It’s a New Year – which means that the gym will be busy until sometime around mid-February. It’s a great time to review your top goals for 2016 (or resolutions - whatever you want to call them). Perhaps most importantly, it’s a great time to get your technical house in order.
Here are our top 6 recommendations for technology goals you should set for yourself:
1. Change your password regularly.
For those of you who don’t change your password regularly, the top of 2016 is a great time to do that across all your accounts: personal (like Facebook and Twitter) and professional (such as your Quickbooks Admin password or your Office 365 password). You should be changing this every 90 days! We know - it’s a pain - but not nearly as painful as someone hacking your account.
2. Review and update privacy settings.
Review your privacy settings, particularly for Facebook and Google Accounts. You may be publicly posting information you'd rather keep private - and information that could be used against you to guess passwords or answers to security questions. Both Facebook and Google add new "features" on a regular basis and tend to opt users in by default. Recently, Facebook even changed their search so public posts now appear when you search for a subject. Review these settings and update them as needed so you aren't broadcasting information you'd rather keep private.
3. Take advantage of unused features and programs.
Take advantage of features you aren't using in services you're paying for. We have a lot of Office 365 customers who don't use the service to its full potential, simply because they don't know everything it can do. One part that often gets overlooked is Onenote. Personally, I use OneNote heavily both professionally and personally. It syncs across all my devices, so I don’t have to keep up with all my handwritten notes and to-do lists, which goes a long way to keeping me organized.
4. Use Clutter in Outlook.
Turn on Clutter for Office 365. This has been a game changer for me. If you aren’t familiar with Clutter, it is a part of Office 365 that moves all mail that it deems as ‘non-essential’ to a Clutter folder. It is remarkably accurate. It uses machine learning to determine what senders you tend to interact with most and what senders you normally just delete. You can also train it by moving messages in and out of the Clutter folder. Over time, your mailbox will be much cleaner.
5. Use a password manager.
Use a password manager (like LastPass or 1Password) to store your passwords. We’ve discussed this on the blog several times but it’s worth mentioning again. One of the worst security mistakes you can make is using the same password across sites or services.
It’s a common mistake because it’s so hard to keep up with all your passwords. Password managers solve this problem for you. They generate and store secure passwords for you and makes logging into your sites and services a snap. Most even has mobile apps so you log in, no matter what device you're using.
Unplug more. Listen. We love technology - we'll be the first people to tell you how much technology can improve your life and your work when used right. But our mobile devices have turned into tethers. While they are powerful, useful, and help keep us productive, if left unchecked their use can interfere with our daily life. (It can even impact your posture and your mood according to a recent study.) I installed an app called ‘Moment’ recently that tracks your time on your phone. I won’t share the number (I am too embarrassed), but suffice it to say that using the app has opened my eyes to the ‘moments’ I am missing!