Dos and don’ts for a yearbook lock-in

Written by Madisson Stanley

As final deadlines are hitting for many yearbook staffs, it might be the right time for your staff to consider an all-night work night.

Our yearbook staff at Oak Park High School decided to host a lock-in at the end of the year in 2012 to finish the book and celebrate all our hard work. We all had really high expectations for this event and were excited to send off our last pages and play games.

We started off the night strong, slowly sending off pages and working through a few problems. Some laughs were shared over dinner, and we played an exhilarating game of hide-and-go-seek. Our editor sent out a text for everyone to get back to the lab to continue work, so we all went back to our places and began again.

We ended up working from midnight all the way to eight that next morning for our last day of school. We didn’t finish the book and all of us hated each other by the end of this ordeal.

We scheduled another one in March 2013 before our first big plant deadline. My staff was understandably apprehensive about another lock-in, but I made a list of everything I thought went wrong the previous year and did my best to make it all right this time around.

Our night couldn’t have been more successful. All of us left a closer staff and we met our deadline.

Now that I’ve experienced the best and the worst of lock-ins, I have crafted a list of Dos and Don’ts of an All-Nighter.

Tackling productivity

  • Do make a list beforehand, including what each person has done, what they need from other people, and their pages or assignments that haven’t been started yet for this deadline.
  • Do have everyone on staff read pages to make sure all mistakes are caught and be positive on all spelling of names. Try to keep a tally of how many times each person is in the book to help with coverage.
  • Do set aside time for teamwork, such as doing interviews, helping with design mistakes and editing.
  • Do set a goal of pages to finish by the morning, and be realistic about this number because you don’t want anyone overwhelmed.

Using time wisely

  • Do not work your staff all night. Schedule breaks for dinner, then play games after you’ve all done too much in front of the computer; then work, more games, one last stretch of productivity, then leave the room to allow some to doze off. Be sure to agree to a schedule with your adviser beforehand to make the night run smoothly.
  • Do not just suggest people bring food. Make a list of different snacks and have people sign up.
  • Do not only focus on the issues. Be sure to praise and encourage throughout the night. Even if things go wrong, you want people to keep working and know that you will finish strong.
  • Do not use walkie-talkies, make playlists, act like an editor who you wouldn’t want to work for, or think negatively even if you’re behind.
  • Most importantly, do enjoy your first all-nighter as a staff. Even if you don’t leave the J-room with your goal complete, know that you did this right and your staff will have that bond the rest of the year.
Madisson Stanley