Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I am no stranger to storms; between the Saskatchewan Screamers of my youth to the hurricanes and nor’easters I experience today, power outages are a way of life. Yet during Irene I was puzzled that so many people were claiming that could not get anything done if the power went out.
I find that with a little planning and forethought, it is very easy to maintain a high level of productivity without power. Here are my tips:
Most of us rely on gadgets of some sort. Whether it is a smart phone, laptop or even a gaming device, it pays to make sure that your gadgets are topped off with a charge.
There are also many ways that you can power things off of batteries. iGo has a whole line of chargers that can hook into a case holding AA batteries; these work with the car charging tips as well. Spare laptop batteries are always a good choice if you are going to work off the grid for a while.
Have System Redundancies
This is a rule of mine, borne of hard experience. All of my electronic systems have some way of backing up the system so I can get to everything multiple ways – one of which is on paper. My task lists and calendars, and even my writing outlines can be printed out so that I never have to be without the information. Backups are also necessary.
Plan Your Productivity
People in general are more productive when they have a sense of what they want to get accomplished. This is doubly true when facing a power outage. Decide what you will work on that will maximize what stored power you have, and what can be done manually.
For example, it might be a good time to reorganize the filing cabinet, rather than deciding to spend all day working on the novel.
Print When It Makes Sense
Obviously, you will not always know when you are going to lose power. But when you have a hurricane aiming for you, you have some warning. Use part of that warning to print out supporting documents necessary for your planned tasks. This will give you the foundational information you need.
People laugh when they find out that many times I blog longhand. On paper. With a pen. (Remember those?) But the truth is that manual is not in and of itself bad; it’s just different.
Having a way to manually perform tasks you need to get done is a good way to build redundancy into your system.
Hints For Extended Outages
When Isabel hit us back in 2003, we were without power at the house for 8 days. Here are my hints for surviving an extended outage.
- Have non-perishable food. This goes without saying, but what isn’t so obvious is to have a variety of healthy food. A week of beanie weenies is more than a stomach can bear.
- Empty the fridge on day 3. If you wait too long you will have a really awful mess. After 3 days without power, chances are you won’t be able to save anything anyway.
- Charge where you can. If you are working and have power, charge your cell phone there. Or charge in the car, as one of my coworkers did last week.
- Ask. Perhaps one of you neighbors has hot water; ask if you can shower. Maybe someone has freezer space in another area of town. Or ask if you can do laundry.
During Irene, I was able to get a lot done because I had planned ahead. We were lucky this time and only lost power for a couple of flickers; not everyone was so lucky.
Do you have any tips for being productive without power? Share below.
Photo by nate steiner