Don’t think this is the first time this has happened to me, oh no, I am becoming a bit of a pro with regards to technological disasters, this is not the first, second or even third time this has happened to me, but what it has done is made me work smarter and be more prepared.
Before this happens to you, make sure you are well prepared by using these 5 top tips to ensure your workflow is interrupted as little as possible.
1. Store your ongoing work in the cloud or use a facility like Dropbox
Getting used to placing your work in the Cloud or using Dropbox so that all your ongoing work can be accessed from anywhere and on any computer meant that within half an hour of replacing the computer and turning on the new one, I was able to log on to Dropbox and access all my work in progress files. This was not possible for me years ago, when I was travelling and working in Spain and dropped my laptop on the tiled floor of an internet cafe, whilst booting up. With a deadline looming, and the shock absorber facility not working in boot up mode, I lost a whole week’s work, plus another 4 days in repairs etc, travelling to an Apple Store and though I had all my completed work backed up I hadn’t paid enough attention to my current work in progress on the computer.
2. Back off any finished work and archive off the computer.
It goes without saying to make sure that all completed work should be backed up and it helps if it kept away from the computer, in case of loss or theft of your computer bag. This ensures that even with the unlikelihood of fire etc you are still going to be able to restore your office in a very short time.
3. Have details of email accounts and all other software off the computer on a mobile device on Evernote.
To enable quick restoration of communication with your clients and the world around you one of the most important issues, will be to get your email account restored on your computer so you can email work and receive files to your working computer. Having this information stored on Evernote or something similar means you can easily access it from your mobile device and you can be back communicating without any disruption.
4. Use your tablet or smartphone to keep the email flow going while you restore functionality with a new desktop or repaired computer.
This has been an invaluable asset to me in making sure that I have to hand the information that I have so meticulously prepared for. It goes without saying that had smartphones and tablets been around whilst I was travelling and working at the same time in 2006 when I dropped my laptop on a tiled floor, annihilating my hard drive at the time, I would not have sat sobbing for 10 minutes wondering how I was going to pull my life back together!
5. If you are using a Mac make full use of Time Machine and invaluable way to ensure restoring you back to where you were.
The last hard drive that died 4 years ago, did so at another inopportune moment, with another deadline looming. Fortunately though, I had not long started to use Time Machine (another great invention from Apple) and had only lost half a days work as opposed to possibly weeks or months. My repaired Mac will come back looking exactly as the old drive, by using Restore in Airport and Time Capsule ensuring that all the insignificant files that don’t belong to a client or to financials don’t get lost either.
In this age of improved technology there is no need to lose anything, you just need to make sure that you have actioned as many precautions as you can. Making sure that if and in my case, when these situations happen you too can walk in to the nearest Apple Store smiling because your computer has just died! I was asked why I appeared so cheery and when I think of all those previous hard drive failures or breakages where I wasn’t fully in control thus making my life a misery, I thank the advance of technology and software in keeping life, so much smoother!
Oh and one last comment, although I have had more than 4 drives die on me, this is not (always) due to stupidity or neglect, I have been using Macs (in particular) for many years and inevitably I work these computers really hard. They have to be robust as they travel everywhere with me and they are true workhorses that have earned my respect and when they ‘let go’ they have probably worked 3 times as hard as any other computer. So they either need to be surgically removed from me or have hard drive failure to be released from their workload!