How Online Freelancers Deal With (Power Outage) Brownout In The Philippines

Living in the Philippines you will be used to getting several minor inconveniences and one of this is a brownout which is the local term for a power outage. This may last for a few minutes to a couple of hours and may be scheduled or unscheduled. If you are working in an office then there’s a chance that a brownout won’t affect you since most businesses have their own backup generators.
What if you are an online freelancer working on your computer then suddenly the power just disappears? This is going to be a problem if your work is time critical. What's worse is if you are creating a document and you haven’t saved your work then all of a sudden your desktop computer shuts off.

I am am an online freelancer myself and I used to have problems with brownouts many years ago. I had a bad experience with power outage when Tropical Storm Washi locally known as Sendong hit our island in the Philippines. We were without power for nearly 48 hours. As an online worker this is already a very long time and affected my work output. The good thing is I was able to email my employer beforehand giving him a heads up that I might not be reachable in the next few days since I expect the power to shut down. I was still able to work for a few hours using my laptop after the power went out. For the Internet connection I used a mobile LTE modem which had a battery that lasts for around 5 hours. Once the laptop and LTE modem battery ran out that was it. After this experience I came up with a plan to prevent the brownout from affecting my work.
If you are an online freelancer and would want to have a solid contingency plan for brownouts then you have come to the right place as I will be providing some helpful tips that you can use so that this power outage can have a minimal effect on your work.

Get A Laptop

The first thing that you need to have as an online worker is a laptop that has a good battery life. I suggest getting a laptop with a screen size of between 11.6 to 14 inches. Anything larger than 14 inches is going to be difficult to carry around (you will need to get out of your house and work in a coffee shop for example at some point). A desktop computer won’t do since this will just turn off when the power goes out. Even if you have a UPS connected to the desktop computer it’s only good to power on the computer for a couple of minutes therefore a laptop is highly recommended.
If you have the budget then you should get a MacBook Air or a Macbook. These laptops can provide up to 10 hours of usage time on a single charge. This is also a very durable laptop that’s highly portable since it is slim and light.  What you spend on this laptop will definitely be worth it.
In case you still can’t get a MacBook then the next best thing is to get a Chromebook. If you are a writer then this will suit you best. If you are a VA then you should check first if this kind of laptop is suited for your work. Any work that mostly deals with Google Docs can be done with a Chromebook. What makes this device great to use is that it is cheap, has a long battery life, and your work is automatically saved ( If you use Google Docs).
If a Windows based laptop is required for your work then make sure to get a model that can provide the longest battery life possible.

Get a Mobile LTE Modem

Once the power goes out the next thing that will go out is your Internet connection. It is a must that you have a backup connection and the best backup right now is a mobile LTE Modem. This modem connects to the LTE network of a carrier and can be used as a hotspot for your devices to connect. Get a mobile modem that is not locked to a particular carrier so you can simply swap SIM cards in case the signal strength of one carrier is not good in your particular area.
Take note that you will have to spend around Php50 for a day’s worth of Internet usage which usually caps at around 1GB.

Get A Power Bank

The power bank is not going to be used to charge your laptop but instead it is going to be used to charge your LTE Modem. This can also be used to charge your smartphone which can also be a useful tool to check your emails when the power goes out.

Get A Small Bag

In case your devices will run out of power then you will need a small bag that’s just the right size to accommodate your laptop and other devices. You should then proceed to the nearest coffee shop which provides free Wi-Fi. This is usually a great place to finish your work. Other places that you can go to include cafe’s and bars. During one of the power outages that occurred a few months ago I just grabbed my gear and headed out to a bar. While drinking a bottle of beer I was also able to work on my task. One thing that you should also have in your bag is an extension cord. This way, even if the power outlet is far from your table you can still plug your devices.

Recommended backup devices for bloggers: An iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard

You should not rely on your laptop alone to accomplish your tasks. If you are a writer who contributes to blogs then you should also consider getting an iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard as a backup device. You can write your articles using the Pages app then use the WordPress app to publish your blog. You can even use the iPad for the whole day since it has a long battery life.
Aside from writing articles you can also use the iPad to edit videos using the iMovie app or do some photo editing using some of the popular photo editing apps available at the App Store.

Conclusion


The devices which I listed above are based on my experiences and work in my case. If you have any other suggestions then please feel free to leave a comment below.
How Online Freelancers Deal With (Power Outage) Brownout In The Philippines How Online Freelancers Deal With (Power Outage) Brownout In The Philippines Reviewed by Chad Buenaflor on 7/04/2017 06:28:00 PM Rating: 5

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