The Day a Bullet Got Through “Bullet-Proof”

macintoshIf you haven’t guessed already from my previous posts here, I’m a Mac user. Not just a Mac user, but a Mac disciple after many years journeying from WANG to DOS to Windows. I brag constantly about how I’ve never had a major crash on any Mac I’ve ever owned over the last 15 years – and I keep each one for at least 3-5 years which is eons for laptops. My Macs have been virtually bullet-proof.

But last week, my 10-month old MacBook crashed. And died. And now I’m slowly uncovering the depth and breadth of my arrogance. Because, my dear readers, I had not backed up my computer for 10 months. And the only reason I had a 10-month old backup of my data is because it occurred as I was getting my files from my old G4 laptop to my MacBook last Fall.

This is a cautionary tale for anyone out there who is still finding every excuse in the book not to back up their computer. And I had many.

My biggest excuse for not backing up was that I just couldn’t wrap my head around how to get it set up and how to make it happen. I think I also had a secret fear that I would set it up incorrectly and somehow save my files in the wrong place causing the disappearance of everything on my computer. I’m not sure how I got it into my head that backing up was going to be hard, but I avoided it like the Plague.

Today, less than a week after the Big Computer Meltdown (and my own tearful personal meltdown), I am assessing the business impact of lost data. My tears last week weren’t actually about my work files but about losing 10 months worth of photos and videos of my 2-year-old daughter. This week, I can’t muster up tears, but can see some dollars spinning down the drain as I have to:

  1. rewrite half a dozen proposals that I was readying to send out to new and existing clients.
  2. rewrite a new book proposal that was almost ready to send to my agent to shop around.
  3. do a salvage expedition through my Gmail Sent Box to find any documents I sent to clients so I still have some semblance of a business record.
  4. upload any documents I can find to Google Docs – the only other place where I had put some critical documents as part of my “experiment” with using Google Docs.
  5. rewrite my long list of sites that I use to market my various projects and client projects that took me over a year to compile.

time capsuleAnd for backups?

I left my local Mac store last week with red eyes from crying, a black MacBook, and an Apple Time Capsule. I charged the owner of the store to make sure I walked out with everything I needed to be up and working immediately as well as to be able to back up my files without any effort or thought on my part.

Now, every hour on the hour, when I am within range of my wifi connection (via the Time Capsule), my files are backed up (the Time Capsule has 500 GB of space). I don’t have to do anything more since configuring it. I don’t have to think about it. And I don’t have to wait until the end of the day or the weekend to do it. It happens behind-the-scenes while I’m still getting my work done.

My list of important files I have lost continues to grow. Each item I add to that list means another 1-3 hours of rewriting, recompiling, recreating. That is lost time. Lost income. I think if I had thought of backing up my computer in pure business terms – in dollars – I may have been motivated to do something sooner. For now, I just have to bite the bullet.

When was the last time you backed up your computer? And what is your backup set up like? Please share so anyone out there who is still making excuses can potentially find a solution that is right for them.

NOTE: I also blogged about the more “personal” side of this topic at Entrepreneur Mom on WorkItMom.

(photo by Apple; bullethole courtesy of clipart)