It's amazing how focused I can get when it really, really counts. There was no coasting for me today, because I was sure I was losing all the work I'd done in the lat month. That's how long it's been since I've done a document backup, and suddenly this afternoon the computer wasn't behaving like itself.
My first clue was the keyboard. I would type something, but it wouldn't show up on the monitor right away. Then the mouse cursor started harassing me. I'd move the mouse, and a second or two later the cursor would respond. You can imagine how awkward it is to work that way.
After I rebooted the machine, the situation got worse. I was in panic mode. After starting a virus scan that seemed to be going nowhere, I decided that backing up my files was the most prudent course of action. The trouble was that things were still moving so slowly that at one point I got the message, "Time remaining: 12 days and 1 hour."
This was going nowhere, so I stopped it and turned the computer off for a few minutes. When I turned it back on, everything seemed suddenly normal. The first thing I did was a full document backup. Then, after talking to Jeannie (who always has good ideas), I downloaded an anti-spyware program and ran a full disk defrag. That's something else I hadn't done in way too long.
Now that I seem to have things working more or less normally again, I have to get in the habit of backing up and cleaning the hard drive more often. I have all these tools to keep bad stuff from happening. It isn't very smart not to use them. I just hope the sense of urgency I found in today's emergency carries over.