24-hour Library: Make your all nighter productive

StayFocusedIf you’re more of a night owl than a morning lark then our 24/7 library opening is made for you. But if you are thinking of pulling the occasional all nighter you’ve got to get it right and make it worthwhile or you’ll just be sitting in the library, all night, watching Netflix and worrying. And that is 100% better from the comfort of your own bed…

So here’s five tips for an effective late night study session:

1. Make a plan

Obviously. Work out what you need to do and, more importantly, what you feasibly can get done. Do not set yourself up to fail by trying to get everything done in one immense study session. Equally, don’t rock up only knowing you need to write a report but not sure if it’s on Chaucer, Shakespeare or Pratchett.

Write a list and if possible, break each task into smaller sections so it feels manageable. When you write your task list think about the practicalities too – which zone of the library is going to be the most productive for you? Do you want to chat and share ideas with your friends or do you need head down, uninterrupted writing time? Do you need a PC, whiteboard or books? The library caters for most study styles – plan ahead, find your zone and settle down.

2. Eat right

You won’t get anything done if you’re deafening your study pals with your rumbling stomach, so have a good meal before you head out. Preferably something with lots of slow release energy to keep you going all night – this red lentil, chilli and chickpea soup is delicious, cheap and filling.

Don’t forget to bring along some snacks to keep you going – avoid high sugar treats like jelly sweets, they will only lead to you crashing around 10:30pm. Go for nuts, dried fruit and bananas. Oh, and keep yourself hydrated with water, not Red Bull – try to limit your caffeine intake. It might keep you awake but it won’t improve your focus. Dull but sensible.

3. Take a break

When you make your plan, make sure you factor in some breaks. You’re not Wonder Woman, you can’t focus solely on work all night (I’m not sure if that’s one of her actual super powers). Allow yourself 15-20 minute breaks every couple of hours to unwind and refocus.

Try to move around during your breaks to keep your blood flowing and stretch your achy muscles. Walk up and down the stairs, or maybe even get your friends in on a mass deskercise session (if you do this, please send photos).

4. Avoid social media

There is no point going to the library if you’re going to spend all evening Snapchatting and Instagraming. Be strict with yourself and only check during your breaks – let’s face it, nothing major is actually going to happen in 2 hours, those baby pictures from that girl you went to school with five years ago will still be there later.

If you find yourself tempted then disconnect your wifi entirely, or, if that’s not possible, give StayFocused ago, an app that allows you to block websites for a time period of your choosing.

5. Know when to stop

The second Obviously in this post. There is absolutely no point pushing yourself to work when half of your brain is dreaming of fluffy pillows, cosy duvets and your comfiest pajamas. Your work will be rubbish and you’ll only have to rewrite it the next day. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet all of your goals, head home and recharge.

Oh, and be safe. Go home with your friends or if you’re alone get a bus or taxi.  If you fall in the lake and get eaten by geese all of that hard work will be for nothing.

Good luck, study well, and get some rest.

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Image: Scops Owl again/Brian Scott/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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