A Facepalm a Day Keeps The Productivity Preaching Away

In my past life, I was a tiny habit of preaching the virtue of productivity best practices. Yet even the most organized of individuals have facepalm moments. I experienced one myself last week.

The Backstory
The Boss and I were preparing for a conference call with a client who was considering a migration from a Shared Drive to a SharePoint site. The Boss launched into a lengthy list of differences in functionality between SharePoint Foundation, Standard and Enterprise 2010. Realizing the opportunity to record his commentary was slipping away, yet desperate to not interrupting his flow, I reached for the computer and started typing in the program I happened to have open, which at the time was Notepad. At the end of our interaction, it was time to call the client so I saved the file to the desktop and moved on. That decision ended costing me an extra thirty minutes later on.

The Moment of Panic
An hour later I opened the Notepad file I had saved on my desktop and triggered a painful reaction, one that resulted in the palm of my hand smacking into my face with a force that only jedis and deep regret can harness. Half of the notes in my document had disappeared. Panicked at the thought of having to dig deep into my maxed out memory banks to retrieve two pages of data, a slew of less than ladylike words escaped my lips. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

The Sudden Realization
Realization hit me suddenly, but no less gently. In my haste to move onto my next task I must have accidentally copied over the bottom half of my document as I pounded out a flurry of cut, copy, and paste keyboard commands. Saving and closing the file sealed my fate. As I had moved on to another project, the text in question was long gone from my Clipboard.

So What’s a Girl to Do?
In my case, race around my office begging my more technically savvy colleagues to assist. No such luck. I had chosen the ONE program on my computer that didn’t save a cache of previous versions that could be received. I ended up retyping the entire list from memory, duplicating effort and wasting my time. Two things I detest.

Next Time
How could I have prevented this from happening? In hindsight, almost any other option would have been better – and offered a potential to retrieve the data. But what’s the best practice in this situation?

If you have SharePoint, open your SharePoint site, navigate to your document library and create a new document using the button in the Ribbon. The Save As file path will point to the document library you have open. You can always move the file later – but at least if you have a version history to assist you if you accidentally delete data.

But would this really have worked?
In my case, no. It is important to note that SharePoint does not save a new version of your document every time you make a change to the document or every time you save the document. SharePoint only saves a version to the history when the file is saved and closed. Since the only time I saved and closed was at the end AFTER I had accidentally deleted the bottom half of my document, I would be no better off.

The Best Practice
In actuality my best option would have been to open OneNote. Designed for taking notes, OneNote keeps a history of page versions which can be reviewed and restored if neede­­d. A new version is created any time a change is made to the page (source). For even faster note-taking, take a moment to pin the program to your task bar to save you time later.