I check out a website every morning, for their Daily Inspiration post. Today, I didn’t get to it until this afternoon. But the inspiration was definitely needed.

Out of the whole post, this line stuck out at me: Challenge can often be frustrating, yet in that frustration is a powerful degree of motivation. This line stuck out, because today has been very challenging, and thus very frustrating.

What started as a normal day, with plans of grocery shopping, laundry (oh, crap, I need to go start laundry!), and writing along with some swimming and fun with my kids, has turned into an anxiety-ridden late morning and afternoon.

My laptop suddenly popped up with a message that it had detected hard drive problems and basically demanding that I back things up and take care of this. Well, I’m trying, but this is not an easy task. I have several thousand photos, totaling about 80GB, that I have to back up. This is easier done online, but it’s a very slow process. (I’m still working on this, about 4 hours after I started)

I have numerous files for my books, research, ideas, etc. that all need to be backed up. That was a fairly quick and painless task, since I was able to put that all on a thumb drive, but still took a little time.

But there is definitely truth in the idea that “in that frustration is a powerful degree of motivation.” You see, I know that backing up your computer is crucial. I even have an automatic back up that I use. But I’d slacked off on confirming that said automatic back up was actually working correctly and backing up my files. Plus, for months, I’ve intended to use a secondary location to back up my photos as well, since I have photos of my kids from infancy that I desperately don’t want to lose (actually, it would be a third location, since they’re on my computer, on my auto back up, and would also be in this third one, but I digress).

But I’d gotten kind of lazy about all of that. I was busy: I had to “do school” with my kids, I had to write, I had to edit, I had to cook/clean/run errands/insert other “need to do” here. I always had something that needed to be done and couldn’t wait. This could. I’d worry about backing things up later. Tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, next week, next month.

Well, it seems I’ve run out of tonights, tomorrows, weekends, weeks, months. This persistent “You have a hard drive problem! Back your things up, you idiot!” message is forcing me to drop everything else and make sure that everything is fully backed up. This is how I learned that even though my automatic back up claims to be backing up regularly (every 15 minutes, in fact), some of my most important files with changes as recent as yesterday, are showing in the back up system as not having changed since the beginning of June, or even as far back as April. Clearly, something has been lost here.

I’ve yet to figure out where the “oops” is in that system. At this moment, I’m more concerned with getting this stuff backed up for sure, so that I can then address what’s wrong with my hard drive and hopefully repair it. Of course, this has turned into an all day job, which is frustrating me to no end. It’s tedious, boring and way too slow for my taste. But when the alternative is to lose file that are vitally important to me, all I can do is suck it up and deal with it.

So yes, in my frustration there is a huge degree of motivation. It’s an immediate motivation, in terms of working right now to solve this problem before it becomes unsolvable. But there’s also a longer term motivation, in that this is reminding me that I can’t keep putting off making sure things are backed up. If I’d stayed on top of this task, this process would have been a matter of minutes, rather than hours. It’s motivating me to work up a concrete schedule to make sure that I regularly back up photos, files, and even my browser bookmarks on a regular basis, so that I won’t lose these things if a sudden problem comes up that doesn’t give me any time to double check things.

There are certainly other, bigger, more life changing or even life threatening challenges that I could be facing right now. Remembering that does help me keep this in perspective. But it doesn’t ease any of my frustration or anxiety, because this is the particular challenge I’m faced with right now and it’s the one I’m stuck dealing with.

Now that I’ve taken a few deep breaths, it’s time to get back to coaxing everything to do what I want it to do.