How To: plan successful, efficient all-nighters

Casey Dalrymple

via flickr.cmo

Eventually — through poor planning or a difficult schedule — it will happen to you. Your homework and other obligations will stack up, and the deadlines will creep closer and closer until they are tomorrow and you have no other options. You’ll have to pull an all-nighter.

Drink your coffee

A rookie mistake is to over-caffeinate. Think twice before chugging down energy drinks. If you consume your vitamin C all at one time, you may become jittery instead of developing a healthy, focusing buzz. Those jitters will cause you to crash later when staying up is truly imperative.

Change your scenery

A change in venue can do wonders when it’s crunch time. Being in a focused environment — your dorm’s study lounge, the basement of Bobst, the common space of your apartment or house — can translate to actually being focused, which makes the work easier. Moving around can also help break up writer’s block for when an essay is due in six hours.

Beware of your bed

As the midnight oil burns, and you inevitably become bleary-eyed, a long nap can seem like a tempting, almost logical option. Instead, lie down for a short time to recharge. Try to actually limit yourself to 15 to 30 minute naps. Anything more than that, and you’ll just wind up more tired than you started.


If you’re still feeling groggy, do some cardio — jumping jacks or arm twirls. When you blood starts pumping, you’re less inclined to want to lie down. An object in motion stays in motion.

Power in numbers

Staying up all night can be demoralizing. A friend can help you through to dawn, keep you focused, remind you of what’s at stake and point out that you will, more likely than not, survive. And you can do the same for him or her. Think of the entire night as a bonding experience.

Above all, don’t abuse the all-nighter. It is a powerful weapon — the most powerful in the procrastinator’s arsenal — but like all weapons, it is not to be abused.

— Casey Dalrymple