Georgina Guedes

Life's little 'should haves'

2012-04-13 07:10

I stand before you an almost broken woman in the wake of a computer crash to rival what we all feared would happen at Y2K.

I am not much of a techie so I can't go into any specific details, but the upshot was that I lost everything in the folder I was working on alphabetically after the letter “F”. There's quite a lot of alphabet after F.

So, instead of going away for the Easter weekend, I stayed home and redid all the documents from G to Z of a client's newsletter. It was a long weekend.

Incidents like this fill your head with “should haves”. I should have saved (I did), I should have backed up (I do, just not every week), I should be working in the cloud instead of on a notoriously unstable PC (yes, I should).

I found a kind of Zen flow over Easter in redoing a job already done, and it wasn't as unpleasant as it could have been. But I don't really want to dwell on it, other than letting anyone who's twitching know that I will be using Dropbox in future.

What I do want to share with you is my list of “should haves” - the things you know you should be doing, that somehow everyone else seems to be doing, that you never quite get to, but that bite you hard on the bum when it all unravels.

1. You should have been working in Dropbox
In the same way as Gmail keeps all your email on the web, accessible from anywhere, Dropbox saves your documents. It's not just a backup or file sharing solution; you can actually use it as your My Documents folder as long as you're working online at all times - and these days, who isn't?

2. You should have signed a contract
Whether you're buying a house with a partner you're not married to, hiring a contractor, taking a commission or employing a domestic worker, lay down the expectations and requirements upfront and sign a contract. No matter how normal the two people entering into the agreement seem at the start, no one can predict the green-fanged monster they will become when the going gets tough.

3. You should have got their name
How many times have you walked away from a tricky situation with a partial resolution that depends on the understanding of one, key individual? A week later, the solution hasn't materialised and the person matching the description has not only vaporised but erased all records and of their existence among co-workers. Get their name. Write it down. (Get their number if they're cute.)

4. You should have used a condom
HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies are almost entirely preventable. Need I say more? On a similar serious note, wear a seatbelt.

5. You should have started weeks ago
As I've matured, I've got better at this. You can still write an article at the last minute, but if you haven't   done the groundwork, you can't guarantee you'll be able to get hold of someone when the second hand is ticking down to deadline. Even if you work well under pressure, read through the requirements of the job straight away and be sure you have everything that you need long before you pull an all-nighter.

6. You should have walked away
Nasty break-ups, fights with friends, drunken arguments... There's a point at which we all should have just let it go. Whether or not the situation was salvageable, your pride was. Look behind you...

7. You should have left it alone
Hair or cooking. It was perfect. It isn't now.

8. You should have dated Peter Jenkins
We all have one - the guy we overlooked because we were desperately in love with someone else. The nice guy, the good guy, the guy who was right for us at the time. I'm not saying you should have married him, but you should have given him a chance.

9. You should have called a plumber (electrician, mechanic)
You should have kept your mouth shut, actually, person delivering this one - especially if it's to your husband who's got water squirting up his nose from a faulty pipe under the sink that he was determined to fix himself.

10. You should have checked the mirror
Smeared lipstick, spinach in your teeth, weird hair. All preventable.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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