Last Friday, I woke up prepared to finish the weekly newsletter, write an article for a blog I contribute to and then hang out with my kids. Unfortunately, when my computer wouldn’t boot up, my plans went out the window.
For the most part, working at home goes without a hitch. Problems, when they happen, are usually small. But not having a computer when my livelihood is made online…that’s a problem. Fortunately, I was somewhat prepared.
Whether you work online full time or use the computer only occasionally, a broken computer can make life difficult. Here’s how you can prevent disaster when working at home.
1) Keep your computer clean. That does include dusting, but mostly it means having really good virus protection. I recently wrote an article at About.com after the Heartbleed scare on how to keep your computer and website safe from hackers and viruses.
2) Backup your computer regularly… like daily. Most current computers allow for automatic backups. Ideally you should backup to an external drive or online storage to make accessing the data easy. My backups went to an external drive that recently stopped working and to a partitioned drive on my computer. Since I couldn’t be sure there was a recent back up, I have to pay extra to the repair guy to try and get the data for me.
3) Have a backup system. There are seven computers in my home. My kids bought their own when they got a job, one is the “family PC”, one is my work PC and I have 3 old laptops. I was lucky in that I’d recently taken a trip and updated two laptops to take with me so I could work. Right now, one of these laptops is the one that is allowing me to do this post and find your work-at-home jobs. It’s slow, but it works, making it better than nothing. I’m able to plug in my keyboard and mouse, so for the most part, I can work as I normally do. If you don’t have a backup system, learn where you can access a computer, such as at your library or maybe you have a friend who has an old computer lying around that you can borrow. When you buy a new computer, keep the old one on hand…just in case.
4) Use web-based tools and programs. One thing that has really helped me is that many of my tools and systems are web-based. As long as I have Internet access, I can post to my blogs, check my email and view my calendar. Using cloud storage for documents, such as Drop Box, gives me access to documents documents I was working on.
The best way to survive a disaster is to be prepared for it. If you keep your computer clean and backup all your information, then when the unthinkable happens, you’ll be able to deal with it. Instead of being a disaster, a computer failure will be only a hassle.
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