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Tech Secrets to a Productive Summer

Whether you’re taking classes, working, going on vacation, or just chilling out this summer, your tech is likely to be an integral part of it all! Staying productive and active during the summer can be a challenge, so here are some tips for staying productive and focused and for keeping your tech in working order.

Dos and Don’ts to Stay Productive

It can be tempting to just sit back and have fun over the summer. After all, you’ve worked hard and have earned some downtime. But if your schedule is too light for too long, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. Moreover, you’ll kick yourself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to do some things you’ve put off or to help you stay on track.

DO Set Goals for Yourself

Remind yourself why you wanted to take a summer class, earn a LinkedIn Learning certificate, or start a particular project. Create a screen saver for your phone or laptop that will remind you of your goals, so you’ll see it every day. Schedule study or work time and set a reminder on your calendar or phone! You can use apps like Microsoft To-Do to make to-do lists that are accessible from any device.

DON’T Blow off Class

Summer class are just as important as any other. Be sure to study, do the readings, and take it seriously. Check out our blog on the tech resources that can help you get Set Up for Summer Session for all the tools and services you’ll need. If you’re pursuing an on-demand or asynchronous course, schedule class time in Outlook to be sure you dedicate the appropriate time and stay on track.

DO Take Breaks and Have Fun!

As important it is to take summer projects seriously, it’s just as important to remember that your happiness and work-life balance is important, too! It can be especially stressful to be working when everyone else seems to be having fun. So be sure to have some fun! Sit outside with friends, treat yourself to a coffee, or go for a walk to clear your head and get some Vitamin D!

Take Care of Your Tech

Once you have a plan in place to remain productive, remember to keep your laptop, phone, and/or tablet productive too! Humid weather, wet pools, and sandy beaches can pose a real threat to your most prized device. Know the dangers of overheating or water damage, what to do if something happens, and how to prevent damage in the first place.


Laptop overheating can cause real, long-term damage to your device if you’re not careful. Overheating can lead to failed hardware components, including video cards, motherboards, memory modules, hard drives, and more. In addition, it can cause serious burns to your skin and be a fire hazard.

Signs of laptop overheating:

  • The fan is loud and constantly running.
  • It is running slow or struggling to complete basic tasks, such as opening a new window.
  • The system freezes or shows a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)
  • The device suddenly shuts down on its own
  • The bottom of your laptop is hot to the touch

What to do next:

When you notice your laptop overheating, it’s important to act fast to prevent long-term damage or injury to yourself. Power your laptop down right away and take a break from using it. If you’re using it outside in the sun, take it to a cool, dry location until it’s cooled down completely. Wait ten more minutes after it’s cooled down before trying to use it again.

Stop it before it happens:

Be sure to set your laptop on a flat, hard surface to avoid blocking the fan. Things like a cushion, blanket, or even your lap can block the fan and cause the laptop to quickly overheat. Keep your device out of direct sunlight by keeping it in a bag/case with UV blocking and using it in a nice shady spot. Soaking in the sun and working on your laptop should be mutually exclusive activities!

Water Damage

Tech devices are electronic equipment, and water and electronics do not mix! Nothing can cause your stomach to sink like getting water on your laptop. Spilling a cool drink, dropping it in a pool, or getting splashed by nearby water activities – it’s too easy to sustain water damage in the summer.

Signs of water damage:

  • You can see water leaking from your device (duh!)
  • The keyboard malfunctions/keys stick
  • The speakers are muffled and/or distorted
  • The touchpad malfunctions and/or stops working
  • The screen is blurry or distorted
  • The system freezes or shows a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)

What to do next:

Water damages electrical components very quickly, so stay calm and act fast. If your device is turned on, power it down immediately. Whether or not it’s running, unplug the device as soon as possible and remove the battery if you can. Then, gently wipe dry the entire exterior of the laptop, including the screen, keyboard, touchpad, speakers, as wet external parts can damage internal parts!

It’s important to leave your laptop to dry for at least 24 hours after attempting to power it back on. Using a hair dryer is not recommended because the hot air can damage the inner workings, but a fan that blows room-temperature air can help to speed up the drying process. Putting your laptop in rice or silica beads does not help the way it does for phones. In fact, it could make the situation worse, as the small grains of rice or silica beads can get inside your laptop and cause additional damage.

Stop it before it happens:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep electronics far from any body of water or wet activity. Keep laptops in a waterproof bag and put phones in a waterproof pouch. If you’re around rowdy people or on an uneven surface, make sure drinks are a sealed bottle.

Tech Fun in the Sun

Whether you’re taking a class or working on campus, going home for the summer, or traveling, keep your tech safe and your mind sharp. If you need help, the Technology Help Desk doesn’t take a vacation! If you’re on campus, the Student Computing Labs and Drop-In Support locations remain open during the summer, though hours may vary from fall and spring term hours. Now go out there and enjoy the summer!

-- By Claudia Huggins, Pitt IT Student Blogger