How to survive all-night coding sessions

06. Listen to music

All-night coding session tips

Get those cans on but respect the nocturnal ambience

This one sounds a bit contradictory considering the whole 'limit distractions/breaks' tip. However, if you're still clocked in at hour 16, there's nothing worse than listening to yourself clammer on about how tired you are, or how annoying it is that you're still tethered to your computer at 3am.

I find the best way to ease that frustration is to put on some wicked cool tunes, and let the music take over. Believe it or not, I have a playlist for just such an occasion!

07. Turn into a carbohydrate/sugar junkie

All-night coding session tips

Mmmmmmmmm carbs

I know. I know. You're supposed to eat right according to my previous work-at-home tips (08. Eat healthy), but when you're looking for that quick pick me up at 2am, there's nothing more satisfying than chomping on a bagel or (even better!) a giant chocolate bar – or both!

Food that are high in carbs and sugar have a tendency to quickly turn into energy. Of course, there are better sources for carbs and sugar than bread and chocolate as these tend to bring on a sugar crash later.

08. Make friends in other time zones

All-night coding session tips

A bit of social interaction will keep you alert

Staying connected is important. Staying connected in the wee hours of the night while you're fighting to stay awake is even more important.

The global reach of social media today is fantastic. Thirty years ago I would have needed a special telephone calling plan (and my parents' permission) to make friends 'across the pond'. These days I just hop on Twitter, Facebook, or Slack, and I get a quick pick me up from a friend. Keep in mind, though, this can easily turn into a distraction if you're not careful.

09. Plan a day of rest

All-night coding session tips

Make up for that night work by chillin' during the day

When you finish an all-nighter, take the next day off. Chances are you'll be too exhausted to be of any use anyway. Besides, if you continue to pull frequent all-nighters, without proper rest in between, you're likely to burn yourself out. Unfortunately, once that happens, recovery is slow – and sometimes impossible.

10. Plan better

All-night coding session tips

Try to ensure your life is in order

Maybe this should be tip #01? The best way to survive an all-nighter is to not have one in the first place.

Try to plan out your work in such a way that things are do-able in a reasonable amount of time. Take on only what you can handle. Overloading yourself is no fun. While it's okay to have the occasional 'heavy workload', it's certainly not something you should be enduring everyday. If it is… it's time to re-evaluate your current status.

So those are my tips, what about you? Tell us how you handle all-nighters in the comments below…

Words: Tammy Coron

Tammy Coron is an iOS developer, backend developer, web developer, writer, and illustrator. She blogs at Just Write Code.

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