I’ve been using a Fitbit now since the start of the year. I enjoy having it collect some data about my activity but I haven’t been using it as much as I would like. For example, the default goal for steps in a day is 10,000, but I rarely make an effort to get to that total anymore. I am hoping that with some warmer weather ahead I will be able to take advantage of a few moment of free time when I can just go for a walk around the block to buy some ice cream.

One thing I like to do before I take a trip is to make certain my Fitbit is fully charged. Today when I went to do charge my Fitbit I found that it was no longer attached to my pants. As much as I hoped that someone was taking my Fitbit for a much needed walk without me the fact of the matter started to sink in with me: I now had a missing Fitbit.

As with any “production down”scenario I was now faced with three options as to what I should do next.

The first option is to panic. I could run around screaming to everyone about how the Fitbit was lost, probably forever, and we needed to get a replacement instead of wasting time looking for the original. I’ve seen many managers do far too much panicking for any given situation. I think we all know the type.

The second option is to think about every place I had been all day and start placing phone calls and hope that someone had found and returned my Fitbit. I’ve people spend far too much time analyzing different scenarios for solutions without ever knowing how a system actually works.

The last option is to take a moment and think about things logically and understand a bit more about the system in order to see if a solution presents itself. You don’t need to panic, and you don’t need to say “it depends” and head off in 27 different directions in an effort to find a solution. Don’t confuse activity with action. You can always find people that look busy, but they may not be getting anything done.

And then there are those that just can’t see the forest through the trees.

After I realized that my Fitbit was missing I did spend some time looking near my couch thinking it had fallen off while I was, um, resting earlier today. It wasn’t there. I *did* think about calling places to ask if I had lost it but the list was long and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the phone. I stopped and thought about the Fitbit and how it worked. It doesn’t have a GPS embedded in it, but it is wireless as it can use Bluetooth. In fact, I could easily check to see if the Fitbit was still in my house or not by simply checking the time of the last sync.

I have a Bluetooth dongle in my iMac already but I went and enabled the Bluetooth on my phone too and soon found this:

How to find a lost Fitbit

How awesome is that! This tells me that my Fitbit is still in the house! So I don’t need to panic, or start calling everyone and ask if one was found. I should be able to quickly and easily narrow down all the places I was this afternoon since I was, um, resting.

I spent a few minutes looking in my office and then decided that I should pack for my trip to the PASS Business Analytics conference in Chicago this week. I had laid out my clothes earlier and thought that perhaps I may find the Fitbit laying around somewhere. I grabbed my luggage and was shocked to see this:

How to find a lost fitbit

I have no idea why I would have clipped my Fitbit to my luggage. None. Perhaps I was tired and needed a nap.

At any rate, this event reminded me that when things go wrong it never helps to panic. Sometimes taking a moment to think about how a system works (i.e., the Fitbit has Bluetooth which can help me pinpoint it’s location) is worth the time as opposed to thinking about a plethora of other options that are likely nothing more than edge cases.

So, to recap, when faced with a “production down” outage, here’s my checklist:

  1. Don’t panic. It doesn’t ever help. Not once.
  2. Assess the situation. Examine the symptoms. Think about the possible causes.
  3. Read your procedures checklist (you do have one, right?)
  4. Don’t start making a bunch of changes all at once, hoping that people think your being busy is a good sign.
  5. Also remember that you can keep calm and recover from backups. You *do* have backups, right?

I’ll leave with with a reminder about Occam’s Razor.