Some of you might know that my laptop has gone AWOL for almost two months. I’ve been sending it off to the workshop for repairs three different times, only to bring it back with the same recurring and very annoying problem of having it hang on me while doing the most urgent of tasks.
But there is a silver lining behind all this; and for me it’s about making sure that I remain as nimble and flexible as I can when it comes to work.
I’ve compiled a few tips for those who might be facing this sort of situation that will stand you in good stead (though I’d never wish for it to happen to anyone!). These are just a few things that managed to keep me sane and organized, and I have to say that having this workflow has allowed me to regain some semblance of sanity while my workflow and schedule was shred to bits.
Have your most important files within easy reach
I use Dropbox’s free service for putting my most recent files up in the cloud. Anything that I’m working on gets filed up there so I can retrieve it on my phone, laptop or anywhere else that has an internet connection. I’ve tried other services too, like SugarSync, but I’ve always gone back to DropBox (just test out the both of them and see which one you like better!)
Use a web-based email service
I’m using Gmail as a catch-all email since I am no longer have confidence of accessing my email via the Mail software on my laptop. I’ve gone through three re-formats and a hardware change and having these things happen to you throws a wrench in your workflow. So I make sure all my correspondences are now easily accessible, no matter where I am. I’m planning to implement Google Apps pretty soon once I iron out some kinks.
Ever since the scary laptop incident, I’ve moved a lot of my working office documents over to Google Documents – spreadsheets, articles, documents – I now edit them all at one spot, so I won’t have to worry about having different versions of files around (crucial and often overlooked when moving files about). Once a document is finalized, I download it so that it can be archived.
Back up your data
I back up religiously after I had my hard disk fail on me a few years back. Back then, the last backup I made was 6 months ago – before the hard drive decided to take a nap and never wake up – and I found myself high and dry (and very upset at allowing it to go as long as it did!) So now I use Time Machine, a software built into Mac that made incremental back-ups so that I had different versions of my files for safekeeping.
These are very simple tips for you to get started – not only when you’re having problems with your computer, but I’ve found that I’ve gravitated towards solutions that will allow me the most flexibility so that I’m more prepared if a nasty surprise ever springs up yet again!