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Accessing power off the grid: In the event of a blackout . . .

Nope. I'm not talking about battery backups . . . though, those are fine things, if you've ever thought that your computer has everything it needs except for the generator.

Nope. When I don't have electrical power, I don't feel the urge to get back online . . . and, while refrigeration is a real good thing, there's something to be said for warming a can of beans the old-fashioned way.

Like many others, I was left without electrical power following superstorm Sandy . . . frankly, it was splendid.

Based on my recent experience, here are some useful things you can do to remain productive . . . even without your computer:

  • Create a to-do list. You'll likely be surprised about the projects you leave off . . . not that you should avoid doing the things you can't list without the aid of your task bar; but, this is an interesting exercise to determine which projects are really meaningful to you, based on a determination of how memorable they are.
  • Brainstorm new projects. Our worklives are mostly taken up with multi-tasking, by which we're able to put out the daily flashfires, rather than starting them. Free your mind from that mess, and concentrate more deeply on potential projects, in order to engage really useful endeavors that will actually be memorable . . . for the next time you write out your to-do list during a blackout.
  • Reduce your piles. What better time to wade through your paper files/work/documents (to the extent you have them anymore) than when you have nothing better to do? Because you're not getting to it at any other time . . .
  • Work on your elevator speech(es). You've got a mirror. You've got a candle. You've got quiet. Why not spend some time tweaking your elevator pitches, to potential clients and referral sources? In theory, you won't need to type out the final product, since you'll need to have it down cold for when you deliver it. No keyboard? No problem.
  • Play a board game. If Neil Patrick Harris is into board games, then so am I. Spend some time with your friends and/or family, by organizing an impromptu game night with your household. It'll improve your state of mind, and you'll approach the bulk of your work with a fresher mindset, when it is that you get back to it.

My job often breaks down to telling attorneys how they can best utilize technology to manage their businesses . . . but, it's surprising just how much you can still do, offline.

The epilogue to Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible Man' can be read, in part, as a requiem for the virtues of isolation in modern society. But, I won't ruin it for you . . .

Of course, I have the luxury of creating simple diversions for use during a minor power outage (mine was 24 hours), because Massachusetts was left mostly unaffected by the recent storms.  If you wish to donate to those who are still experiencing, and will continue to experience, serious ramifications from superstorm Sandy, you can give to the Red Cross via this portal.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published November 15, 2012

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