Recently, I went to check my website to find a white screen and “pageok” in plain text in the upper left corner.
Umm…the page did not seem OK at all thank you very much. Not good.
So, did I drop everything and get on the phone to my host and freak out? No. That would not have been a productive use of my time even though my brain was absolutely screaming “DANGER! DANGER! HANDLE IMMEDIATELY!” That was a natural reaction, but I took a step back and instead of reacting with pure panic, I took a deep breath, calmed down and went through the following process. I hope this helps you.
Handling Emergencies Productively
First, establish the priority: What will happen if this is not fixed today/immediately?
Well, some people might end up on that site and wonder why it’s down. However, this was my translation company website and adding customers to that business is not focus for me right now so even if that were the only way for customers to reach me, it wouldn’t be a huge deal. Current customers have no reason to visit it. Also, just Googling the name of my company provides many other (and honestly far more likely) ways to contact us (yelp, google listing, etc.).
You might ask “well what if it was your focus and it had been another site?” See the “medium/high” priority section below.
Remember, as the owner of our businesses, things will always happen that feel at first like emergencies. It’s EXTREMELY important not to fall victim to assuming they actually are because then you’ll just be hopping from one emergency to another and you will never be able to be intentional with your time if you are running around just putting out fires.
🔥Priority established: Low.
Second, add it to your calendar.
The day this happened, Monday, I had meetings nearly the whole day and I knew the time in between was reserved for following up on the meetings. Tuesday was also booked with high priority items. Wednesday was a fairly open day when I had planned to work on strategy, but Thursday had been left open for that purpose too, so Thursday would have to be the primary strategy day for the week.
✍ Medium/High priority: If your priority is medium, you decide if what is scheduled day of (e.g., those meetings I had) are high, medium or low, and cancel if their priority is below that of your emergency.
Taking emotion out of it as much as possible is wildly helpful. Ask yourself honestly and then reschedule anything that is lower priority than the “emergency” (hereinafter, 💩). 😉
It’s not always possible to take emotion out of it. If your brain is going to be crazy anxious until your site is back up even though it’s a low priority situation, I encourage you to challenge yourself to STILL follow the above so that you can see the world didn’t end. This will serve you with future 💩 which will ALWAYS happen.
🔥Chosen slot: Wednesday afternoon. (This way, I could still do a half day on strategy and spend all afternoon and evening if necessary handling the site).
Third, do some quick research + decide on initial steps with logic and not emotion or panic.
Googling the error and my host revealed that this was likely fixable and that the site was not gone. However, it also revealed multiple different problems that could cause this error and because I don’t go to the site that often myself, I had no idea how long it had been down or if the downtime could affect the result. Was it possible that if it had been down too long it would be gone? I didn’t know. So, it was still low priority but certainly not no priority.
Given that more work would likely need to be done on my host’s end than on my end to figure out which of the variety of problems I found could cause it, I knew I was probably in for being asked questions and then a lot of “please hold” so I chose my initial steps as below.
🔥 Initial steps chosen:
- Use chat*, not phone, to contact help desk.
- Check my list of mindless tasks and move them to coincide so I had something productive to do during the wait time.
*Pro Tip on Chat: Chat help desk is one of the best inventions EVER for tech help. Although I generally don’t recommend multitasking, help desks usually have a lot of waiting involved so this allows you to knock out easy stuff while you wait. Also, ever wish the person on the phone could see what you are describing? You can make a loom video or take a screenshot and send by chat so they can actually see what you are dealing with instead of spending way too much time trying to describe where that “thingy” is and what it’s doing. 😉
Fourth, actually follow your schedule.
That step might sound silly, but I promise it isn’t. Most entrepreneurs I work with can add things to a calendar and I am betting you can too. That’s usually not the problem. The problem is actually using the calendar to guide their actions. When Wednesday afternoon came, I shut down everything but the mindless tasks and started the Chat with GoDaddy. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long (a couple of hours and two different people) for my site to be back up and running and I checked off a few mindless tasks too.