On loss, and recovery

I have a terrible tendency to throw what I refer to as “all night work parties”, which usually end up comprising about two and a half days straight of me staring into my laptop, clacking away and forgetting to sleep or come up for air. They’re admittedly not the most glaringly healthy way of getting things done, but I do tend to be the sort of person who works in spurts, and when the fever comes over me, I often like to run with it. (I actually experimented with a “normal” schedule, wherein I slept at least a little bit every single night for a month straight. It was interesting, and I may try it again at some point…but not just now.)

So a few weeks ago, I was crashing at the tail end of a work party, and ended up falling asleep next to my laptop, gigantic glass of water in hand. Yes, you know where this is headed. A few hours later, I woke up spilling said gigantic glass of water all over myself and my poor laptop. (Lovely way to wake up, might I add.) Naturally, I panicked. There was much cursing and wailing (me) and sparking and crackling (the machine) as I tried to figure out what on earth to do. It wouldn’t turn off, and it took my sleep-addled brain a good five minutes to figure out that removing the battery would do the trick. The poor thing was soaked, and ruined. I was in a similar state. That machine was, in effect, the entirety of my business assets, and the tool by which I can earn my living, and it had just crackled out and died on me.

Now, a few weeks later, I’m almost 100% back on my feet. I’m lucky, really. I’d been relatively good about maintaining my backups, so I didn’t lose anything too vital, data-wise. I keep my contact list synced remotely with Plaxo, which saved me a lot of legwork. (I’ve since upgraded and it syncs my calendar. I did have to rebuild my monster font collection (though I think it’s been quite nicely updated and it’s rather nice to start fresh), computer settings, and the like, which took some time. I use IMAP for my email, so all of my mail, both incoming and outgoing, was right there waiting for me, and since my estimates and invoices are sent out via mail, I could access all of those, too. My greatest losses were a few selected recent projects that hadn’t been backed up, my time logs, my calendar of hosting renewals, the $1800 I paid for a new machine, and about a week of my time.

All in all? Not the end of the world, and I’ve bounced back. (And I have a brand-new laptop that doesn’t sound like a jet engine taking off, which is helping my sanity levels.) I always thought that if my computer were to die, I’d be destroyed. It’s nice to realize that the obstacles you fear most are never as insurmountable as they seem–or maybe just that you’re better prepared and more resilient than you originally assumed.

And not to be too trite, but it’s been a great learning experience. For example, I’ve learned that machines and water do not mix, and that I ought to be drinking from a sippy cup when I’m tired. I’ve learned that there are things outside of my design folder that are important and should be backed up, and I’ve learned that I need a more reliable (and preferably automated) way of doing backups.

Any suggestions?