Total Catastrophe – or “Lesson Learned the Hard Way”


Whoever said “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure,” knew what she was talking about!

Friends would describe me as organized, on top of things, able to get stuff done.

I’m a big proponent of setting priorities and sticking with them.  Of not getting distracted.  Of not spending time on things that don’t support your vision.  And I do a decent job at this most of the time.  It’s what I teach my clients to do.

But I made a big blunder and now I am paying the price.

My computer died.  Let me rephrase that.  My un-backed-up computer died. The hard drive is totally inaccessable, even to the professionals at Micro Center.

I still have a molecule of hope that a true data retrieval specialist may be able to pull at least some of my stuff off of the drive – she’s coming today to pick up the dead laptop to take to her secret mountain lair to hopefully perform some magic.  If she can’t do it, maybe I’ll check with the FBI labs down the road…

The point is that I could have easily prevented this catastrophe by implementing a regular backup protocol.  It just never seemed like “the most important thing to do right now” and my computer gave no warning signs of imminent death, so it stayed on my list of “things I never quite got around to doing.”

So don’t do what I did – back up your computer.  You can use Drop Box, or Amazon Cloud, or Google Drive or an external hard drive or some other system, but please do it.  I may have lost irreplacable photos, months of work, tax returns and I don’t even know what else.

All. Totally. Preventable.

But this post isn’t really about my computer catastrophe.  It’s about setting up our lives to minimize the chance of catastrophes, or at least being able to recover from them gracefully when they do come.

I’m ready to rearrange some priorities and institute some preventative systems, not just on the computer but in my life in general.  Would you like to join me?

Here’s my plan so far.  I hope you can use it.  Let’s all learn from my mistake and take the easy road going forward.

Because crap is going to happen.  And it’s better to be prepared for it than not.




1.  Insurance:  Is all of your insurance (homeowners, auto, health, life) up-to-date and does it accurately reflect current reality?  Do you have a video of the contents of your home for insurance purposes?  Is it stored in a safe place?

2.  Legal:  Is all of your legal stuff (will, power of attorney, etc.) up-to-date and stored in several safe places?  Do you have lists of everything your executor or emergency contact will need to get at (accounts, keys, passwords, etc.) in case of emergency?  Does your contact know where the list is?

3.  Financial:  Are all of your accounts secure?  Have you spoken with an advisor about financial planning?  Do you haave an emergency fund?

4.  Medical:  Are you up to date on all of your recommended screenings?  Do you go to your GP regularly?

5.  Home:  Walk through your house room by room, and then around the outside.  Make a list of all needed repairs or maintenance.  This is everything from replacing the furnace filter to painting the front porch railing to replacing the roof.  Create a schedule for competing the work.  Check batteries in smoke detectors.

6.  Cars:  Check the maintenance schedule for the cars and be sure all needed maintenance gets done.  If you don’t yet have in your trunk: a blanket, jumper cables and other emergency items relevant to where you live – now’s the time.

7.  Emergency Preparedness:  Store a case of water and some emergency supplies in the basement so you’re prepared for a natural disaster.  If you’re a full-on “prepper” you make take this further.

8.  Technology:  And last, but certainly not least, back up your computer data.  Seriously.  Just do it.

Getting all of these things done will take some time – but they’ve moved way up my priority list!  A little bit every day and everything should be handled inside of a month.  So we can start September knowing it’s all under control.

I’d love to hear from you about what other maintenance and prevention tasks you’ve been putting off, and what I’ve forgotten.  Leave a comment below!


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