This morning when I started my computer the first thing to pop up was an error message. I hate bugs, but I particularly hate those that always manage to crawl into my computer. Instead of tackling the to-do list I wrote out last night I was not forced to run anti-virus, anti-malware and other similar programs to try and locate (and terminate) the stupid bug.
The first few minutes I did what little research I could do without the use of my computer. I then tackled the one chore I can do when the rest of the house is asleep and I sorted my laundry basket so that I would be ready to run the first load when it was closer to time for the rest of the house to get up. There was not much left to do, so I thought about working on my own articles while I watched the programs run (even though I KNOW that slows the process down and puts me even further behind).
Word booted up just as I had my light bulb moment. “I have a laptop.” Laugh if you must, but the laptop is used in the other room so that more than one person can be working if necessary. The laptop also travels with me when I am forced away from my desk for prolonged period of times. It never dawned on me to move my keyboard and set the laptop on my desk, but that’s exactly what I did. Now my scans can take all the time that they need.
Even if I had not had the light bulb moment, I would have figured out some way to get work done while I was getting work (the scans) done.
Tips for Working when the Computer is Down
1. Resort to the old fashioned way of writing. There was a time – not too long ago mind you – that most writers actually wrote on paper. The pad and pencil (or pen) is portable devices and you don’t even need a power source to use them (unless you count the coffee by which means most writers run).
2. Do the filing that you have been putting off for so long. I can’t be the only one that has a box of stored papers that need to be filed because I won’t take the time to actually file it.
3. Go through those notes you have been meaning to review. It may not be on your to-do list for the day, but it probably should be.
4. Skip the work for a moment and send a note or card to a friend or family member that you have been thinking about. At the moment the U.S. Mail is still running and most people are thrilled to get something other than junk mail in their boxes.
5. Brainstorm ideas for new articles. Try to get a list of 20 or 30 article ideas or maybe 10 outlines so that when the computer is back in service you can query magazines with the ideas.
6. Work on some queries. Leave the “to” information blank until you can get on the internet and find the right fit but come up with one or two brilliant queries that would knock the socks off any editor.
Down time does not have to be lost time if you get creative. Work on things that you have been putting off, make lists and brainstorm for the moment when you can get back to work or fall back to the old fashioned way of writing. Spend our time wisely even when you can’t spend it the way you prefer.