I take my computer for granted; and I think its feelings are hurt. Yes, I know my computer is an inanimate object incapable of feelings; but hurt feelings are the only logical explanation this accountant can come to for what happened. Five days ago I was locked out of my computer. Unable to even log in to attempt trouble shooting. Amid the panic, and subsequent fix, I learned a couple of very valuable lessons.

What happened? I still don’t really understand; hence my hurt feelings hypothesis. The short answer is that my user account had gone astray, like one of Little Bo Peep’s sheep. The long story is that I ran an update on my computer one night and went to bed. The next day I attempted to use my computer and found myself unable to log in due to a password error. On day five, we figured out that my password wasn’t the issue; but we didn’t know that on day one. As a fellow business owner, I’m sure you can relate to the panic I felt at not being able to access the information on my computer. On day one, I panicked and paced the floor and changed my password a few times. When that didn’t work I got angry and changed my password one more time. This time to a few choice swear words. Still nothing. My kids gave me permission to swear out loud. I did. A few day later, with the help of two very brilliant tech gurus, I now have access to my computer and all my programs and files. Here are the lessons I learned and the changes I will be implementing immediately.

Lesson #1 – Create a back-up your computer on a regular basis. I’m adding this to my weekly to do list. A backup done regularly every 6 months is not very useful. One of my guardian tech guru angels imparted this bit of knowledge; “It’s not a matter of if your hard drive will crash, but when your hard drive will crash.” I keep a lot of information on the hard drive of my computer. Yes, I do use a cloud storage service as well. However, when your user account is lost even the cloud can’t save you. Luckily, my hard drive didn’t crash, but I’m not taking any chances going forward.

Lesson #2 – Know who the tech gurus in your life are. If you don’t know any, find one. Stat. And know what their favorite liquor is. You might find yourself on the phone with them for an hour on a Friday night interrupting their family dinner time. Or asking them to take time out of their work day to bring your laptop back from the land of oversized paper weights. I’m not completely computer illiterate, but debits and credits are my career language of choice. If you are in the same position, you will eventually need someone who speaks your technology’s language fluently. Might as well find them now so when you are in panic mode you know who to call.

If anyone can benefit from my experience over these past five days, then my panic had a purpose! The computers and tech devices that we rely on every day to save us time and keep us connected are fabulous, when they are working correctly. When your income generating ability depends on them working properly they become paramount to your business. Show your devices a little love. Keep them clean and their hard drives free of clutter. Enjoy all the best things they have to offer; but maybe more importantly, make some time to prepare for the worst.