4 Tips For Pulling A Programming All-Nighter
It’s the early evening and all you want to do us collapse into bed and unwind, but the website you’ve been pretending to work on all week is due tomorrow morning bright and early. Here’s the kicker– you haven’t even started. The only option in your arsenal is an all-nighter, here’s how to get through it.
1. Change your environment
Programming requires high levels of concentration and focus, meaning your environment needs to compliment that. Even something as simple as turning off the TV can have a huge impact on your levels of focus. A study by the Journal of Obesity & Health found that watching TV lowers metabolic rate, making you feel groggy and tired. So, before we even get started, make sure the TV is off or you’ll regret it. Next, we’re going to put the AC on full-blast, as cold air has been known to increase heart rate and give you a boost of energy. While your at it, make sure all of the lights in the room are on and your workspace is well-lit. Studies have found that this can help make you feel more alert. Lastly, if you can manage working with a friend, it can be more invigorating to have a study buddy
2. Wake your body up
Getting physical is one of the most effective tricks to help you pull an all-nighter. First way to accomplish this is to have a very big breakfast that day. Leading up to the all-nighter, only have light snacks– you don’t want to have a big meal at this time because it will divert blood flow from your head to your stomach.
Also, you’ll want to set aside around 30 minutes to take a nap during the day of the all-nighter, at least 8 hours before you’d normally be going to bed. This will rejuvenate you leading up to the inevitable crunch time. Around two hours before your session, hit the gym and do a light workout. This should be an hour or half an hour just to get your blood flowing and energize you. On your way back to wherever you will be working, pick up some fruits to snack on and some peppermint gum, as well as coffee/caffeinated tea and a good supply of cold water.
3. Wake your mind up
Okay, were just about to jump into this all-nighter session and you know how tedious writing code can be. You’ll want to find a video on YouTube that will get you inspired to succeed and see this session through. Find a good one and watch it around 15 minutes before you’re ready to buckle down. One of our favorites is Rocky Balboa’s speech to his son.
You’re also going to want to have something available other than the project that can keep your mind engaged. This will vary for everyone, but it can range from playing music, listening to a podcast, or setting up Facebook breaks to interact with friends. As long as you limit these breaks to a few minutes, you’ll stay on schedule and be ready for anything. Once the morning arrives, you’re going to want to slow down on the snacking, coffee/tea, water, and physical breaks. Your body needs to wind down so you can unwind– just make sure not to fall asleep!!
4. Set up a period of recovery
Congratulations! You accomplished your goal and submitted the project, now to address your obvious and unavoidable exhaustion. Have the opportunity to go to bed at 2 or 3 pm? Don’t take it! If you do, your entire circadian rhythm is going to be out of whack. Take a tip out of the book of vigorous travelers, a fast method to reset your sleep cycle. This involves forcing yourself to stay up the entire next day after your all-nighter, and going to bed as close to your normal sleep time as possible.
If this sounds too tough, you can try a food-fasting circadian rhythm reset that was discovered in 2009 by Harvard Medical School researchers which has been said to do wonders. Finally (and we hate to rub it in), the fact that you just had to pull an all-nighter of misery begs the question: Should you be re-thinking your time management skills? Considering tools like Pomordo or other tools for time management can help you avoid this type of scenario in the future.
Have you ever had to pull an all-nighter? If so, leave your stories and tips in the comments below!
Tags: Coding, deadline, development, Programming, Website, websites