Keep On Writing: Maximize Your Battery Life

Another post for the run-up to #NY15SCBWI

When I’m at a full-day writing event like the SCBWI Midwinter Conference, I want to be able to take notes on my computer, but I don’t want to carry a charger. Here are the things I do to get every last minute of battery life.

Some of these will require accessing your laptop settings. On my computer I press [Fn], along with one of the function keys that run along the top of the keyboard. Your computer probably works differently. To get specific instructions, google your computer’s brand and model number, along with a description of what you want to do (for example, “Asus EEE1001 screen brightness”).

Never touched your computer settings before? Be brave. Just be sure that you’re clear about how to reverse the process.

  • Turn down the brightness
    Don’t go blind, go dim (or at least, dimmer). You’d be surprised how much this can help. Look for two keys, one with a big sun icon (brighter) and another with a little sun (dimmer), so that you can change it whenever you need to.
  • Change your power settings to maximize savings
    The default setting on most laptop tries to balance power savings and performance. If you want to maximize your battery life, go for a setting that’s called something like “Power Saver.” I do this by double-clicking on the battery icon on my tool bar.
  • Stop streaming
    No music, no videos. Wacthing comsumes power; so do open browsers.
  • No Itunes, Amazon Music or Windows Media Player
    I’m always amazed at what a power-hog Itunes is.
  • Close all apps, windows, etc.
    Run lean: just open what you need to take notes. (I use Evernote, in case you’re interested. The most awesome friend a writer ever had, possibly including their agent and editor, depending on who your agent/editor is. Seriously, check it out, or check back here; I’ll be covering what it is and why you want it in the coming weeks.
  • Turn off wireless networking and Bluetooth
    This is a major power drain. Turning it off will save you a bundle (and keep you focused on the presentation). On my computer, this function looks like a radio tower broadcasting. There are other ways to do this, but keep it simple–and whatever you use, be sure that you remember, so that can reverse it.

This is not going to give you another four hours if your battery normally only lasts two. But on my Asus Netbook, which currently has a battery life of about 6 hours, doing all of the above will give me the margin I need to get through an entire day without needing schlep my charger with me.

Have a great convention! I hope that I’ll see you there.

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