Now that the party decorations have been stuffed in the attic until next year it’s time to get stuck in to those New Year’s resolutions you promised yourself. I’m sure you’ve made set all kinds of positive challenges for yourself, but did you set any goals for your digital life?
It’s easy to forget that just like our physical lives, our digital lives need maintenance too, but luckily it’s never too late to add one or two more goals to your list. Need some inspiration?
1. Be security conscious
As more devices become internet enabled the importance of staying on top of online security grows. It’s no longer enough to have an anti-virus on the home PC alone. Many of us now have a phone, tablet and a laptop as well as a desktop computer so it’s important to make sure they are equally protected. Most of the popular anti-viruses sell packages that include mobile protection for tablets and phones so install one right away.
Making sure that all software and apps are up to date is equally important as new versions include fixes to vulnerabilities that hackers use to steal data. If you never update you’re leaving your devices open to attack.
Another security no-no is using the same password for multiple sites. If a hacker works out your password and happens to know your emails address they will have access to every account you have online. Of course, memorising 100’s of passwords is impossible, so start using an encrypted password manager such as Last Pass or Roboform. Many password managers have mobile capability too, meaning that with just one log-in you will be able to access all of your passwords on the go.
And finally, be sure to set up 2 step authentication on accounts wherever possible for an added layer of security. This stops unknown devices from logging in to your accounts. All you need is a mobile phone or in some cases an authenticator such as Google Authenticator.
2. Clean up your online presence
There are tons of reasons a person would want to clean up their online identity (do you really want your boss finding that awkward poem you posted on My Space back in ’03 after you broke up with your first boyfriend?) but one thing’s for sure; we all need to keep on top of our digital image.
Start by Googling your name, and then your name + city, then name + college or profession. Be sure to check the image results too as this will bring up any long forgotten embarrassing selfies. Hopefully you’re happy with what you’ve found. If not there are ways to improve your results.
3. Turn it off
Probably not something you’d expect to see in a tech post, but taking time away from your devices can do wonders for your productivity. How often do you find yourself sat in front of a blank page daydreaming for minutes at a time? Or scrolled through social media aimlessly, not even interested in what is on the page. These are signs you need a tech break. Try to spend one day a week away from all of your screens – yep, even your phone.
If a full day off isn’t possible, try giving yourself a tech curfew. Switching off tech a few hours before bed every night will help your sleep cycle reset itself which can help with insomnia and concentration problems. Leave your phone in another room, or if your phone is also your alarm leave it across the room to avoid temptation.
But sometimes not even a tech curfew is possible. If this is the case for you then at least try and limit your social media intake. Social media is great, but taking in too much pointless information (come on, you know it’s true) can result in a burn out, draining us of energy we need to complete important tasks.
However you decide to tackle your New Year’s resolutions, I wish you the best of luck!