In the name of transparency, I’m going to share something very stupid and non-money savvy I did last week. Given ‘work from home’ is the norm for so many people at the moment, I’m sure many people might relate.
At this point, I should probably say it’s nothing too dramatic and hasn’t had a major impact on my life. It’s more of a work from home nuisance that could well have been avoided.
The total outgoing will be around £500. While not a huge amount, this is a significant sum and could have been much better spent on something else or invested rather than being used to cover up a mistake.
I am aware I’m in a fortunate position to be able to spend this sum and am very grateful for this. Otherwise, this would have been a lot more serious an issue.
We all find ourselves rushing around, trying to cram more and more into our days. But, often sparing a few extra minutes to take stock and organise yourself can save you in the long run.
- What actually happened
- The mistakes I made
- What I’ll do next time
- Any other tips
What actually happened
It was the middle of Friday and I was desperately trying to finish a whole range of tasks, so I could avoid working too much at the weekend and enjoy a break.
Naturally, this led to me eating lunch at my desk while I replied to emails, scheduled meetings and wrote a couple of articles – I really need to get better at focusing on one task at a time!
At this point, my puppy decided he wanted some attention, which is usually my cue to take some time out. But, this time I thought I could power through and get a bit more work done first. The puppy had other ideas and jumped up at me. I moved my arm to get to him and in the process spilt a large glass of water.
It went all over my laptop.
The broken laptop
Immediately the lights on the screen went out and it stopped working. I then went into panic mode as it looked like I’d lost everything. All my work is solely online, so a working laptop is one of the most important things I can own.
Grabbing as many tea towels as I could find, I tried to remove as much of the water as I could and placed my laptop upside down to drain.
Then, I started to panic. I was in the middle of a trial period for a potential new client I really liked working with and was worried they’d take a dim view of me missing a deadline over a technological issue.
I also had a work meeting starting in 30 minutes and had no idea how I was going to log into it. Thankfully, after running round the house madly, I managed to find an old laptop and charger that just about worked well enough to see me through.
Sadly, I later found out it was too damaged to warrant repair.
It will cost more to repair it than it will to replace. A like for like replacement will cost me around £500. Thankfully, I’m in a position where I can afford this. But, it’s an unnecessary expense and could have been avoided.
The mistakes I made
Obviously, spilling the water in the first place was not a good start. But, I don’t think it’s right to call this a mistake.
However hard we try, accidents will always happen. My mistake was failing to be prepared.
I hadn’t backed up any of my work. For a few months now, I’d been talking about doing this, but had never got around to it.
Memory sticks, Google Drive, Drop Box – whatever it is that works for you, use it! That way, you’ll always be able to access your files and pick up any work from anywhere, on any device. This will save a lot of stress if – or when – you have a technical issue.
I also wasn’t focusing on what I was doing. My mind was all over the place and I wasn’t concentrating on any one thing. Not only is this an unproductive way of working, it also increases the chances of mistakes happening.
If I’d taken an extra five or ten minutes to get my work done, perhaps I wouldn’t have ended up in this position.
What I’ll do next time
I wasted a lot of emotional energy worrying about things I couldn’t control. By the time the water was spilt, it was too late to change anything. Instead, I needed to focus on solutions.
Being upfront about the problem worked for me. I realised there was no point trying to cover up what had happened, so held my hands up and was honest about it.
Work were very understanding and suddenly lots of my team piped up with stories about breaking phone screens, laptops and all sorts – which instantly made me feel better.
The client I was worried about was also really nice and I start working with them next week – which I’m very excited about!
More practically, I’m thinking of moving to only having bottled water when I’m in ‘work from home’ mode. This won’t fully eliminate the chance of spillages, but will significantly reduce the risk and hopefully give me some peace of mind.
Any other tips
Don’t forget to breathe.
The online world will have you believing that you need to be working 24/7, exercising at least 5 days a week and seeing your friends at every possible opportunity.
With work from home becoming the norm, boundaries are becoming blurred and switching off is even harder to do.
This level of productivity is not only unrealistic, but damaging to your mental and physical health. It’s ok to take time out and relax. You’ll be much more productive and make far less mistakes in all aspects of your life if you’re feeling refreshed.
Oh and buy a keyboard protector.
You can get them for less than £5 and it might just save you from forking out for a whole new laptop. Trust me, I wish I’d invested in one sooner.
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