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Sneaky Ways Your Battery is Getting Drained and How to Stop it.



I wrote previously about "range anxiety" with my Leaf, but today I want to talk about the battery. I have an electric Leaf named Fred which must be charged every day or two to ensure that I have enough juice to take me where I need to go. This usually involves plugging Fred in and giving him time to recharge. He's able to just sit there and get his energy back without having to take me places or accomplish anything for a few hours. Then, when his battery has more energy, he can resume his duties and fun activities.

I've noticed that certain things drain the battery faster than others. Let's say I'm feeling frustrated while driving behind a slow car. I really don't like my current pace. I want to get where I'm going faster. I don't want to just enjoy the ride, I want to get there. Period. Well, this is going to zap some of my battery if I go full throttle around the slow car and speed up to 70. I can literally watch the battery life going down point by point. Sometimes it might be worth it to put the pedal to the metal, but usually, I only get there a few minutes faster and I have less battery life left, which means it'll take longer to recharge.


What about if I drive on a rainy, cold day? What if Fred is forced to multitask? Sometimes he has to use his energy on windshield wipers, seat warmer, defroster, and steering wheel warmer. There's no way he can maintain the same pace as usual when he's trying to do all these things at once. The one time I almost hit rock bottom with my battery was on a cold, rainy day. The battery life dropped and dropped. My heart started beating in a panicked throb. I couldn't tear my eyes from the dashboard. I watched the numbers go from 19 to 17 to 15, then 12, then 8 (I'd never let it get below 12 before). I was about one mile from work when the screen went totally black on my dashboard. I'd pushed Fred to his limit. Luckily, the car coasted down the hill into my office and I plugged him in. It took much longer for him to recharge that day because I'd completely drained his battery.


Lately, I've been thinking about my own battery and how similar it is to Fred's. If I decided to push my own limits and go after something full throttle, this uses up my battery. Sometimes it's worth it, but there's always a cost. If I decided to get a book proposal out within 90 days, I would have to work on it constantly during all my free time. My family, my job, my house cleaning, my cooking, my Spanish, my exercise would all suffer if I gun the battery and go whole hog after this one thing. Likewise, if I push myself too far and try to do too many things at once (basically what I'm doing now), I run the risk of draining my battery. I am then forced to sit and recharge. The more I use up my battery, the longer it'll take to recharge.


I met with my Spanish tutor, Omar, this week. He's pushing me to learn all these weird verb tenses you'd use for hypothetical situations in Spanish. I found myself getting overwhelmed. I can't even talk fluently yet unless I have time to form simple sentences in my head first. Yoga teacher training is amazing, but I also need to devote time to learning the Sanskrit words, practicing the poses, and coming up with a way to put sequences together. This too takes time. What about writing? When do I do that? I do it before the kids get up or sometimes during lunch between patients, and I love it, but this isn't exactly boosting my battery life. I don't have an answer about what I need to do less of, but this is something I'm trying to discern. What is draining your battery? Are you trying to do too much? Do you need to slow down to a nice easy pace and stop trying to get somewhere super fast?

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