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Helping to Solve the All-Time Mystery: Is It Better to Shut Down Your Computer or Keep It on Sleep Mode?

Helping to Solve the All-Time Mystery: Is It Better to Shut Down Your Computer or Keep It on Sleep Mode?

Laptop and personal computer users want to know more about the potential dangers or benefits of leaving their systems running continuously. For decades, there’s been a valid and ongoing debate on whether to leave a laptop or computer on, or completely shut it down after using it. Both sides of this dialog have rational points to consider. Here’s some information to help you decide whether you will leave yours on, either in “sleep,” or “hibernate” mode, or turn the unit completely off after use.

Shutting Down a Laptop

Your personal needs will help you determine whether to shut down your laptop or computer, or leave it running throughout the day and night. Your decision should be based on how you use your laptop, your views on energy conservation, and whether you accept the assumption that powering up your unit frequently may damage the electronic circuits and other components.

Keep in mind, the likelihood of your laptop being infected with a virus picked up on the Internet is greater than damage to your unit by turning it off and on every day.

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Nonetheless, it is important to turn off your laptop or computer properly in order to avoid damage to the hard drive and corruption of your applications. Do not just unplug the unit or press the power button while it is still running. Use your laptop or computer on-screen menu to shut down the unit.

Microsoft recommends you may want to turn off your laptop or PC appropriately if you don’t plan to use it for a while. They suggest closing all applications; this will ensure your data is saved. They also advise turning off the laptop or personal computer will keep your unit safe and more secure. In addition, they suggest the next time you use it; your unit will start quickly.

Shutting your laptop off offers some additional benefits. Using your laptop less often can contribute to it lasting longer. Less stress, wear and tear on the electronic components and other hardware in your unit will increase its longevity. However, it’s important to keep it dust-free, clean, and maintained properly.

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Turning off your computer or laptop can help lower energy costs to some degree. The amount of wattage the unit draws varies greatly depending on whether it is a laptop or a desktop personal computer. The PC uses more energy because they require a monitor that uses up a lot of power. Additionally desktop power supplies are less resourceful.

The type of work being done on your unit determines how much power it uses. Complex calculations require intensive processing and use up more electricity. On the other hand, browsing the Internet or writing consumes a lesser amount of electricity.

Leaving a Laptop or Computer on

Scientific American reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) verifies placing a desktop PC in “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity can result in a yearly energy savings of $15 to $45 per computer. The EPA actually breaks down sleep mode into two categories: “system standby” and “hibernate.” System standby wakes up faster, that is, five to 10 seconds compared with 20 or more seconds it takes when in a hibernate mode.

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For most people, shutting down their laptop or computer is inconvenient. They don’t like to wait around for the unit to boot up, and it’s always ready to go. In addition, leaving the laptop on allows it to perform necessary routine maintenance while your away, like backups, system maintenance, and software updates.

On the other hand, turning the laptop or computer off cuts down on the fan noise and other unexpected alarms and sounds they’re known for making.

It all comes down to your personal preference and the time you spend on the laptop. For example, if you step away from it to attend a meeting, go to lunch, or any other activity that won’t take up much time, placing the unit in “sleep” or “hibernate” mode may fit your purpose.

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In addition, if you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind the anticipation it may create waiting for the unit to boot up, or want to cut down on energy costs, or have environmental concerns about using electricity when not needed, you may want to shut down your laptop until you’re ready to use it again.

Another reality to consider is the fact that electronic components fail based on how many hours they are used. We never really know when our laptop or personal computer will fail. For this reason, it’s critical to perform regular backups of your data, pictures, documents, and anything you consider valuable.

Featured photo credit: Laptop-Couch-001-Smile/Bryce Johnson via flickr.com

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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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