Part of the fun (right?) of KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race, we hope, is that you’re going to be staying up all night to finish your pieces in order to post them on Soundcloud by 10AM PT the next day. So we thought we’d ask an all-nighter expert to give some tips to help you get the most out of those 24 hours. Here’s KCRW volunteer (and current college sophomore) Michael Magaña:
The infamous All-Nighter. Some see it as a shameful last resort that more closely resembles a self-dug six foot ditch; others see it as a valuable and necessary tool. As a current sophomore at Syracuse University, I’ve definitely turned to it in times of need. For those times when it is a necessity (like KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race) it’s helpful to have some tips to help you navigate it better.
1) Don’t confuse the enemy! Your opponent in an all-nighter isn’t sleep, it’s dawn. You’re trying to race against the sun to produce your project by working through the night. If you’re too tired to function and manage to make it to the next morning, all you’ll have accomplished is staying up all night. Definitely rest at some point. I usually ‘rest my eyes’ somewhere around four, and set my alarm for about 30 minutes later. It’s amazing how much fresher half an hour of sleep makes you feel. Before that you usually get to the point where your brain is on the same wavelength as an extremely intoxicated person. This would be ok if you were Ernest Hemingway, but chances are you’re not.
2) Be realistic about your concentration. If you need an all-nighter, it’s a long road to your project’s completion. There’s no way you’re going to be a flawless machine of efficiency through the entire ten or so hours. Take breaks. If you don’t, you are guaranteed to wake up in a puddle of drool with gibberish on your screen from the multiple keys you held down with the side of your face. Complain on Twitter, broadcast on Facebook that you’re such a hard worker because you’re doing an all-nighter, or watch a cat video online to shake you out of your sleep-deprived funk. Then, after a few minutes, get back in the ring for the next round.
3) Remember, the last hour isn’t the same length as the first hour. I think a trap most first-timers fall prey to is being under the impression that all time is equal. Let me explain. Technically they’re both sixty minutes, however the padding of the rest of the all-nighter is a huge cushion at midnight that will forgive your sins. Your digressions from the holy in this case could be getting sucked in to social media, falling asleep involuntarily, taking too long to prepare your midnight snack etc. There is no salvation in the last hour before you need to be out of the door or clicking the submit button, and you will be shocked at how fast it seems to go.
When’s the last time you pulled an all-nighter? What helped you get through the night? Share below.