interhemispheric communication across the corpus callosum. Prescription in Europe, OTC in the United States.

Sulbutiamine - a vitamin B1 (thiamine) derivative that's lipid soluble and therefore can cross the blood-brain barrier. It improves wakefulness without the crash of coffee, and may improve memory. Used by athletes, banned for competition, excellent for programming. Available OTC.

The mostly harmless:

Cetrophenoxine - used to treat Alzheimer's disease, but also shows demonstrable improvement of memory and cognition in healthy adults. Can cause headaches in higher dosages. Available OTC.

Adrafinil - A gentle stimulant, is metabolized by your body into Modafinil (see below). Unregulated in the United States, available over the Internet.

Now you're cookin' with gas:

Modafinil - Hail to the King, baby. Apart from keeping narcoleptics from nodding off, experimental results also suggest this increases working memory from 7 registers to 8. Modafinil is an extra 10-20 IQ points in a pill. Prescription only.

The dangerous:

Desmopressin - This is the most controversial, most dangerous, but also the most effective memory improvement drug of this list. It's a synthetic analog of vasopressin, which is involved with memory imprinting. Taken as a nasal spray, its effects are noticed within seconds, and vastly improve memorization of new material. But you don't want to mess with it, because Desmo/Vasopressin is also an Anti-Diuretic Hormone that causes your kidneys to retain water. Ie: it interferes with homeostasis. If you don't know what you're doing and drink too much fluids you can go into electrolyte imbalance (hyponatremia), which means hospitalization, brain damage, and possibly death.

If there were a programmer's Olympics, all of the above would be banned substances.

17 accepted

So, no-one is going to admit they smoke a bit of the weed eh? Fortunately, I live in a 4:20 tolerant country where personal use isn't a one-way ticket to lifetime incarceration.

I find that it helps get me into the "zone" of concentration that enables me to work for long periods on an application. A little puff now and then maintains that zone.

That's not to say I am stoned all the time; especially when I am meeting with clients, I try to maintain a respectable facade.

The other stimulant is, of course, caffeine. I prefer fresh-ground plunge (bodum), drip or expresso, but I am not adverse to grocery-store coffee if that's all that's available. I try to buy organic, eco-friendly, conflict-free, etc, but I'm not religous about it.

After I reach my coffee limit, I like to keep hydrated with water, fruit juice or ginger-ale. I do not drink coke, and ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT DRINK diet colas. I find that aspertame makes me feel queazy/grungy, and I believe it is a carcinogen and causes diabetes.

I do not drink alcohol while working, as it completely screws up my mental faculties. Although I am not adverse to a few beers or glasses of wine after the coding's done.

As far as non-recreational drugs, I only have limited experience with painkillers. I prefer ibuprophen (advil) over tylenol, but I find that prolonged use causes sleep disruption which doesn't help the coding process at all.

Oh, and did I mention that I quit smoking a long time ago, so I'm not interrupted constantly for that fix.

13

Mountain Dew is all a person needs.

12

Tea. I'm very English.

10

Coca-cola works for me.

8

Adrenaline! Nothing like the thrill of an impending deadline to really sharpen the reflexes and focus the mind. ;-)

5

Sugar mostly

4

None, code IS power.

4

Diet coke. Got to watch my weight sitting down all day!

4
  1. Coffee. We have a Starbucks-brand coffee maker in the office that has a bean hopper where you put the whole beans just like their espresso makers at the store. Pretty sweet. If any company expects quality work out of their developers, they should invest in providing quality coffee.

  2. Second alternative is Dr. Pepper. Again, provided by the company. (Sweet!)

  3. Third, if available, Diet Pepsi Max is pretty cool because it has some extra "kick" to it.

4

So, im the only one thats gonna say beer? =(
(Not in my day work of course, but a very nice companion on those lonely programming nights at home ;)

4

i require mountain dew and the blood of young virgins.

4

Techno/Trance music, or silence.

3

I need coffee, but that's generally a requirement for me to do anything properly.

3

taurine, guarana, caffeine, and whatever else ends up in Red Bull

3

Ritalin (prescription). Of course, I require it while doing anything that requires conversation, including conversations.

3

Weed! no! I'm totally kidding.

Coffee actually, but only because I need to wake up in the mornings, the rest of the day I just drink water.

3

Coffee in the morning (and keep your damned cream and sugar)...

Otherwise, it's "tea, Earl Grey, hot" for me.

3

Stimulant:

BAWLS, rootbeer flavored and original - there is nothing better

Creative:

Marijuana - it really gets my mind ready to deal with all manner of abstractions

Music - usually something instrumental; it's essential and goes well with the previous item

Like some others, I used to smoke cigarettes and I thankfully have quit. Bawls is a "better" energy drink for me as it tastes great and is not packed full of EVERYTHING, just guarana (in massive amounts). Normally in the morning I will have a bawls and get to working on whatever. After lunch is when I usually feel the need to toke up as I am usually in a bit of a slump and losing some focus by then, which is instantly returned after a few puffs. Music goes all day and night and shifts through many different genres, depending on activity as well.

3

I guess we are completely opposite here.

Alcohol numbs the brain. Weed enhances it. At least that's been my experience.

Perhaps you haven't been able to perform a valid comparison due to preconceived cultural bias.

3

I prefer internally produced, natural drugs, so I use the Power of Music to stimulate production of proper stuff in my body. Epic metal works best in coding sessions where I know my direction in advance. Movies soundtracks are better for designing, solving problems, and bug hunting.

And yes, I absolutely need it. Proper music helps me concentrate and focus, unless I am in deep trouble or I have a headache.

2

Water or green tea. If I need an extra boost an apple does wonders. By generally following this arrangement drinks with higher caffeine concentration are much more effective because I use them infrequently.

2

"No coffee - no work". This is what is engraved on the coffee machine in our office. Also, some chocolate and grain cookies help me start a day.

1

+1 for water

1

I find 5-Hour Energy works wonders on those days I didn't get enough sleep and can't concentrate. Most days, anyway... it failed me today...

Generally though it's just diet pepsi, and I'm trying to kick soda/caffeine altogether and just stick to water.

1

Strong coffee in the morning, diet coke at lunchtime and at least a pint of water throughout the day.

1

Strong coffee in the morning if I'm REALLY hurting for caffeine, otherwise yerba mate throughout the day.

1

A big fat shot of Yorkshire Tea.

1

Turkish coffee in the morning and then some Red Bull and of course water during the day.

1

Caffeine. I need it, because I'm addicted to it. If I tried to quit at this point I wouldn't be very productive for a while until the withdrawal wore off. Besides, I really like coffee, so I'm not planning on quitting. I might try to slowly cut back at some point.

My typical dose is about 40oz of black coffee from my Chemex every morning (fresh ground, roasted at a little shop down the street that also roasts nuts and spices) plus a 16 oz travel mug or two throughout the day of office coffee. Sometimes I'll replace one of the trips to the office coffee machine (which is some pretty weak, stale stuff) with a macchiato or something from a local coffee shop.

1

Ginseng shots! They keep me programming and gives me energy to still wake up early.

ginseng shots

I liked the drug answer but this is natural

1

Crack  

1

Slurm.

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1

Some of my best code ever written was right after I had my wisdom teeth pulled and was under the gentle cloud of Percoset.

0

Cold cacao milk is quite refreshing. Coffee is much cheaper though and water beats it all.

0

Coffee, tea, soda, various energy drinks. As long as I have something to sip on.

0

Redbull to get me started, vitamin water to fill out the day.

0

Sugarfree redbull. Tastes terrible, but it's a quick and low-calorie caffeine boost.

0

First thing every morning at work: Coffee and some Swedish snus

0

Anything with sugar or caffeine, water also does the trick sometimes.

0

If I absolutely need it when my back/neck/wrists get sore, tylenol with caffien & codiene(aka tylenol 1,2,3,4). Helps me stay VERY focused. But i dont recommend it. you burn out even more than with anything else mentioned after a week or so. Although exercising with weitghts frequently helps avoid this. That really is the best fuel for body and brain.

just a lil background so no one thinks I am messed up, i was in a car accident (i rolled my car) when i was 16, so i get chrinic back/neck pain

0

Hot chocolate or iced tea for me.

0

AM = Coffee, usually made with cream and sugar

PM = Moutain Dew, Coke, any soda in the frige + Gobstoppers (candy)

I've just started drinking Tea so no recommendation yet.

0

I usually start the day with a bottle of water or vitamin water. After that it is coffee...lots of it..until abut 5:00pm then I switch to water. If I have too much caffeine to late I cant sleep. I used to be able to drink it right up until I went to bed and go right to sleep.

0

I can code with just water, but most of the time I have mate.

0

During the day I'll drink lots of tea. Sometimes I'll have a few sodas and on a rare occasion I'll have an energy drink. I don't prefer drinking those often because they keep me awake for a longer amount of time than I'd like. I also find that tea is very tasty and soothing. You can also experiment with different styles of tea and brewing methods too. So if you're ever board or need to find something to occupy you're curious side, experimenting with tea is a great option.

0

Nothing specific, but I need to have a drink on the go. If I am tired or doing something boring it tends to be coffee, otherwise could be tea or water or pop (soda) or juice. Just as long as there is something for me to sip on when I'm mulling things over, I'm happy.

0

Jolt cola, of course ;)

0

I normally keep sipping water in small quantities while coding.. when hunting down bad bugs or dealing with weird/difficult code I like some form of caffeine boost (cola/coffee etc). I dont code on coffee/cola because it reduces effectiveness when I REALLY need it..

0

Coffee in the AM, Dr Pepper or Root Beer in the PM. I also like having some kind of snack food on hand. Up until recently I ate a 1lb bag of baby carrots every afternoon, now I've switched over to pieces of cantaloupe or other fruit salad type things.

0

Black freshly brewed coffee to boot the brain up in the morning. Cut to decaff after two mugs of real coffee to keep the brain thinkin' it's gettin' fed without getting a case of the jitters. Porridge about 10am with lotsa milk, syrup and cinnamon. Nice long run in the park at lunch, love those endorphins. Something sweet after lunch, we don't get mountain dew here in Ireland which is not cool, so usually a coke. More decaff. Turn off the computer, make sure its properly off, and head out for a Gunness or two.

If I'm working the weekend, like today, I might have a cold beer to keep me cheery. For me, the idea of weed and computers is not good. I like to keep the bugs in the computer.

0

Plain cold H2O.

0

Modafinil all the way :-D

At the end of a 36 hour straight coding session...and unlike with caffeine...I don't feel over stimulated and I'm gonna be able to sleep perfectly tonight like I never missed any sleep.

Rock on.

0

I stick to a bucket of caffeine and a packet of Camel (hence my gravater heh), or whatever cigs I can get my hands into...

I find that cigarettes really help me concentrate on the job at hand...and normally that obscures the fact that they're killing me from the inside heh...

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0

Adrenaline, if that's not enough, then Dr. Pepper. If that's not enough, then the endorphins I get from answering random SO questions

0

Yerba Mate is the way to go. It's a South American tea that I tried on a visit to Argentina last November. It's got a stronger buzz than coffee, lasts all day, and doesn't have the same crash. I've actually got about half a dozen developers at my office drinking it as well. We order in bulk online, although you can buy it at Whole Foods from the Guayaki brand.

0

Diet Coke (Caffeine Free) .. thats what I have every work morning!

0

Espresso for me, please. And make it a double!

0

A caffeine shot followed by a short power nap (< 15 mins)!

0

I like to chew on a fresh human adrenal gland.

0

Water, coffee, tea, beer and wine (the last two rarely and outside the office).

0

1 pack of smarties crushed with a morter and pestle stirred into a 50/50 blend of amped and redbull is my weapon of last resort. dangerously unhealthy, probably, and be prepared for a nasty crash. The hour or so before the crash can be really productive though.

0

I take:

  • Vitamin A to reduce eyestrain
  • Ginko Biloba to improve concentration
  • Omega-3 Fish oil which is supposed to be generally good for the mind

And tea. Lots of tea.

0

Ice cream. mmm... Ice cream...

0

I typically find that Caffeine is detrimental to my ability to code. Sure it makes you a bit more energetic, but the trade off is:

  1. Potentially screwing with your sleep cycle
  2. Decrease in the concentration on the task at hand
0

I need music! be it Techno or some speed metal! it's just got to be fast and loud.