How to Stay Productive and Sane on Bad Weather Days

After some days of torrential rains that brought Metro Manila underwater, we finally saw some sunshine. The season of bad weather isn’t over yet, though. Until November rolls in, we can expect showers, thunderstorms, baby typhoons, and super-typhoons blowing our way.

Photo Credit: Roberto Verzo

As I’m a freelance writer working from home, one of the things I’m thankful for is I no longer have to brave the elements just to get to the office. I don’t have to pack extra clothes anymore in case I get wet from standing in the rain or wading through a flood. I no longer have to fear getting stranded for four hours or so in traffic to or from work because roads have become impassable.

That doesn’t mean stormy weather doesn’t affect me anymore, though. When you work from home, more often than not you’re hugely dependent on your computer and Internet access. Stormy weather is almost synonymous with power outages and choppy Internet. When you have a pressing deadline, losing power and Internet can drive you nuts.

How do you cope in that situation? Here’s my list of to-dos for working during foul weather:

  1. Charge all your gadgets. In case the power goes out and the phone lines die, you’ll still be able to work with a fully-charged laptop and cellphone.
  2. Be compulsive in saving your work. In the early days of my freelance writing, I’d work obliviously on an article without hitting save until I was done. That definitely changed the day I failed to recover a 2000-word, research-heavy document that was due in a few hours.
  3. Invest on an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) for your desktop. The UPS will give you some ten minutes to save and backup your files as well as shut down your PC properly in case of a blackout.
  4. Save your files to an external drive or an online storage service like DropBox or MediaFire, just in case the sudden power outage fries your computer.
  5. Have a mobile broadband service. To be honest, I don’t know how to tether a laptop to a cellphone to stay connected. In any case, it’s going to cost me a really pretty penny if I do that since my postpaid plan doesn’t have unlimited Internet. What I have is a PLDT WeRoam subscription, which allows me to connect wirelessly using a USB stick wherever I am. It’s handy when my DSL is down.

Photo Credit: Tom Grundy

What if the storm won’t let you work?

Of course, sometimes you just have to quit working because the storm simply won’t let you. Or maybe the power outage happened during your downtime and you have nothing else to do. What do you do then to keep from going bored and stir-crazy? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Catch up on your reading. If you’re too busy with work to tick a few items off your reading list, getting stuck indoors because of stormy weather is a good time for reading. That is, if your power is still up. No matter what other people say, reading using a flashlight or relying on your e-reader’s backlight is not fun for the eyes.
  2. Do a movie marathon. That’s exactly what my parents and I did last weekend. We watched a few favorites like Dogma, Mamma Mia, and Little Nicky.
  3. Play offline games. A pack of cards or board games are your friends when power is out and Internet is down. Or, if the power is still up, you can play computer games that don’t require Internet access. There was this one evening when the power went down and there’s still an hour left of battery time on one of the laptops. What my brothers and I did was to guess as many word combinations on Text Twist as we could on the laptop. It made an otherwise boring and dismal evening fun.
  4. Play song tag. My dad is a really good singer. I can’t carry a tune even if my life depended on it, but I do love old songs. I probably know most of Frank Sinatra’s songs by heart. Sometimes, when power is out and there’s nothing else to do, my dad and I would hang out and play song tag. He’d sing a song and I’d follow through with another song that has a similar theme to the previous song. It’s a good way to pass the time.

Unless your house is getting flooded and you have to evacuate, stormy days don’t have to be a disaster. There are infinite ways you can stay productive and sane even when bad weather forces you indoors. And learn to count your blessings – at least you’re safe and dry indoors.

Images: Roberto Verzo and Tom Grundy via Flickr.

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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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