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How to Pull a Successful All Nighter

How to Pull a Successful All Nighter

Knowing how to pull a successful all nighter is critical for everyone.  From college students, to new employees, to entreprenuers trying to land their first big break, everyone needs to know how to stay up late to get the job done– without crashing and burning.  Because let’s be honest, a bad all nighter is like old milk– something you never want to taste again.

1. Take a nap first.

Put a little gas in your “sleep tank” by getting a few zzz’s before you get to work.  By taking a nap,  you will feel more rested and more ready to power through the night.  Just make sure you set an alarm!

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2.  Eat protein.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of chowing down on carbs before an all nighter.  Carbs will give you a burst of energy, then leave you feeling wiped out.  Instead, eat protein to keep your energy levels stable all night long.

3.  Exercise.

Want a quick shot of go-juice?  Do a little exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything long or drawn out, but even a few jumping jacks can get your blood pumping again.

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4. Caffeine.

This is my favorite.  I load myself up with caffeine before most people even think about getting their first cup of coffee.  If you want to get through a whole night of work, don’t be afraid to find your favorite source.  Some of my friends swear by energy drinks, but I prefer a pot of the black stuff.

5. Stay in a stimulating space.

Have you ever been to a casino?  There’s tons of lights, noise, and people around to keep you alert.  Next time you’re thinking about pulling an all nighter, find a similar place.  The more lights and talking around you, the easier it will be to stay awake.

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6. Get some fresh air.

This is another casino trick.  Casinos pump oxygen into the building to keep people gambling longer.  You simulate this experience by getting a fan of finding somewhere where the air feels fresh.

7. Make sure your project is important

Before you start your all night work session, review the reasons you need to do it.  Make sure you have an important reason: a deadline, a project you’re passionate about, or a limited time to complete your work.  If you’re trying to accomplish a boring project by staying up all night, chances are you’re going to fall asleep before the clock strikes midnight.  However, if you’re pumped about your project and you need to get it done TONIGHT, you’ll have better luck getting the work done.

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8. Get a partner.

The easiest way to make sure you are successful is to find a friend who also needs to pull an all nighter.  Their encouragement will help you power through the tough late night hours.  Just make sure they don’t distract you from what you need to get done.

9. Set some alarms.

If you’re worried about falling asleep before you get your work done, set an alarm– or ten.  An alarm every hour– on the hour –will help you keep you awake and help you keep track of time.

10. Make a to do list.

Working all night can help you get stuff done; however, as your brain power diminishes due to exhaustion, it’s tough to stay on track with what you need to accomplish.  Make a to do list BEFORE you start your all nighter.  This will keep you focused on exactly what needs to get done.  Make  your to do list as detailed as possible so you will lots of stuff to cross off. This will help you stay motivated in the middle of the night.

Featured photo credit: Insomnia/Carlos Martz via flickr.com

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Kelsie Fannon

Kelsie is a journalist and writer who shares about productivity and money tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 20, 2019

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

Time.

When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

So, how do you start?

Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

Assess Your Current Time Spent

Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Tricks to Tackle Distractions

Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

2. Beware of Emails

Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

3. Let Technology Help

As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

Time is in Your Hands

At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

So what are you waiting for? 

Featured photo credit: Aron Visuals via unsplash.com

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