One morning recently my computer started making a weird clicking sound, and then was entirely dead within minutes. It was a very good computer, and had no issues before that, so I was stunned to experience complete hard drive failure. I was also very unprepared for that to happen.
I have an external hard drive, and had even backed it up a month or two before, but it was a half-hearted attempt at really saving important information. Apparently I wasn’t really backing up what I thought I was, because the documents themselves were being saved in all sorts of places on my computer.
Through the experience of losing my hard drive abruptly, I learned some hard but very valuable lessons I’d like to share (in case some of you are better at learning from others’ experience instead of waiting until you go through it yourself):
- We have become very technologically dependent. It took about 2 weeks for me to get my head on straight after the hard drive went down. Despite the fact that I had access to my husband’s computer and have a smartphone, it wasn’t the same as using my own computer. Files and photos were lost, programs lost or different versions, bookmarks all gone, and nothing was set up the same way. I felt lost, and not ‘in control.’ I have already admitted to being a Control Freak, but this just made it even more obvious how much I apparently need to have things organized and done a certain way. It was very frustrating. I was moody and not nearly as productive during this time. So, I need to learn to appreciate all the benefits of using the technology we have available today, without becoming so dependent on it that I fall apart if it goes down.
- Where you save and store files is important. Are you guilty of saving multiple versions of files in different places, or using desktop folders that are actual folders instead of shortcuts to folder on your hard drive? Do you know where information is stored such as a hard drive, external hard drive, cloud, Google drive, or why you would want it there? I thought I was going about things in a way that was working, until I saw which files were actually saved (unfortunately after it was too late).
- Have a Back-up Plan. My half-hearted backup attempts were nice in theory, but didn’t help when I really needed them. Having your files set up in a way that makes them easy to copy over to external storage, and a set schedule for when this takes place, is a great way to avoid being caught unawares like I did.
- Streamline, for efficiency and productivity. Having to redo my entire digital organization system — from folders and files, to bookmarks and passwords — I am really looking at making my system as efficient as possible. That means creating a more useful filing structure, filing naming, way of capturing account and password information, and efficient use of bookmarks and tracking files. Removing extraneous information will make working and communicating easier and faster, so I am not bogged down in digital clutter.
On the positive side, when this happened I was just about to begin digitizing important family documents for the 6 Month Family Document Challenge, and then shredding them. That could have been a serious disaster! Since it was averted, I can now go about the process with new methods to ensure important information is stored in a way that is secure, accessible and easy to find in case of any emergency, which as the point of the challenge. Phew!
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