If you're a procrastinator, then this will become your Bible.

This is how to keep working when your whole body is telling you to just lie down and sleep it off.

a few vk’s

By popular recommendation from many students, drinking a VK can actually help you get some work done. While it’s fairly obvious that getting drunk may solve the sleep issue but probably not the ‘getting work done’ problem, drinking enough that you feel buzzed is apparently a perfect combination if you’re consuming alcohol, caffeine and sugary juice. If you need another reason, drinking may motivate you to get the work done so you can just simply go out.

avoid working on your bed

It’s always an enticing option to work in the comfort and warmth of your bed when your posture is too poor to sit at your desk for more than half an hour. Do not be fooled into thinking that you being more comfortable will get your work done, however. The second you’re settled, the notion of getting out of bed to reach a pen or a handbook is impossible, and before you know it, it’s happening. You’re slouching, then lying down on one elbow typing and the next thing you know, it’s three hours later and you hate yourself.

go for a run

If you’re that type of student, you may benefit from going out and doing a bit of exercise. Sometimes the reason you feel tired is because you’re too settled and getting some blood moving around your body will help. It gives you time to think if you’re having writer’s block or need to plan, and having a nice shower afterwards may give you a spring of motivation. Logically, this probably isn’t the best go-to if you’re struggling around midnight or the hours slightly after. However, even doing a few jumping jacks in your room might help you liven up a little bit.

talk to someone

It sounds obvious, but the second you run out of people to talk to you always immediately get closer to sleeping at night. Find someone in the same predicament as you or just with incredibly bad sleeping hours. Keeping a conversation going is something to stay up for, perhaps talk about a subject where it would be rude to just fall asleep on them, or message any awake family instead as they have a vested interest in helping you get your work done. Message someone you don’t really know doing the same thing as you asking for help, so your chat is strictly about what you need to be doing if needs be. Keep your phone on loud so the pings wake you in the event that you’re that person who always falls asleep before saying good night.

loud music

If your flatmates don’t mind, or they’ve all gone out hence why you’re stuck in this predicament, loud music helps. Slow, acoustic music will often make you feel calmer and more tired, so try and stick on that fast song off the radio or an old punk rock hit your dad always sings while he works. Music is an extremely powerful motivator if you let it work for you. If all else fails, search up ‘motivational playlist’, and Spotify and YouTube are bound to produce some gems. (I highly recommend the Trainspotting soundtrack, any Black Stone Cherry album or the Pulp Fiction soundtrack).

create minor irritations

Please don’t outright harm yourself, but if you’re really struggling for ideas, sometimes irritating your skin can work. Some people find that scratching themselves on a random place a little bit during lectures helps them stay focused as their mind is focusing on the patch of skin and not how good sleep would be. Do it gently or switch spots if your body gets sore. Pinching sometimes works, or doing things that make you itch. Sometimes even visualising itching gives you the feeling that you need to do so, and this might keep you going for just a little bit longer.

give yourself something to stay up for

If work clearly isn’t a big motivator to help you stay awake, create something that requires your attention. Do not attempt this if you can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, as it’s dangerous. Putting a bit of food in the oven to snack on means you have to stay awake for half an hour to make sure it’s ready to eat, or even setting an alarm for an hour’s time so you know if you fall asleep you’ll be rudely awakened anyway. Tiny things to wait for like the kettle boiling, someone to come home or waiting for your hair to dry can create a more realistic demand for you to stay up until whatever you’ve created is completed.

take a few breaks

There is no need to torture yourself - I find that if I work tediously because I’m stressed or I’ve failed something badly and I’m mad about it, I lose my streak quicker. Coming home and reading a book or watching an episode of Netflix before starting work really helps (or dare I say, a nap). While getting into the work is the hardest, you also have a need to do it then. Launching straight in and refusing to stop will give you headaches, make you dizzy and less likely to do good work, and also make you tired quicker. Pace yourself.

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Written by Hannah Newberry, 10 months ago
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