Last year Megan, from Meganerdruns.com, taught us how to pull an all-nighter for finals. As a grad student most of my classes are in the evening and we have more projects than tests. All of my projects require the use of some special, expensive software, such as SAS or ArcGIS, so I spend a lot of time in the computer lab. Traveling 2 of the 4 weeks in April decreased the amount of time I had to complete end of semester projects so I ended up dedicating a whole day to the computer lab to work on projects.
Yes, it was a Saturday and I was there alone pretty much the entire day.
So here are my steps to surviving a day in the computer lab:
1. Take a jacket
Computer labs are often kept cooler than normal rooms to protect the computers.
2. Take a drink (with a lid) and a snack
You don’t want to get into the computer lab and decide you’re starving/thirsty and hour later and have to leave. Make sure the drink has a lid in case you knock it over.
3. Save. Often.
4. Set time limits for yourself so you don’t get burnt out. For example, work on one project for one hour then take a 15 minute break to stretch, facebook, blog, whatever. After your break, switch to a new project for an hour, etc.
5. Find yourself getting off track? Make a to-do list and break everything down into tiny pieces. The quicker you cross things off the list the more motivated and accomplished you’ll feel.
6. Print and proof read before submitting. Proof reading on a computer after you’ve been staring at it all day is not wise. Printing out your project/paper will give you a fresh view of what you’ve completed and you’ll be more effective when proofing.
7. Submit your project, pack everything up, and peace out. Go relax somewhere without a computer or tv.
I’m off to spend day #2 in the computer lab.