How to…

Be More Productive on the Internet

You’re busy, I know, but at some point or another you’ll end up having to use the world wide web to complete one of your tasks. The internet is an enormous database covering just about everything you’d ever want or need to know. It can, however, become confusing as to how to use this technology as it is always evolving. I’m here to help with that. As a student, I use the internet on a daily basis, and it’s considered essential for my education, and I’m not talking Facebook or Pinterest. I’m talking about the endless databases, techniques, papers, assignments, bills, etc. that come with my education on the internet. So I’ll share some of my best tips and tricks to navigate the internet.

Grammarly is by far my favorite tool ever. I use it almost every day for just about any typing I do on my computer whether it be writing an email or paper. How it works is Grammarly proofreads for you (not to say that you should stop proofreading) and it is very accurate. It can fix up to 250 types of errors for free and provides plenty of other helpful features to make your writing that much better. Some examples of what features Grammarly offers are contextual spelling checker, grammar checker, punctuation checker, sentence structures checker and helpful hints as to how to enhance your writing. There’s also an option to check for genre-specific writing styles, etc.

Google Docs is a great tool for collaboration on projects in your hall. However, people seem to find using the feature itself slightly confusing. I’m here to give you some simple tricks to using it.

  •  If your hall has a Gmail account, you’re half way there! Log into your Gmail account, on the upper right corner of your Gmail page you’ll see a square made of smaller squares, those are your apps, click on it, scroll down and click on the docs icon,
  • Doing so will bring you a page that shows you a bunch of your previous documents as well as options to create a new document.
  • The next steps will work with new or existing documents, let’s say you want to start a new document click on the blank document option.
  • In the top right corner, there’s a share button if you click on that it will bring up a bubble that allows you to add people from your Gmail contacts or just by email.
  • Next, to that, there is a pencil icon beside that bar that lets you choose what those people you’re adding to your document can do with the shared document. You can either give them the option to edit, comment, or just view.
  • The people who you share the document with will receive an email which, will allow them to gain access to your google doc.

Google Docs is a great resource if you’re working on a group project for your halls because it allows everyone to give input and change the document in real time. I use this tool all the time at UPEI, and it’s just the best way to get group work done!

The Pomodoro Technique is a technique that can be applied to just about anything including technology. It is a time management technique designed to make sure you’re optimally productive by setting a timer to 25 minute intervals separated by short breaks. There are 6 steps to this method:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
  4. After the timer rings put a check mark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four check marks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
  6. After four Pomodoro, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your check mark count to zero, then proceed to step 1.

I use this technique quite frequently, especially if I’m feeling like procrastinating is the best solution, which, by the way, is never the answer.


Be More Energy Efficient

Energy is something that we depend heavily on in this day and age, and we seem to spend a lot of money on it. With that, I bring you energy saving tips.

  1. During the summer months use fans and keep doors, windows, and shades closed to reduce any unwanted heat from coming into your space. Do this during the day.
  2. In the winter months open blinds and drapes to allow the sun to heat your space. At night close your curtains and blinds to try and keep some of the heat inside.
  3. Use a ceiling fan instead of a thermostat to lower the temperature if available.
  4. If you do use your thermostat, adjust the temperature in small degrees, do avoid cranking it, it causes your thermostat to use more energy, therefore, using more energy.
  5. Invest in a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature to your schedule, so you don’t forget to set the temperature during the day.
  6. When cooking food try to use the microwave when possible instead of the stove as you’ll use two-thirds less energy.
  7. When baking, don’t open the oven door. Each time it’s opened the oven’s temperature drops about 13.8ºC and will require additional energy to bring it up to the desired temperature.
  8. Turn off your oven 10-15 minutes before the cooking time runs out, you’ll still be cooking your food at the appropriate temperature, but you won’t be using the extra electricity.
  9. Don’t run your bathroom and kitchen ventilation longer than necessary as the ventilation replaces the inside air with air from outside.
  10. Turn off lights when they are not in use. This is a pretty obvious one, but it will save you 15% on your utility bill.
  11. Clean/replace all of your air filters once a month as dry filters make your system work harder.
  12. Seal cracks, gaps, leaks, and add insulation to save up to 20% on heating and cooling. One way to know if you have a draft is to check for spider webs. If there are spider webs, there’s a draft.
  13. Use compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs as they are 75% more efficient than the other standard light bulbs.
  14. Keep your furnace clean.
  15. Whenever using cleaning appliances i.e. dishwasher or a washing-machine make sure you’re doing a full load, it uses less energy and doesn’t waste water.
  16. When using many electronics use a power strip and turn it off when it’s not in use.
  17. Make sure your refrigerator seals are airtight, if they are not, replace them.
  18. Have your heating system serviced every year.