Yawning through all the paperwork, updates and backups

Paperwork, Hardware, Software, Backups and Taxes…

Today I had to look up my EIN (for an affiliate program), and it took so long I created a TAX INFO folder in my documents folder, and also recorded it in my contacts for myself, where I found duplicates of me in my contacts list, so I cleaned that up. And while I was doing that Microsoft Word had an update to install and so did Adobe Acrobat, and Mozy was backing up my files remotely.

All necessary and I’m glad to have all this happening in the long run. I keep my computers updated with the latest software whenever it tells me about it. And when an application tells me it has an update to install, I also say yes. If you don’t have wifi, do this at the public library about once a month. Why? Because your computer works better that way and you’re less likely to experience a crash due to software.

Hardware is another issue. I take my laptop with me almost everywhere, including on my motorcycle, so if any hardware rattles loose or I crash or fall over, I want my data safe. I use Mozy to back up my files and there are other good programs out there, too. Plus I have a 1 TB hard drive for Time Machine backups on my laptop – they are really cheap now.

I also pay $9/mo for a terabyte of storage on DropBox as well as my Mozy. That means I pay over $300 a year for backup and storage. You might view DropBox as redundant, and it is, but I use DropBox as a method for sharing data in small and large chunks. That way I don’t have to send email attachments. I send links to files and folders, instead, and you should, too. (Here’s why.)

All this seems like overkill but it isn’t. I’ve needed this three times in my computing lifetime.

I just helped a friend recover some of the files he’d lost when his laptop started acting wanky. He’d never backed up anything so I got him a free DropBox and Google Drive account and encouraged him to buy a 1 Terabyte hard drive, too. (Come on! It’s only about $60!) I hope he does, and I hope you do.

Lessons:

  • Please just say yes when your computer tells you there’s an update! Your software and apps will thank you by running smoothly.
  • Practice multiple levels of backups. Hardware doesn’t last forever, so if your external backup hard drive fails, make sure you’ve got a cloud-based backup system.
  • Use DropBox for file sharing.
  • Get in EIN to use instead of your SSN so you can track your business expenses.
  • Do your taxes
  • Write
  • Edit
  • Get with other creatives so you don’t go insane

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