Today, I have a 1 1/2 hour conference call scheduled immediately following lunchtime. This call is a drafting session, which is particularly painful (i.e., boring). We have these calls for this particular client at relatively regular intervals -- every 4-6 weeks or so. Here is the thing, though. Always, ALWAYS without fail, the call is scheduled for a day I am sleep deprived. Last night I was up late working, but sometimes I am just up late fretting and stressing about something, or I am exhausted from a weekend of working on the house, or A had a school project due that kept us up late, or whatever. So, I have developed the following strategies for staying awake. I cannot take full credit for these -- some of them are Kathy's. But some are all mine.
1. Don't eat too much. Not only does the food make you sleepy, but being hungry actually keeps me awake.
2. Don't get too hungry. I know this kind of conflicts with the first one, but a drop in blood sugar can be a dangerous thing. You have to strike just the right balance. Sometimes it helps to snack continuously through the call.
3. Drink two Diet Cokes with your lunch. Not only does the caffeine help, but needing to go to the bathroom also helps.
4. Stand up. This is a good one if you are in your own office, but is less effective for live meetings or conference calls in your boss's office.
5. Thing about something that is actually interesting. This is a tough one, because it requires you to not pay attention. Use sparingly!
The problem with this particular call is that it is in my boss's office. I see him doing all of these things -- standing, eating, etc. But I am limited, because I want to seem professional and wandering around his office in the middle of the call does not seem all that professional to me. Once, I just broke down and asked if I could get coffee in the middle of the three hour call. He said yes.