Short humor piece I wrote in 10th grade.
|Sleep. Aah. What a wonderful state we are granted. The lights are shut off, I’m comfortably snuggled in bed with my PJs on—but wait, lying in bed, I just remembered that I have an essay due tomorrow and I haven’t started it. Shoot. |
To be most efficient, you must plan your nighttime working hours well in every aspect. As an ultra-procrastinator, I have a lot of experience getting chased by deadlines, and here are some tips on how to make the most of the nighttime (before your deadline) so you don’t get grounded ever again.
Before I let you in on the specifics of my game plan, here is the Golden Rule of late-night work sessions: “Always chase quality over quantity in your working time.”
1. Typically, the best time to start a night's work is around 9. Think of it this way: dinner is finished at about 7, and after dinner, there is just this feeling of tiredness that prevents you from working efficiently. A half-hour of rest would best prepare you for the difficult tasks that lie ahead.
2. Sitting down at your desk, you need to first plan out exactly how the night will go. Let's say you have an English essay about tomatoes due tomorrow. Your workload should be broken down into different blocks. You might spend the first hour researching tomatoes, the second forming the outline, the next couple writing your essay, and the last, editing your work.
3. After countless hours of late-night work, I have come up with a strategy I call “The 2-minute Apple Method.” With only the “blocks” that you have created in the previous step, you might run into a problem—lack of motivation. “The 2-minute Apple Method” instructs that every time you feel the urge to close your laptop and throw it out the window, you should set a timer for 2 minutes and watch a full 2 minutes of Steve Jobs’ motivational speech on his work ethic, found on YouTube. The complete video is 10 minutes long, and if you are a procrastinator like me, you would likely go through the video between 3 and 6 times a night. Although this does waste time, going back to the Golden Rule of late-night work sessions, it keeps you focused when you’re working and provides a time of rest for your brain.
4. The selection of food during a late-night work session is crucial. Greasy foods such as pizza, french fries, and fried chicken need to be avoided, as washing your hands takes too much time, and getting your workspace dirty is just frustrating. The same goes for snacks like chips and crackers. Spicy food would also need to be avoided, since with spicy food, you need some sort of liquid to neutralize the spiciness, and you subject yourself to the risk of knocking over your drink and ruining your night’s work. My advice is to eat fruits. Fruits like apples and oranges can be eaten with a fork, and this solves the problem of getting your hands dirty. Moreover, fruits contain water within themselves, and you no longer risk knocking over a liquid and ruining your workspace. Most importantly, fruits are just plain tasty.
5. Music has always been a key part of my study plan. Choosing the right music to work by is very important. Late at night, you wouldn’t want to choose something that is too chill and relaxed, as it increases the probability of you falling asleep. Conversely, you would also want to avoid something that is too loud and hyped up, as you would be distracted and lose productivity. My suggestion for music is a combination of these two. Before the study session, you should create a special playlist—to be used only when studying late at night. In this playlist, you need to organize your songs in a way so that one song is chill, and the next song is hype. This way, you can maximize your productivity during a chill song, and just when you are going to fall asleep, the hype song kicks in, and you stay awake.
6. Lastly, don’t leave anything to the next morning. At times, I have left work for the morning, thinking that I could wake up an hour earlier and finish it up. This is not going to happen under any circumstance. No. Don’t even think about it. The moment an alarm rings is the time when a person has the least possible motivation, and your inner self would just make up an excuse to go back to sleep. Oh, maybe the teacher won’t check. They will. Oh, I’ll just pretend I’m sick so I can stay home for the day. But you’re not sick and it won’t work. Whatever the case, finish everything due the following day during the night before, and don’t leave anything to the morning.
There you have it. The ultimate guide to working late hours. I sincerely hope you do not need to use this guide anytime soon, but if in fact you do face a situation where you need to stay up to finish work, I’m always here for you. I’ll get you through it.