As we end July and begin August this week, I hope that you’ve taken some time this summer to recharge you batteries, both literally and figuratively. For many of us in Higher Education, the summer months bring more opportunities to slow down, reflect, and prepare for the coming academic year. While on vacation, it dawned on me that keeping ourselves and our (growing number of) mobile devices charged are one in the same. Here’s what I mean:
1. Don’t Let Your Battery Get To Zero: Often times during the busyness of the year, we may push ourselves until we have nothing left to give. A decline in health, loss of focus, and diminishing positive attitude may incur at this level which makes us good to no one. Couple that with the longer period of time it takes to recharge and we have caused a ripple effect that could take us more time than necessary to recover from. Like the batteries on our mobile devices, keep a charge of 30%-70% as often as possible. Once you’ve charged all the way to 100%, unplug your device and get off the couch This will allow for a quicker future battery recharges and a better chance at extended longevity on our productivity, health, and well being.
2. Understand How Many Apps/Programs You Are Running At the Same Time: For many of us, juggling many things concurrently is a common task we willingly accept. When making this choice, it is important to know exactly how many things you are doing and how much of our memory and attention it is taking. Like our mobile devices, the more things you have running, the slower (and less effective) you may be. Take stock in all the things you have going on and ask yourself what is really most important enough to keep doing and what things can you shut down/give up to improve your overall speed. On an Android device, using the “SystemPanel” app helps keep apps in check. On an iOS device, double tapping the “home” button will bring up all the running apps and “long pressing” one of them will allow you to shut down what you don’t need running any longer. Running “Task Manager” on a PC or pressing CMD-OPTION-ESC on a Mac will help you shut down unwanted programs. Doing this successfully helps sustain precious battery life.
3. Keep Your Software Updated: I assumed this would go without saying, but ironically, I have seen more and more family, friends and colleagues not keep their mobile device software updated, especially when it can automatically happen for you. With the growing changes in mobile operating systems as well as the parts used to make your device, upgrading software is no longer an option, but a necessity. Same thing goes for you When was the last time you learned a new skill or update your current ones? Whether it be reading a book, digesting a few articles, or even sharing your own knowledge with others, keep your own software updated and you manage your own battery power better to do the things you’re asked to do every day.
4. Take Away The Clutter: Do you really use/need/want ALL the apps, emails, docs, pictures, videos, music, etc. on your respective mobile devices? Imagine the amount of space you could free up if you just had what you used daily/weekly on your device. We have become “Digital Hoarders” and need to shift away from this, not only to save ourselves space, but to help run our respective devices more efficiently. To start, uninstall any app you haven’t used in the last month (don’t worry, you can always add it again when you need it! ) Doing this from the web version of Google Play or iTunes to makes this process easier! Once you do that, move any locally stored emails, docs, pictures and videos to the cloud (e.g. DropBox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc.) and only keep what you use most frequently on your device. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you and your device run after doing this. After doing this digitally, how can you do this in your office space, home, vehicle, etc. to help you run smoother?
5. Shut It Down (Daily): I know, this is easier said than done. We have all grown accustomed to being accessible more than ever before in our human history. That being said, we can’t positively affect work/life balance, unless we are willing to develop better habits. My mobile phone shuts down automatically at 11pm EST and restarts at 5am EST. I still haven’t done this with my iPad or MacBook yet, but I will eventually This has helped my Android battery last longer and allowed me to sleep more soundly and not being woken to a notification light, buzz, or phone call.
These are just some of the ways I plan to help keep my many batteries charged this year. My hope is that it will keep me consistently charged to do the things I need to get done while allowing all my technology to support my attempts at efficiency.
What are your tips to keeping your “batteries” charged throughout the year?