A Freelancer’s Worst Nightmare: Computer Crash Before A Deadline

No matter how much planning a freelancer does to meet deadlines, there are times when things spiral out of control. Maybe you fell ill or had a request for a rush job you couldn’t refuse, or (God forbid) your computer crashes!

The last is what happened to me a few weeks ago. My computer didn’t crash but my laptop’s charger and battery died – at the same time. To say that I wasn’t expecting it would be an understatement. My laptop was less than a year old and still under warranty!

After staring like an idiot at my laptop hoping it will somehow, magically come back to life, I started to panic. It was after 5 on Friday and everyone knows the kind of customer service there is on the weekends. The ‘none at all’ kind.

With a big deadlines looming on Monday, I thought I was screwed. Even though I back up my files weekly, there was no way I could have planned for the death of my laptop battery and charger. In fact, I was in the middle of writing an article when my laptop went blank.

What’s a girl to do when her work’s trapped inside a dead laptop?

Grab a paper and pen

She grabs a paper and pen, that’s what.

With no laptop and no way to get my work out from the machine, I was completely clueless on how to proceed from there. Okay, not all that clueless because I took out a notebook and started scribbling furiously.

All the articles and blog posts due next week got outlined. The article I was working on got written by hand. It was a frustrating experience and presented a new problem. Half of that article was trapped in my laptop and the other half was on paper. Crap.

Use your smart phone

I was done with the outlines and articles in a couple of hour. After that I looked around and realized I could use my smart phone! Since my internet was still working, I connected my Nokia via wifi and opened up the Evernote app in my phone.

(Note: Always have apps installed in your phone even if you don’t use them.)

Before long I was opening up my saved up research and adding more notes to my outline.

I also checked email, updated my calendar and made lists. Lots and lots of lists. And then I came to a dead end. There wasn’t anything else I could do regarding work without my laptop any more.

Talk to Hound customer service

Since it was the weekend here, I figured I wouldn’t get any help from HP. But I still included them in my tweet about my battery & charger dying on Saturday.

Much to my surprise, they contacted me within a few minutes and asked for my contact details to forward to their customer service.

Sunday morning came and I still hadn’t heard from their customer service (not that I was expecting to) so I DM’d HP again and asked them when I could expect an email from them as I really needed to meet my deadlines and had work trapped inside my laptop.

Miracles of miracles, their customer service got back to me within the hour with all the info I needed.

Of course, I was lucky to get great customer service. You’re screwed if you don’t so choose your laptop wisely. To be honest, when I got my HP, customer service was the farthest thing from my mind. There was a major sale going on at one of the electronic retailers and I got was getting the specs I wanted at an unbelievable price so I just snatched it up.

My good luck that HP Middle East has awesome customer service.

Run like the wind

Once I had the info from their customer service rep, I raced to their office in my city and burst in with laptop in tow. Knowing my problem, they gave me a charger so that I could start work immediately and put in an order for the battery since they didn’t have it in stock.

Two days later, I had the battery as well.

I was able to meet my deadlines – thanks to the time difference between UAE and US. If you’re not as lucky as me, the only option you have is to write from scratch all over again and rush to a friend’s place if you don’t have another computer available.

To prepare for emergencies like mine, you have two options:

  • Save your work in Google Docs
  • Save your files in Drop Box

This way you’ll be able to work from another computer even if your can’t access yours.

Moral of the story: No matter how prepared you are, something will happen that will make all your preparation useless.

Have you ever had computer issues before a big deadline? How did you manage and what did you do? Share your stories and tips!

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