When You're Forced to Unplug: 3 Lessons I Learned from Leaving My Charger

When You're Forced to Unplug: 3 Lessons I Learned from Leaving My Charger

After a 30-minute bus ride to campus, I took the long trek to the library. I bought a cup of coffee, sat down and pulled out my laptop only to realize that I left my charger at home.

My battery read 28%. Now normally on a new computer that much battery would mean a good hour or two at least; but I don't have a new computer. Realistically I could expect 30 minutes. Like a knight without his sheath, an archer without a quiver of arrows, I felt helpless.

My to-do list was already out of control and I had anticipated staying at the library for at least three hours. Taking the long trek back to house was not an option so I had to buckle and prioritize what I really needed to get done. After a quick planning/panic session, I outlined what I needed to get done. I responded to a few emails, wrote some text, and my battery died just as I was about to start editing a homework assignment. Afterward I switched to reading a book for class and left the library an hour later.

The whole experience taught me a few valuable lessons:

  1. Leave your computer unplugged while your working. Think of it like a timer. Once the battery is almost dead, close it, let it charge, and move on to reading, editing or taking notes. Chances are you have something you could be doing that doesn't require you to use your computer.

  2. Alternate between analog and digital tasks. If you have 10 emails to send off, send five, read twenty pages, then send five more. Segmenting your tasks helps to break monotony and tasking your eyes off the computer screen helps to prevent fatigue.

  3. Shut off your computer. I'm notorious for leaving my computer on for weeks at a time. I usually leave it in standby when I go to bed. Last night I shut it down and it made a world of difference. I was forced to save or complete all of open word documents, website tabs, and other apps. For those people that get a kick out of checking tasks off as completed, you'll feel much more accomplished when you turn off the computer as opposed to putting it to sleep.

At the end of the day, everything worked out. I went into my office and my co-worker let me use his laptop charger. The constraints of not having access to my laptop for the full day forced me to be more conscious of the way I used my time and kept me on task. I even finished a library book I havent touched in the last three weeks. Hopefully this productivity will continue for the rest of the semester.

How do you hold yourself accountable to stay on task?

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