Last Wednesday I hiked up a mountain with my brother-in-law. I got back home that afternoon and was really tired, but I still had a blog post to write. Even though I was dead tired and not in the mood to spend any time on my computer, I ended up producing what turned out to be the most popular post this blog has ever seen. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Announce that a huge post is coming

Gotta keep your promises.

Gotta keep your promises.

I had announced the previous Tuesday that an epic post was coming up on Thursday. I had an idea of what I wanted it to be, but I hadn’t even started it yet.

It would have been all-too-easy to churn out a 500 word post in 20 minutes and call it quits for the night, but I had promised an epic post. I had done the same thing several months ago when I promised that I’d have an ebook ready on a certain day. I ended up writing the whole thing in a single sitting the night before it was due.

It’s lame to promise your readers something and not follow through with it. With that in mind, if you really want to make sure you get that epic blog post done, be sure to announce it in advance so you’re held accountable.

Step 2: Freeze your butt off

AC unit and a big ol' fan.

AC unit and a big ol' fan.

I then locked myself in my room (I live in a house with a few of my buddies), turned the air conditioning way down and the fan way up so it was really cold. It’s hard to fall asleep when you’re freezing. I know this because it’s the trick I use when I’ve been awake and climbing mountains for 20 hours and still have to drive 4 hours to get home that night. It works.

Step 3: Consume caffeine and junk food

Sour Patch kids candy. The Red Bull had already been ingested and was going a-viking through my veins.

Sour Patch Kids candy. The Red Bull had already been ingested and was going a-viking through my veins, so I was left with sparkling water.

While most people think Red Bull is disgusting, I freaking love the taste of it. Honestly, caffeine doesn’t really do anything for me (honest!), but I like drinking Red Bull in these situations anyway. As far as eating stuff goes, the sourness of Sour Patch Kids is great for keeping you awake.

I wish I had a picture of my pile of candy and Red Bull when I was gearing up to finish Infographic Academy. It was truly epic, a veritable Mt. Vesuvius on top of my desk (and probably just as deadly as the real thing, too).

Oh, and the more fluids you drink, the more often you’ll have to get up to pee. This is good, because getting up helps you refocus (see step 5).

Step 4: Listen to loud music

Turn it up!

Turn it up!

It’s also hard to fall asleep when you’re being bombarded by kamikaze sound waves.  Any kind of music will do as long as it keeps you awake, but there are some kinds you might want to avoid. Listening to Brahms’ Lullaby, for example, isn’t going to do a whole lot for you. I had just bought the new Foo Fighters album and cranked that puppy up to 11.

Step 5: Sit on the floor

Sit on the floor. It's really uncomfortable.

Sit on the floor. It's really uncomfortable and it'll be super hard to fall asleep.

I usually sit in an uber-comfy Ikea chair while I’m working. But it’s easy for me to fall asleep in it if I’m really tired, so I had to get on the floor. After a little while my butt and back were hurting, so it was then time to…

Step 6: Get up and walk around

Going for a walk around the neighborhood can get you ready to go again.

Going for a walk around the neighborhood can get you ready to go again.

Getting up and walking around serves three purposes: 1) it gets the blood flowing and helps you feel more awake, 2) helps you temporarily ease out from under the impending doom of your deadline, and 3) gives your body and mind a break.

During my most recent marathon writing session I got up twice to walk around the block. I always walk slowly during these breaks to give myself as much recovery time as possible.

Final words

Here’s a pic of my brother-in-law and me on top of the mountain we climbed:

Conquerers of mountains

Don’t let my carefree expression fool you. Behind the smiling facade, I was already dreading writing that promised blog post. Luckily I survived and it all turned out alright thanks to these 6 steps.

  • What do you do if you’re too tired to write a blog post?
  • How do you stay awake when you’re mega tired?
  • How have your I-wrote-them-when-I-thought-I-was-gonna-die blog posts turned out and been received?