How can I Stay Awake in a Boring Meeting?

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  • Written By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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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.


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Post 3

Keeping notes is the best tip! I do this in my classes all the time because I learn so much more that way. It's like early preparation when its time for exams.

Another way you can keep awake is to sit close to the leader or speaker of the meeting. That means you should sit towards the front, not the back. When you are closer to the person that's speaking, it's so much harder to ignore them and start thinking about other things. They are also more likely to make eye contact with you and that will force you to pay attention to them!

A tip I have for women who have to attend many boring meetings is to wear mascara! Mascara will actually open up your eyes. So even if you loose track and wander off into a thought for a minute or two, it will still look like you are listening!

Post 2

I think some meetings are boring because I don't know too much about what is going on. If it's the first meeting for a group for example, I might not know many people or anyone there. I might not be informed about the topics that will be discussed either. If I don't have any input on a topic, I feel like I don't want to be there, which can make it really difficult to pay attention and not dose off.

So what I try to do is to make myself interested in that meeting by getting to know the participants beforehand if possible or learning more about that topic. If I have something to say about it, a question to ask or if I just know someone there personally, it's much easier to be interested and alert.

Post 1

Sugar and caffeine are a favorite for people who have to sit through boring meetings because they both provide a rush of energy. That's why people love meetings where there are snacks like cookies and coffee available.

If it is a professional work meeting, I wouldn't recommend this. But if you are going to a boring class or a more laid back meeting, you can take some snacks and drinks to it, not just for you but for others who have to sit through it as well.

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