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How To Stay Awake In Boring Meetings (Tired and Tested)

Updated on December 24, 2009

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? And those long and boring conference calls? Falling asleep during meetings is guaranteed Corporate Suicide and may earn you a ticket straight to Unemployment Hell.

So what can you, a mere mortal, do?


Here are ways to help:

  1. Drink some piping-hot drink

    Actually it doesn't need to be Coffee. Hot Milo, milk or tea has similar effects. The hotness to your tongue will boost your alertness instantly.

    But hot Coffee or tea is better because they contain caffeine which is a psychoactive stimulant drug that has the effect of temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness.

  2. Stow away some chocolate or candy in your pocket before the meeting

    It is said that keeping your blood sugar high helps to keep you awake.
    Whenever nobody's looking, sneak a sweet or two into your mouth and suck quietly on it.

  3. Divert your thoughts

    Think about something else that interests you, like what you will do when you knock off from work later or where to go during the weekends. I like to manage my financial budget, re-arrange my To-Do tasklist, and also Calendar entries on my PDA. Sometimes I even surf the Internet and send SMS to my friends (discreetly of course!).

  4. Participate in the meeting

    Even if the meeting has nothing to do with you whatsoever, you can still feign interest by smiling, nodding your head, mumbling "yes, uh-huh". You don't even need to say anything. The speaker will definitely appreciate your attention plus you are forced to stay awake because eyes are on you.

  5. Excuse yourself

    Go to the washroom and splash your face with water.
    Get the water into your eyes to get the stinging sensation.
    Shake your head a couple of times to clear your head.
    Slap your cheeks hard a few times.
    Jump up and down and get your heart pumping.

    You will definitely feel more rejuvenated and refreshed when you return to the meeting room. Unfortunately, the effects of this method does not last long once you are back in the boring meeting.

  6. Medicated Oil

    Dab a little of your favourite medicated oil on your nostrils and this should wake up your senses immediately. I use it all the time to help keep me awake during meetings or driving on the roads.

    But just don't dab too much in case you make the whole meeting room or car stink of your medicated oil! Not to mention, its hot on the nostrils!

  7. Inflict pain.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures.
    When all else fails, what else can you do?

    I found that inflicting pain really makes me sit up (in tearful pain, that is)
    Pinch yourself *hard* on your arms or thighs.
    Step on your own foot with your other foot.
    Dig your fingernails into your skin.
    Bite your lips hard (but not too hard!)


Once you realise the techniques that work best on you, staying awake is a piece of cake!

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