What I learned when I spilt coffee on my laptop

André Spiteri

Maverick Words Ltd

It wasn’t a fun week.

I’d just been back home for a friend’s wedding, some catching up and a spot of r and r, and I’d had a hell of a time getting my ass back into gear.

Sounds like a pretty standard case of holiday blues, right?

But then things just flew up the scale from not fun to complete and utter disaster.

As I sat at my desk to start my day, bleary-eyed and still half asleep, I accidentally spilt a whole mug of steaming coffee.

All over my laptop.

After staring at it for a few seconds in abject horror, I rushed for whatever I could find to mop up the bloody mess.

Having been blogging for a cleaning company for quite some time now, I should have known better than to rub instead of just blot the damn spill.

But, in my panic, rub I did, and I think I made matters way worse.

My screen went crazy, and I couldn’t get the laptop to co-operate. So I shut it down, used the hairdryer on it, and tried to switch it back on. But, alas, nothing happened. My laptop was in a coma or, even worse – gasp – dead.

Which brings me to the moral of my story.

Let’s Talk About Contingency Planning

You’ll be glad to know my laptop is back in fighting shape.

In fact, it looks like nothing ever happened to it, thanks in large part to the awesome guys at MacEmergency (I hope you never need this kind of service, but if you ever do and you’re based in London, they’re definitely the guys to see).

Thankfully, too, my awesome DP (that’s domestic partner, or common-law wife, which I actually like better) let me use her laptop while mine was in the shop. So while I did suffer a dip in morale on account of my beloved laptop’s stroke of bad luck, my work went on as scheduled with no interruptions.

But there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Sometimes, bad things happen, often when you don’t expect them to. And when they do they can wreak havoc on your business.

As a responsible business owner, you need to plan for these contingencies. Otherwise, you’re doing your clients, your business, your pocketbook (and yourself) a huge disservice.

What Do You Need For Work?

The first obvious step in readying your business for an unplanned setback is to understand what could really hurt you if it went wrong.
If you’re reading this, chances are that the first item on your list is going to be your laptop.

So my question to you is this: what would happen if, like me, you spilt coffee on your laptop?

Do you have a friend or significant other that would be willing to help you out?

Or would you be – pardon my French – royally fucked?

If you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to get your ass in gear.

Ask your significant other – or a friend who lives nearby –  if it would be ok for you to use their laptop if something happened to yours.

If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to look into some alternatives. Are there any internet cafes (are those even a thing anymore??) close by?

Or perhaps, you should invest in a spare?

The Cloud Is Your Friend

Of course, I’m hugely thankful I could borrow a laptop to carry on with my work.

But there’s also another reason why my transition was so seamless – I work mostly in the cloud.

Google docs, Google drive, webmail – even my accounting software – it’s all in the cloud. And let me tell you, the cloud has really done me a solid.
Once I borrowed the laptop, I just logged in to my accounts and continued right from where I left off: writing, answering emails and even issuing invoices.

If you still tend to save your work on your laptop, you need to seriously consider moving to the cloud. Or, at the very least, backing your shit up there. This will ensure you can access your work from any device, wherever you are – really handy if your laptop is dead. It’s also cheap, easy to do and will guarantee your peace of mind.

A no-brainer really.

Spread Your Risk: Get An External Hard Drive

While the cloud is great, it isn’t foolproof.

You could get hacked, or something could get corrupted, which is why you should still back up your stuff on an external hard drive.

These days, external hard drives are cheap and portable, so you really have no excuses. Just drag and drop your stuff into it at the end of each week and, if worst comes to worst, you’re still good to go.

The trick, really, is to be in a position where you’re not entirely dependent on one thing for all your data.

Spread your risk.

It should really be a mantra.

The Bottom Line

You might not think it will happen to you. Or perhaps it hasn’t even crossed your mind.

But let me tell you, now that I’ve been through it, I can safely say an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. And it’s not even that much effort.

Take an hour or so to think about this. You might be grateful you did.

What do you think?

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