How to Stay Productive, Even When the Power Goes Out

Micah Bennett
Micah Bennett
Jan. 9, 2013

Twas five nights before Christmas, and all through the house, not a light was still blinking, except for my mouse.

Power outages rarely wait for opportune times to strike, and that held true this holiday season, as I found myself without power for hours in the middle of the last workweek before the holidays. I even had two chat sessions rudely interrupted by the outage(to those users: sorry!). So what do you do when you find yourself with no power for an indeterminate amount of time? Here's a few discoveries I had to make the hard way:

  • I stayed in contact. Right when the power went out and I lost connectivity, I shot a text to our co-founder Wade to update him that I was offline, and that I had been in the middle of communicating with two users at the time. This kept the interruption to our customers to a bare minimum, and also avoided any "hey, what's Micah doing over there?" questions when the power didn't come on for quite some time.
  • My gear was up to the task. I have a laptop, and one with very good battery life. Even without power I was able to work on offline tasks for hours. Count this as another benefit to having a mobile workstation, as well as keeping up with your machine to make sure your battery is fully functional and not just a UPS for when you move your power cord from room to room.
  • I had offline activities at the ready. I use a pinned Trello tab to manage the tasks I need to work on today, and those in the queue to choose from for future days. I simply selected a few that didn't require internet access to complete or mostly complete, and I had my direction while the power was out.
  • I time-shifted my online work. This may not be an option for all, but my wife and I were able to take care of a few tasks around the house during an initial, brief power outage. That was a few less things on the todo list when the power came back on later, making it much easier to dive back into online work and play catch-up.

Fortunately for me, our power did come back on after a few hours and I wasn't stranded by the weather. Had that not happened, even my best-laid plans would have eventually left me unable to work after a while. But a few bits of prevention kept me productive during this particular outage, and serve as a great reminder to make sure to be prepared for future emergencies. How do you stay productive even when the lights or internet unexpectedly go out? Any favorite things to get done when you're offline? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author

Micah Bennett is the Support Lead at Zapier. He loves his wife Trinity, dessert, and the Chicago Cubs. He has never been to Boston in the fall.

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