What To Do When You Have Computer Issues On a Deadline. Working or learning from home can be great, but the lack of resources at your disposal when you run into issues can be trying. Suppose you’re toiling away on a project for work or school, and you even have the end in sight—only to be stalled by a computer issue right as you approach your deadline.
If you were at your office or school, you could switch to another machine or perhaps call up the IT department. When at home, however, you not only have fewer resources at your disposal but if you’re on a deadline, you may not have time to travel to a computer repair store or upgrade your tech.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to avoid panicking when trying to solve any problem. Not only is the time you spend panicking still valuable to you, but succumbing to panic can raise your anxiety and potentially make things worse. If you have even a few minutes, try a quick calm-down exercise like focusing on your breathing, listening to music, playing with a pet, meditating, or going for a walk.
What To Do if You Think You Can Still Finish
If you’ve got enough time before your deadline, you’re close to being done, or you think you’ll be able to solve the issue, then you can try a few easy fixes like:
- Turn it off and back on again: Another obvious suggestion, but it really can be a lifesaver as long as you’ve saved your work. Sometimes computers need a fresh start to work again. As you work, always remember to save your files.
- Remember what backups you have: If you’ve been saving your work regularly to the cloud or an external hard drive, you may be able to access it from another device or revert your computer to a past save without losing work. If you have neither, you can partition your hard drive; it makes it easier to backup files, improves security, and makes it easier to reinstall your OS.
- Tech support: Lots of tech support companies offer help around the clock. If none of the above fixes work, you can connect with one of these 24/7 remote tech support services, and they should be able to walk you through fixes for many issues. Do keep in mind that depending on when you call, there may be a significant wait time.
What To Do If You Know You’ll Be Late
If you’re facing an issue you know you can’t fix in time to hit your deadline, make arrangements to minimize damage:
- Let people know as soon as possible: Whoever is waiting for you to finish this task needs to be kept updated. It can seem daunting to deliver bad news but remember they’re people too, and the more advance notice, the easier it will be for you to figure out the situation together.
- Keep the update brief, direct, and clear: It reduces the need for back and forth by the other party to clarify the situation. They probably have other work to go through, so respecting their time will be in everyone’s interest.
- If possible, offer options like a draft or part of the work completed: They may want to see how far you have progressed or make sure you are on the right track. Offering however much has already been completed allows them to work with what you’ve got while waiting for the rest.
- Always be professional, and make sure this is a rare occurrence. Being courteous and contrite can engender sympathy and earn you a reprieve. Nobody is perfect, so you will likely get some leeway, but it becomes a serious concern if you make it a habit.
Steps You Can Take Now To Avoid Panic Later
Prevention is always better and cheaper than the cure. There are steps you can take to avoid a computer malfunction, such as:
- Know where to get tech support: Luckily, you can contact quality tech support at any time, and it’s even better to know already exactly who to reach out to. If you find a service you like, keep their contact information handy, so you won’t have to go looking for it under duress. If you create a relationship with a service you like and trust, they will already know your info and help you take better care of your computer regularly.
- Give your computer a break now and then: Our computers always seem to overload when we’re feeling the most overworked, often because they’re overworked too. Your computer needs downtime, so just turning it off now and again will give the fans and hardware a break, which keeps them from overheating or getting overloaded.
- Keep your device up-to-date: Making sure your computer is running the latest versions of all software and that your apps are compatible will keep your computer from forcing an update at an inconvenient time. Updates also feature security patches and bug fixes that will help you prevent unforeseen problems.
- Install antivirus and antimalware software: Another way to make sure your computer is less likely to crash when you need it most is to keep high-quality antivirus software installed. It will keep your data safe from theft, corruption, or spying.
No Matter What, It Will Be Alright
Machines are not perfect, and neither is life, so you are bound to have a hiccup or two with your computer. Should an issue arise despite your best efforts, stay calm, inform others and work on the fix.
At moments like these, it can help to regain perspective by remembering that this too shall pass. The best thing you can do is reduce the likelihood of a computer issue by taking care of and maintaining your device.