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One aspect of managing my own firm that I find to be challenging is the dreaded "all-nighter" that is sometimes neccessary ahead of a pitch or a tight deadline. Lately, I've been having an unusually hard time working through one. Additionally, I'm afraid that the work that I do while I'm exhausted is not of the same quality as the work I do after a full nights sleep, and this fear of making a mistake inhibits me and seems to make the exhaustion worse.

So I thought I'd ask if anyone has any suggestions regarding:

-staying awake, alert and focused during an "all-nighter"
-how avoid being irritable while dealing with employees, clients et cetera while exhausted
-how to avoid the fear of screwing up as a result of fatigue

Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

DanStratton's picture

Face it. You are going to be less effective in those circumstances. You are human, just like the rest of us (I know it is hard to take, but it's true. :D )

The only way to be more productive in the face of an all nighter is to either take stimulants (legal ones, of course) or don't get in that situation in the first place. I personally find the later to be more useful. Know your limits and work to them. Balance, grasshopper. :-)

They call it the law of diminishing returns for a reason. Please tell me you don't run a surgical center. :lol:

WGW's picture

No, I'm not in that business. I was for a while the interim CEO of a dental practice (owned by my 75 year old dentist who is a personal friend), but was not involved in patient care to any degree.

cincibuckeyenut's picture

Read a book called the Power of Full Engagement (the one I read), or the previous book The Corporate Athlete.

Basically, you will find that you cannot be effective, period, without taking a break every 90 minutes. You cannot focus on one task for longer than that. If you build in REAL breaks and follow techniques to refresh your body and mind during the break, you will be far more effective. Hopefully that will help with being tired as well.

What you eat can also play a huge role in your energy level.

Definitely worth a read in your situation, IMO

WGW's picture

Thanks for the reccommendations. I'll be sure to check it out. I'm sure my diet could use some tweaking, which will be difficult because I'm both a hardened gourmet in terms of food consumption, and a Dr. Pepper addict. In terms of taking a break every minute though, and structuring my uptime/downtime, that sounds like it could really work for me.

What would be really cool would be if I could discover some super-secret technology that would let me work nonstop for days on end without sleeping or eating, as I slowly transformed into some sort of quasi-humanoid cybernetic managerial automaton, but somehow I don't see that happening...

WVH's picture

I second the commment about reading the power of full engagement. I started forcing myself to take a 15 minute break each morning and afternoon, and found I was able to focus better after the break.