Advice for students: Homework-eating dogs, and how to avoid them

Advice for students: Homework-eating dogs, and how to avoid them

“And then, when I tried to print my essay, it disappeared!”

The technology of word-processing has made available a rich array of explanations, fictional and non-fictional, for students in difficulty with deadlines. Most teachers and professors have grown tired of these explanations, so that even a genuine one is likely to ring false. Truly, the computer has become the high-tech version of the dog that ate the homework. Here are four ways to avoid problems when you’re writing with a computer:


1. Plan ahead. If you’re working in a computer lab, make sure that you set aside enough time for computer use. If you’re using a computer and a printer of your own, have a spare printer cartridge and plenty of paper available.


2. If you do all your writing at the computer, print out a draft at frequent intervals. You can conserve paper and ink by choosing “fast” or “everyday” mode and by printing two pages per sheet of paper.

3. Save your work frequently, to a hard drive and a USB flash drive.


If you use Microsoft Word, click on Tools, Options, and Save, and set Auto Recover to save your work-in-progress every few minutes automatically. (If you use another word-processing program, look for the equivalent feature.) If you click on Tools and don’t see Options, expand the pull-down menu by clicking on the little arrow at the bottom. (You can change the menu permanently by going to Tools, Customize, Options, and clicking on “Always show full menus.”)

It’s still possible to run into problems when using Auto Recover, so hit Control-S every few minutes to save your work to your hard drive. Then copy the file to your USB gadget.


An additional tip: save your word-processed work in rich text format, so that it’s available to virtually any word-processing program.

4. Save your work online, by sending your draft to your e-mail address as an attachment. It’s also smart to make a secure space online where you can store all your academic work for easy access. Michael Arrington’s analysis in “The Online Storage Gang” can get you started.


And now, even in a worst-case scenario — your computer stolen, your USB gadget lost, your drafts eaten by a dog! — you can still get to your work.

Michael Leddy teaches college English and has published widely as a poet and critic. He blogs at Orange Crate Art.

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder of Lifehack

Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas 10 Ways to Extend Laptop Battery Life Bob Parsons on His 16 Rules for Survival Free note taking templates and techniques Fifty Essential Topics on Economics

Trending in Lifehack

1 Lifehack Reviews: 50 Best Life Hacks for Your Life 2 Best Life Hack Sites – 100 Most Useful Websites on The Internet 3 80 How-To Sites Worth Bookmarking 4 20 Unusual Uses for Coca-Cola That You’ve Never Considered 5 A Review of the Book “The Art of Learning”

Read Next


Last Updated on July 12, 2021

Lifehack Reviews: 50 Best Life Hacks for Your Life

Lifehack Reviews: 50 Best Life Hacks for Your Life

Do you want to be as productive as many of us, but missed a lot of actions at during the year? We’ve selected the best 50 life hacks, based on their popularity and contents in different categories. Invest your time – read them. Bookmark this page and mark reading them as one of your new year resolutions.

Communication, Writing, Studying

  1. My Best Presentation Tricks
  2. The Business Card Game
  3. Persuasive Writing for Students, Webmasters, Bloggers, and Everyone Else
  4. 7 tips of handling your Emails without feeling overwhelmed
  5. Writing as a Form of Self Healing
  6. Advice for students: Writing by hand
  7. Yes, But Do People Like You?
  8. Writing – Just do it!
  9. A good place to study
  10. Blog your way through Writer’s Block
  11. 14 Tips for Communicating Ideas

Productivity, Creativity, Motivation

  1. 9 Top Secrets of Naturally Born Organizers
  2. Fight The Flab!
  3. More Fight The Flab!
  4. Limit Creativity, Get Innovation
  5. Precious Moments
  6. 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity in the Office
  7. A Geek’s Best Lifehack
  8. What Kind of Paranoid Are You?
  9. Being A Creative
  10. There’s No Time!
  11. The Mysteries Behind Motivation and How To Manipulate Them
  12. Time Management: Handling Disruptions in Daily Schedules
  13. Productivity Hack: Write Mini Process Flows
  14. Design an Online Workflow

Management, Self-Management, Entrepreneurship

  1. Bare Bones Project Hacks
  2. The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers
  3. The Simplest Path to Success
  4. Letting Things Go
  5. Closet Entrepreneur
  6. Time To Discard The Portmanteau
  7. 5 Important Keys to Bootstrap Your Entrepreneurship
  8. The Most Underutilized Tool for Effective Communication
  9. Everyday Performance Reviews
  10. Meetings, @&!!$*@ Meetings!
  11. What Are You Worried About?
  12. How to Ruin Your Career In Five Easy Steps

Procrastination, Goal Settings, Life

  1. 9 Steps to Define your Goal Destination and Devise a Plan to Get There
  2. Pro-Active Steps to Prevent Procrastination
  3. Improve Your Life By Following A Schedule
  4. The Causes of Procrastination And How To Conquer Them
  5. How To Make Resolutions You’ll Keep
  6. Literal Life Hack: Cut your window of time in half
  7. New Year’s Resolutions and Deficit Thinking
  8. 6 Sleep Tips
  9. Risks versus Rewards Worksheet
  10. 5 Tips for Getting Out of Debt (and Why)
  11. Deep Breathing: A Great Health Trick
  12. 8 Expenses to Cut and How
  13. Desk-side Fitness

Are there any lifehacks that you’ve learned over the past year?


Featured photo credit: Rainier Ridao via



Read Next