I actually had another tip ready to post, but I’ll save that one for next week. This week, in loving memory of my hard drive, comes this tip: have backups.
Have extra backups. Back up regularly. Back up thoroughly.
I backup all of my important files to a thumb drive that gets stored in my fire-proof safe. That one doesn’t get updated very often, maybe once a month. I also have a thumb drive that sits on my desk next to my computer. I don’t leave it in the computer, just in case there’s a really bad power surge. But it’s right there so I can back up my files EVERY TIME I CHANGE THEM.
Yes, every time.
I have the advantage of also having married a stellar IT guy, so I didn’t actually lose any of my files. (I did lose my bookmarks though. Note—-make sure you are backing up your bookmarks, especially if you do a lot of internet research.) But even without that, I had backup software, two thumb drives, and my laptop. I also have many of my files stored off site with friends, mostly through email. Alternatively, you could burn a CD and keep it off site, like in a safe deposit box. Just make sure to burn new CDs and drop them off regularly. Destroy the old ones, don't just throw them away, especially if you are backing up financial information on them.
It's important to have a backup plan and adequate coverage. Don’t risk losing your work when it only takes a minute or two to protect your files.