What if?

Photo courtesy of Ambuj Saxena (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Ambuj Saxena (Creative Commons)

When you plan, do you intentionally develop a Plan B? Do you think through what could go wrong and some possible remedies just in case?

I realize that my personality type is highly detail oriented and contingencies just naturally come to mind when planning. But I experienced first-hand last night how important it is to have backups, especially when you are dealing with important information.

I am working on a volunteer basis with an organization called I Run 4, in which we pair runners with those who cannot run, and we run in their honor. I’ve written about my running buddy, Bennett, who inspires me daily to stretch myself and work harder.

My function with IR4 is to help with the matching process, so I manage the spreadsheets with literally thousands of names of buddies and parents as well as runners, and the status and contact information. I have been experiencing some trouble with my computer lately – it will occasionally freeze, and I’m forced to reboot. I save these files constantly and so far, I had not lost more than a name or two which could be easily updated.

But last night was an epic freeze.

I patiently waited on the computer to reboot, and reopened my IR4 folder. There was the master file, and the file of those requesting buddies – but wait. The runner file was missing. Are you kidding me?

Apparently, it was corrupted and instead of just losing the last bit of information I had entered, the entire file disappeared. Yikes.

Thankfully, something had told me the night before that I should save a dated copy of each of those files in a different folder. I was able to use that file, and rebuild the day’s data using the emails I had sent along with the master list. Whew. Problem solved with just some extra time spent.

Needless to say, I immediately saved those files in the other folder as well as on a thumb drive. And in the future, I will stop and save throughout the day to each of those places. Overkill? Maybe. But I do not want to risk losing that information plus notes ever again.

I know this is one small example of how to protect your important information, but the experience made me think through other forms of backup in my life. I have a “grab and go” bag that contains my most important documents, extra keys, and emergency supplies should something happen and I have to evacuate my apartment unexpectedly. But it’s not completely up-to-date.

I have a will and insurance but have not reviewed either lately to ensure they are current. There are other things in my life that I need to consider if something were to happen to me.

Dealing with contingency plans is not at the top of my list of fun things to do, and honestly, most of the time my hands are full handling the day -to-day activities that seem to overwhelm me.

But would I have (or want to spend) the time and energy to start from scratch if something were to happen? Isn’t it much easier to think through backup plans when you don’t need them and be prepared?

I will be spending time in the next week or so updating my papers and other documents, just in case, and thinking through other things I need to back up.

What about you? What contingency plans do you need to put in place?