In our modern world, it seems that everyone has an endless list of tasks to complete. Whether it is for work or for school, being busy is a substitute for status.
If we know that someone is very busy, we usually look up to them. It be can because we think it means they are too busy to pay attention to regular things, but also that they have schedules that are too full for them to care about us.
As a result, you may find yourself studying or working overnight! This is one of the only times that people are unlikely to bother you, because they think that you are asleep.
They will not expect a response if they email you, or they go to sleep themselves. However, if you want someone to know what you are doing instead of sleeping, use these phrases and sentences! These all describe that you are studying or working overnight.
1. I have to cram for my test tomorrow.
If you have something urgent that you have to do, the best way to prevent someone from getting angry at you for having to work or study overnight is explaining what it is. In this case, you have a test. By cramming, you mean that you have to quickly go over all the information that is relevant for you.
Typically, this means that you have not been studying a little bit at a time, so that you would be able to get a good night’s sleep the night before. To make up for that, you have to stay up all night studying.
2. I have a report/ essay/ presentation due tomorrow.
This could apply to either work or school. You could be working on writing something urgent, practicing something that you have to present to your class or work group, or analyzing data. As long as there is something concrete that you have to produce by the next day, it is clearly necessary.
3. I must finish reviewing for my class or meeting.
Even if you do not have something specific to prepare for the next day, it can be beneficial to be aware of the material that you will cover.
For a class, this could be reading over the pages in the textbook that will make up the content of the next lecture. For a meeting, looking over previous meeting notes or reading up on the background of that meeting will help prepare you. Either way, this is something that is clearly beneficial to you if you do it today.
4. I will be up all night (doing something).
This is a sentence you can use in many different contexts. It works in work or school, but also is also useful if you have an overnight train or something similar.
If you do not say what you will be doing, the person you talk to will only know that you will not sleep tonight, but they will not be privy to exactly what you will be working (or not work!) on.
5. I am going to pull an all-nighter.
An all-nighter is slang for staying up all night. This is common language in a college setting, because college students live close to each other and many college campuses have places that are open 24 hours a day.
To “pull an all-nighter” means that you will not sleep, and generally implies that you will be studying. However, you could be doing anything during the night, if you do not specify.
6. Don’t wait up for me.
This is usually said to someone who lives with you. It can be a significant other (most of the time), but can apply to other family members or roommates. If they are people who usually wait for you to come home, either for dinner or just to see you, then you can tell them not to wait up.
This means that they should feel free to go to sleep, even if you have not yet come home. While this does not always mean that you will be staying up all night working or studying, it does mean that you will be busy and come home later than usual.
7. I will be studying/ working until dawn.
Dawn is the time when the sun comes up in the morning, but it can be used literally as well as figuratively. If you will be doing something until dawn, it goes without saying that you will not be home. More likely than not, you will be working on something that requires your immediate attention. This is implied if you say something like this.
8. I will stay at the office/ library all night.
If you want someone to know where you will be if you do not come home, you can tell them that you will study at the library or working at your office. This is usually a good thing to mention because those are typically very safe places. You will not have to worry about your safety if you stay in them.
In the case of an emergency, your friends and family will also know where to find you, so that can assuage their fears.
9. I have to prepare for a meeting (with a client, with my professor, with my boss, etc.) tomorrow.
Like some of the other sentences above, mentioning something specific is a good way to let someone know you will be working or studying all night. This is especially useful when you want to assure someone that you will only work late one time.
10. I’m burning the midnight oil.
This is an idiom that means you are working late! In the olden times, you would only be able to work after the sun went down if you burn oil in a lamp or lantern. The saying stuck, so burning the midnight oil means to work late into the night.
11. I’m working until the small hours or wee hours.
For this, you can either say small hours or wee hours. They refers to the times that the numbers are small. After midnight, when you have 1 or 4 am, those are the small numbers. Therefore, they are known as the small or wee hours. Typically you would add “of the morning” at the end, to make it “the wee hours of the morning”.
12. I’m working the graveyard shift.
The graveyard, or night shift, is the time for work that covers when most people are sleeping. This is necessary in some fields, such as security, medicine, or police work, that need people to be on duty at all hours of the day. The term comes from the fact that most graveyards need security people to guard over them. If people are buried with gold teeth fillings or jewelry, they could attract people who want to dig those up and sell them to make extra money. If you are working the graveyard shift, you are working during this time.