The 5% battery test for a great life

We all need a big flashing sign that screams, “HEY IDIOT! YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE!”

Our phones are no longer an accessory. They have crept into our lives and replaced music players, calendars, appointment books, gaming consoles and if all goes well, our vehicles. (Okay, the last one may not really happen. But one can always be hopeful.)

The one thing that these ‘smart’ phones are astonishingly dumb at figuring out is their battery life. When a phone is supposed to do the job of 10 gadgets at once why do they come with batteries that look like they come from those ancient ‘dumb’ phones? Question for some other time.

You know, I was inconvenienced by these lithium ion imps a few days ago. I forgot to charge my phone before going to bed. Technically, I plugged it in. And didn’t press the button. The battery remained at a lowly 20% throughout the night. By the time I realized this I was already on the college bus. Imagine my surprise on seeing the Low Battery notification. Oh shit! I knew I had to make it work throughout the day. I had to squeeze every last electron out of the electrode highway.

This is where priorities changed. Music time on phone became Low Brightness mode. The actual Kindle came out of the backpack instead of the phone app. Wi-Fi toggle was rationed. Background apps were closed. Stuff that really mattered got the spotlight. The phone became a phone again. The level dropped to 5% during the afternoon. I managed to keep it alive till I got home. That feeling in my heart when I plugged it in must be exactly what superheroes feel when they rescue people. Rewarding. Satisfying. This got me thinking. How could my phone work for a day on 20% juice when it uses up 30% every 2 hours? The answer was clear. Priorities changed. These tiddlers are capable of functioning against impossible odds. You just need to let the apps that are really important use the power.

Maybe that is what we need to do in our real lives. Everything is an app and we are the phones. We all need a 5% indicator. A big flashing sign that screams, “HEY IDIOT! YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE! YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF JUICE!” Bam. I would certainly snap out of any stupid show if I see a sign like that. Life would be so much easier. We always complain about busy schedules. We complain about not having enough time. Nobody has got time to do everything they want. Some of us are at 70%. Some are at 55% . A few unfortunate ones are below 20% Yes that sucks. You have lost 80% power. But never forget that you have 20% left. Use it. Make it last. Do what’s important. Do what’s necessary. Avoid the Candy Crush Sagas in your life that suck away your battery. Micromanage. Make it to the charger at the end of day. You can enjoy TV in your free time. When you are recharging. Read magazines at your office and get fired. Get discharged. Read them in the evening at the charger and live to see another day. Nothing is impossible if you have a powerful Battery Saver. If you can manage to stay free of the distracting ‘background apps’ in your life, you WILL make it through.

The dreaded 5% will no longer be a nightmare. It will be a lifesaver. What do you think?

Originally published at on December 31, 2015.