February 03, 2014

All-Nighters Never Really Worked for Me.


The week my design competition was due , I experienced those stressful days that I had when I was an Architecture Student. I was tired, anxious, worried while trying to push the design at the same time. It was as if I was taking studio all over again. How could anyone be able to design and think while skipping out on sleep?


Perhaps it is my age, and probably I do not drink the same amount of coffee than what I had as that college student. Technically, I do not believe that pulling All-nighters is something I truly did for the most bit. At least 75% of my nights camping out in the Architorture Chambers included at least some 1-2 hour nap by early morning just because my body could not handle it. Those nights that I did not sleep actually exacerbated anxiety, worry and made my performance unproductive. A significant lack of sleep and excessive caffeine usage can exacerbate or spark up mental health issues.

When I was in Architecture School, I have seen and heard of classmates and design friends that went without sleep for 2 nights...even 3 (Which, you should not try at kids). We have seen the headlines of interns choosing to not sleep, and gambled their life away. No life is worth sacrificing over any project or course. No life is worth gambling in the name of school or career.  

If you are pulling an All-nighter before deadline, I hope you are way past the conceptual phase and working on production work. Conceptualizing a good design does not work with an all-nighter as your logic and philosophy will not be ironed out in time. When it comes to technique, you’ll probably realize the stupid, elementary mistakes in your design presentation.

Here is another alternative to the All-Nighter: Have a bunch of late nights as opposed to a mad rush at the end. Give yourself enough time to conceptualize and explore your design early on. I had a good friend in university who stayed in the studio until midnight almost every day. He is a good example discipline and working under time constraints. He did not have to pull an all-nighter on his individual projects. It is a better way to take account the need for rest in order to stay focused on your project, and present your design properly during the review.    

We should not look at the All-Nighter as a means to an end. It is merely a poor tactic and last resort to damage control. Start your projects early, get the conceptual exploration bulk out of the way early, and work on the project strategically.

RELATED POSTS:
The Almighty All-Nighter (Part I)
The Almighty All-Nighter (Part II)
Studio Culture on a Friday Night


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