• Question: Have you ever had to pull an all-nighter because of work?

    Asked by Lissie-1904 on 13 Nov 2023.
    • Photo: Amina Moss

      Amina Moss answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      Yes, I’ve pulled all-nighters to complete tasks/reports/reading and to meet specific deadlines. However, I try to avoid this, by being organized (it does not always work). I have a calendar with daily/weekly tasks that I rearrange in order of importance and urgency.

      Some things can be important and not urgent, while others can be urgent but not important, so it is a matter of prioritizing and making sure that I set realistic deadlines for myself and others.

      I try not to make promises that I cannot keep because, in my line of work, there can be lots of people that are depending on me to submit things on time. 😊🌙🌟

    • Photo: James Bron

      James Bron answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      Yes, I’ve often had to pull all-nighters as there isn’t ever enough time to do everything. Usually these are done in order to meet an upcoming deadline or, sadly, catch up on a deadline I’ve missed. In any case I often don’t go to bed until 02.00 or 03.00 in the morning as there’s usually plenty of work that needs to be done (often the most boring stuff that I avoided during the previous day…).

    • Photo: Anton Edwards

      Anton Edwards answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      I have worked all night many times. When you study the sea, you sail in expensive ships that cost many thousands or tens of thousands of pounds per day. This means that the work must often continue all the time. So scientists and crew work in shifts to keep the work going. Some people work at night, others during the day. And sometimes the work needs you to be around for long hours, so it is not unusual to work all night.

    • Photo: Karen Edwards

      Karen Edwards answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      I’m sure I did a few times while I was doing my PhD and I have colleagues in the Environment Agency who are involved with our incident response work (for flooding for example) and they often work overnight and weekends during storm events. But, the Environment Agency is also good about paying extra for that and/or ensuring adequate time off in compensation.

    • Photo: Tanya Riley

      Tanya Riley answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      Yes, its rare but sometimes the experiment you are doing or the survey requires the additional work. But I don’t make a habit of it as its not really a good way to work

    • Photo: Cristina Steliana Mihailovici

      Cristina Steliana Mihailovici answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      Yes, in some occasions, but I prefer that work is well managed and planed, and to avoid this happen.

    • Photo: Victoria Ashley-Wheeler

      Victoria Ashley-Wheeler answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      A few, though there were far more while I was doing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I occasionally need to do them when I struggle with a deadline, but I’m lucky in that only one experiment actually required me to work through the night. I do try to plan my work to avoid it as much as possible.

    • Photo: Clare Johnson

      Clare Johnson answered on 13 Nov 2023:


      No! My brain wouldn’t work if I tried doing work all night, so I just go to sleep and start again the next day. However, there are times (e.g. during fieldwork) where I’ve had to work long hours. And research ships operate 24 hours a day so you work different allotted hours (called watches) so someone is always awake and working. So I have worked at 3 am many many times on ships, but then I get to go to bed at 8am and don’t have to start working again til maybe 8pm!

    • Photo: Anuschka Miller

      Anuschka Miller answered on 14 Nov 2023:


      Not sure if I ‘had to’ but I have done it hundreds of times. Because I am bad at time management, because I am a perfectionist, and because sometimes you need to get your samples processed when you have them so they don’t go off. Or you might be on night shift on a research expedition…

    • Photo: Benedikte Ranum

      Benedikte Ranum answered on 14 Nov 2023:


      Many times! Although thankfully less so now than when I was doing my PhD. The last time I pulled an all-nighter through work was when I was writing an important proposal and didn’t finish until 5am, a few months back. I’m getting too old for that stuff, though…

    • Photo: Stephanie Horn

      Stephanie Horn answered on 16 Nov 2023:


      Yes. Many, many, many times! During my BSc, my MSc and my PhD. When I worked in the fish farming industry I never had to do this though. Maybe if I keep losing sleep I will leave academia and go back into the industry!

    • Photo: Ambre Chapuis

      Ambre Chapuis answered on 17 Nov 2023:


      I had to do that multiple times during my PhD because I did not know better, reached the deadline on manuscript, or thesis chapter or set up my experiment way too late. Work is never your best when you are sleep deprived and now I try to organize my work more to not have to work overtime and try to find a work and life balance.

    • Photo: Jake Norton

      Jake Norton answered on 21 Nov 2023:


      Yes…..as many others have said, when doing a PhD, things can get a little chaotic! BUT, if you’re strict with your time and have a good schedule this is avoidable most of the time. Sadly, I struggle to take my own advice! But I am working on it…

    • Photo: Clemence Fraslin

      Clemence Fraslin answered on 21 Nov 2023:


      Only when I was writing my PhD manuscript (the very last 2 weeks of writing, because I was a bit behind and I needed the pressure and the stress to start having ideas).
      I am someone who needs lots of sleep to be able to function, I usually go to bed early and if I’m super busy and really need something done I will woke up early to finish it (4/5 pm) but I will never stay up past 11pm for work because at that time of the day I am useless.

    • Photo: Camilla Cassidy

      Camilla Cassidy answered on 21 Nov 2023:


      Never! I tried to, once, but I realised that I wasn’t giving the work my best effort if I wasn’t rested. So I went to bed and got up bright and early the next morning! Trying your hardest can look like staying up all night, or it can be knowing yourself, too. 🙂

    • Photo: Jade Roberts

      Jade Roberts answered on 1 Dec 2023:


      Yes! Both through choice and necessity; during University I found it easier to start studying and working later in the evenings when the library and world was quieter. During my career I have had to work lots of different shift patterns, I worked at a prawn farm for over a year and shifts would start at 7pm and finish at 7am! Similarly during COVID I worked in a virology lab where, because we were a small team, we again had to work different 12 hour shifts each week.

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