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6 Ways to Prolong Laptop Battery Life

6 Ways to Prolong Laptop Battery Life

For all that batteries do to power the devices we use every day that make our lives easier, most people don’t know a lot about the technology. Laptop batteries in particular are annoying and expensive to replace: here are 6 ways you can prolong the life of your laptop battery.

1. Don’t let your laptop overheat

If you can feel the heat from your laptop on your skin as you lie on the couch, you have a bit of a problem. That’s especially true if your computer is shutting down unexpectedly, as noted by PCWorld. It’s a little trickier to cool down a laptop than a desktop computer, but it is doable. You’ll need either a laptop cooler or a small PC vacuum that sucks up the dirt in the vents.

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2. Don’t remove or insert the laptop battery while the laptop is running

This is a pretty obvious one, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Among other suggestions, PCWorld recommends, among other suggestions, that users should always shut down your computer completely before removing the laptop battery, or you risk some serious damage.

3. Use the 80/20 method

Your results will vary, but the well-known 80/20 method will assist you in prolonging the life of your laptop battery. If you’re not familiar with it, the main principle is that a laptop battery should never (or at least seldom) go below 20% or rise above 80%. It’s not easy to stick to that rule all the time, but if you’re able to then your battery will probably last a little longer because of it.

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4. Don’t leave your computer fully charged

Even if you don’t use the 80/20 method all the time (and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t) do your best to not leave your laptop battery 100% of the way charged. Try to stay in that ideal 20% to 80% range (or better yet, 40% to 60%) when you’re away from your computer. That typically means not leaving your your computer plugged in overnight or for any extended period for the sake of your battery health. There’s a good chance you’ll occasionally forget to unplug, though. You can avoid having to remember by using a product like the Belkin Conserve Socket that prohibits your computer from fully charging. One could argue, though, that the money spent on a Conserve Socket would be better spent on a replacement battery…

5. Never let your laptop battery run out

This is one of the worst things for both your laptop battery and for your computer itself. As frustrating as it is when your computer goes to sleep before you can reach a charger, the harm of letting that happen is even more severe than you first realize. To avoid damaging the hardware (including the battery) be very wary of letting your laptop battery reach zero percent.

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6. Do not use Google Chrome

This very enlightening Forbes article reveals that the Google Chrome web browser may be reducing the life of your laptop battery if you’re using a Windows computer. As the browser stays open it eats up more and more energy, causing your computer to shut down sooner and your laptop battery to wear down faster. This is unfortunate news, especially since Chrome is considered by many to be the most powerful and effective browser. If you’re really, really concerned with replacing your laptop battery, you can switch to Firefox. But, like many of the other steps on this list, that might not be worth it for you. The convenience of using an arguably superior web browser and not having to keep a constant eye on your computer’s every function may triumph over the money you’ll save holding on to your laptop battery a little longer. Ultimately, though, that’s for you to decide.

Featured photo credit: digitaljp via flickr.com

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More by this author

Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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