You’ve heard it a million times: "My computer crashed! Is it Mercury Retrograde?"
For the uninitiated, Mercury Retrograde comes approximately three times a year. This is the phase when Mercury, the planet of communication, data, messages and travel begins to slow down in its orbit.
Although the planet isn’t exactly going backwards, it appears to do so from our perspective on Earth -- throwing our lives into chaos and confusion. Trains are late, your commute is a mess, you lose your phone or misunderstand your colleague and get into an argument. It’s rarely fun, but it’s almost always an adventure!
The first Mercury retrograde phase of 2014 arrives on February 6, but there’s a two-week to ten-day “shadow phase” that comes before the exact day that the planet of communication stations retrograde. That’s why we already felt the impending retrograde phase during the last week of January, and possibly why Gmail went down on the same day that the shadow phase began.
This is instructive for all of us because if a mammoth web presence like Gmail can go down, well, we’re probably in for it too. The good news is that when it comes to a retrograde, a little bit of prep can save you every time. Even though we’re already in the shadow, there’s still plenty that you can do to ready yourself for the upcoming (and every other) Mercury retrograde phase.
Start by backing up your computer. If you have time, run a backup every day for the month of February -- or at least every other day. If you use Cloud for backup, make sure your service is robust. If you don’t understand any of this, get a techie to do it for you -- STAT! You don’t want to lose all your precious data, do you?
Make sure that your batteries are fresh for all your gadgets -- including your tablet and cell phone. Look at that pile of papers on your desk, go through and make sure you’re not missing something that must be dealt with immediately. Things like this can easily slip through the cracks as Mercury Retrograde approaches.
Try not to buy any electronics during the retrograde phase. If you simply must expense a new iPad, try to do it before the retrograde begins on February 6 -- or wait until well after it ends on the 28th.
When it comes to your commute, know before you go! Don’t get caught with unexpected delays and end up late for work and that important, can’t-miss meeting.
Finally, if you have a business trip planned, check that itinerary not once, not twice, but three or even four times. You simply can’t go over the details too much -- seriously. Despite that, expect delays and give yourself more time on the way to the airport.
A small bit of prep work can make all the difference during Mercury Retrograde. Take the time to get all your data ducks in a row -- you’ll be so glad you did!