How to Pull an All-Nighter Without Killing Yourself (Too Much)

How to Pull an All-Nighter Without Killing Yourself (Too Much)  |  dreamyBEAST design

Finals week is NIGH, you guys. If you’re the type of person who is hyper-organized and finishes all their homework before it’s due, please reveal to me your secrets, you beautiful freak. For the rest of us, there’s a good chance finals week means an all-nighter.

Or, heaven help us, two.

We all know that sleep is mega important, so consider an all-nighter a last resort. If you do have to pull an all-nighter this finals week, make sure your sacrificed sleep results in a night of ass-kicking productivity.

How to Pull an All-Nighter Without Killing Yourself (Too Much)  |  dreamyBEAST design

tend to the animal

That’s you. Make sure you have essential creature comforts on hand before you settle in to work. Stock up on your caffeine of choice, keep a water bottle handy, and prepare a healthy-ish snack. I know, eating at night isn’t necessarily recommended, but when it’s 2:00 a.m. and your willpower is low, a handful of fresh fruit might keep you from reaching for a bag of chips.

prepare your materials

Also essential? Any information you might need for your project. If your project hinges on shared files or information from someone else, make sure you get it before your info source goes to bed! Three in the morning is a bad time to realize you’re missing something important.

This also extends to any items you might need from a shared bedroom. Try to grab everything you’ll need so you don’t wake up your roommate or S.O. rummaging around for your laptop charger in the dark.

keep up your hygiene routine

Take off your makeup, clean your piercings, brush your teeth. All that. You’ll be grateful you don’t feel disgusting in the morning.


Especially that bra. You know that amazing feeling of release you get when you free your skin from the boob holster? Or slide out of those tight jeans? You still deserve that feeling! And believe me, if you don’t change out of your day clothes you’ll be sad in the morning when you realize that you’ve been wearing constricting clothes for 24 hours and still have 12 to go. Get yo’self into some comfy pajamas.

consider fitting in a nap

It might seem like you don’t have the time for this, but consider both how much you have to do and your current mental and physical state. If you’ve already been burning the midnight oil for a couple of days, you might be way more productive after 45 minutes of sleep. As little as 20 minutes can boost your mood and improve your focus.

devise a plan for handling distractions

How are you going to keep yourself from getting sucked into social media or watching cat videos? The Muse has some great ideas for keeping social media from derailing your focus. Everyone has different techniques for managing distractions. You need to figure out what actionable steps work best to keep yourself on track — before the distractions occur.

set your alarms

Okay, maybe you’re not planning on sleeping… but things happen! Set your alarms just in case you do end up drifting off. There’s nothing worse than waking up at your desk and realizing that not only is your work not finished, but you’re also late for class! That reminds me…

choose your workspace wisely

Obviously, you want to be comfortable while you work, but you might think twice about working from your couch or bed. They’re just so… comfortable… so… nice… so… sleepy… zzzzz. A well-organized desk or table is your best bet for reducing distractions.

schedule your all-nighter

Don’t let your precious time slip through your fingers, set each minute to work. Start with a list of all the things you need to accomplish during your all-nighter. Then block your time into manageable chunks so you know how much time you have to work on each step.

Are you working on a paper all night? Write down each step you still have to do and assign a time slot for each:

  • 11:00 – 12:30 rework intro paragraph
  • 12:30 – 12:45 break
  • 12:45 – 1:45 rework first body paragraph

Don’t forget to plan for stretch breaks, and don’t forget to budget time for getting ready in the morning. Having time to shower is a luxury you will cling to when your 7:00 a.m. alarm goes off!

Do you have any go-to tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments. Whether you’re dealing with schoolwork or professional projects, you have all the tools you need to make the most of an all-nighter. Good luck!

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