Most people are stuck in a boring meeting at least once in their life — some endure boring meetings on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Luckily for everyone who has to sit through one of these interminable ordeals, trying to keep their eyes open, there are many ways to stay awake in a boring meeting. Taking notes can help you pay attention, as can other activities that keep your hands busy. A cup of coffee or tea might help you stay awake, as can finding an opportunity to take a short break and walk around for a few minutes.
One of the easiest ways to stay awake in a boring meeting is to volunteer to take notes. Practically, the act of writing down what is being said forces someone to pay attention and not give in to sleep or daydreaming. In addition, the notetaker can get away with other actions more easily. If someone is taking notes by hand, he or she can doodle, draw caricatures of co-workers — although those should not be made public — or write letters, and appear to only be recording the meeting's minutes. A notetaker using a laptop may be able to work on other documents at the same time, or even compose emails or surf the Internet — although he or she will have to make sure not to be too obvious.
Depending upon the formality of the meeting, a somnolent attender may be able to work on craft projects. With the popularity of knitting skyrocketing, many people now consider it normal and acceptable to knit or crochet during a meeting. This might be more accepted in a casual work environment or a volunteer organization than a high-powered board meeting, however. Some people have even been known to bring sewing or scrapbooking projects to meetings, which helps them stay awake, but may be distracting to others.
Caffeine has always been a popular method for staying awake, whether in a boring meeting or not. Lattes, mochas, espresso, and even caffeinated water and gum can all make a difference when it comes to staying awake or succumbing to sleep. The downside is that caffeine may cause someone to be jittery, making it harder to pay attention or sit still. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy — even eating a snack — all can help someone stay awake, just because of the action of chewing or sucking on something.
Sometimes people just need to move around. Excusing oneself to use the restroom or get a drink of water can do wonders for staying awake. While in the bathroom, a little cold water splashed on the face can be reviving. In addition to physical movement, pain can provide a way to stay awake. It may sound drastic, but pinching yourself can help you stay awake in a boring meeting.