It is better to lose your focus than your hard work--a tip for ADHD Microsoft Word users.
by Bill Mehlman
So maybe you're not like me. Maybe you don't mind feeling that you don't have the brains God gave a katydid. Maybe you have so much free time that you like to do things twice, even if there is no possible benefit in doing so. Maybe self-loathing is, to you, as appealing as a dry martini. If so, stop reading here. Go cut your toenails. If that's not the case, perhaps you can profit from today's tale of woe.
I got about three-quarters through a lengthy proofreading job yesterday. Part of my responsibility is to compile a running list of queries and suggestions that accompany the proofs when I return them to the publisher.
To make this simple, I developed a template on my computer. As I proof, I keep entering stuff that bothers or puzzles me in the template. This way, it's easy to correct and re-order my queries and I can present a nice, organized, legible document to the editor in charge of the project.
This morning, I opened the query sheet while most of my brain was still working on some other problems. Now, I've never taken the time to sort out what MS Word means when it opens a file that you've saved and has this whole dialogue about how it found previous versions of the document and should it save them and if so which ones or do you want to look at them later. Something like that. Without devoting a nano-second of thought to the issue, I clicked on something, and found myself looking at a blank—totally empty—tabula rasa—Word doc, as pristine as the polar cap must have been 3,000 years ago. Nothing, nada, zilch, niente.
To avoid this nightmare, which will result in my spending two hours this sunny afternoon reconstructing my query sheet, would have required hard-wiring one set of instructions in my brain.
1. Open Word
2. Hit function key F12.
That opens the "Save As" dialogue box. It refuses to allow you to proceed any further until you've named the new magnum opus and specified where you want to save it. After this you're golden. There will always be a way to access your work. If you blithely begin working without executing this simple procedure, you can find yourself where I sit this morning, sipping a cold cup of coffee and contemplating my stupidity.
This is not the worst scenario by the way. Sometimes I edit onscreen. A mistake such as this could result in the loss of a week's work, maybe more. I get sick just thinking about it.
F12. Got it?
Have a nice afternoon.