We’ve all been there: You’re just finishing up an epic essay and—CRASH—your computer shuts down, and you lose hours of work. Involuntary tears start to stream down your face as you realize you’re now going to be up for several more hours, trying to make up for your loss.
This happened to me several times in college and early in my career before I finally caught on and started backing up and double backing up my work. (It only took three near panic attacks and an eye-opening episode of Sex and the City for me to wise up).
Don’t be like me and just trust that everything will run smoothly even if you don’t backup computer files. Make sure you have a backup plan in place should something happen to your computer or files so you won’t have to redo hours and hours of hard work. Trust me, it’s no fun to rewrite an entire paper on The Scarlet Letter at 1 in the morning because all of your notes and drafts somehow disappeared into thin air.
Some simple ways to protect yourself include:
- Print out copies of all your spreads and stories and save them in a special binder. Even in a world where the cloud and other technology is king, I always sleep a little easier knowing there’s a physical copy of my work somewhere out there.
- Save your work in a word document on your desktop or save your files to a shared drive. This way it will always live online, and other students or advisers can have access to it. I recommend Google drive. You can organize everything easily, and it will live there forever. Dropbox is another great place to store and share files with each other.
- Download all your files to a USB drive (or multiples if you don’t trust yourself) and keep one in the yearbook office and one at home.
- Save your work every ten minutes or after every written paragraph. I started doing this after I wrote an entire thousand-word blog post and the site shutdown. I lost everything, and the second round was not as raw or original feeling as the first. Ever since then I’ve made sure to save my draft every few minutes so at least some or most of your work can be recovered should something out of your control occur.
Backing up your files always seems like a lot of work … until you have to figure out a way to retrieve all those yearbook photos, page layouts, and story edits that you lost. Take the extra time. It’ll save you hours (and a bunch of sanity) later.