We’re so used to being surrounded by technology that we tend to take it for granted. It’s easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to maintaining our physical health and the health of our machines, too. Personal devices are so ubiquitous and easy to use that we may not even realise some of the following ideas should be done regularly to keep everything working well and more importantly, secure. Try implementing these ideas to see an improvement in your digital life balance.
Digital habits to avoid
Leaving your device on sleep mode when not in use
It’s always easier to close the lid of your laptop or allow your desktop computer to go into sleep mode at the end of the day. It’s very easy to fall into the habit of doing this at the end of every session or work day. The trouble with leaving your computer running all the time is that it never has the chance to refresh its memory or install needed updates. Have you noticed that your processing speeds slow down once you’ve been doing that for a while? Reboot it twice a week (at least turn it off when you leave on Friday nights).
Clicking ‘install later’
Updates may be one of the most annoying things about using computers. After all, they usually demand to be installed at the exact moment you need to send an urgent email. Updates and patches are issued as a matter of urgency for software designers and should be installed as soon as possible. While sometimes they correct bugs and errors, they often fix known gateways for hackers to exploit. Updating your computer as soon as you’re notified protects your data and can make your computing experience better overall. Your IT team may be able to schedule some updates for non-working hours, don’t hesitate to speak with them to see if it’s possible.
Delaying data back up
We spend a lot of time and money protecting our sensitive business and personal data from hackers. We build digital walls to ensure no-one can get in and take sensitive documents and photos. But often, we also fail to protect that same data from chance, that is, dropped laptops, spilled coffees, and theft. If your computer was stolen, could you access your data? If you dropped your phone, could you recover the images? Regularly back up your data onto one of the many free or cheap online cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive to separate your data from your devices.
Using the same password for everything
We’ve all been guilty of this terrible tech habit, but it’s probably the worst one of the lot. Your personal accounts can be hacked and then used to access internal business networks. Never use the same password for separate accounts. Update your passwords regularly, using a nonsensical string of letters, numbers and even symbols. Write them down in a paper notebook or use a digital password manager. Enable 2-step verification for sensitive accounts like the email that you use to register for all those other services. Your company’s IT systems may force you to update your passwords regularly. If they don’t, update your passwords methodically every 2-3 months to make it difficult for others to access your personal information.
User behaviour habits to avoid
Hunching and poor posture
There’s a lot of talk in occupational health circles that suggests sitting for extended periods every day can be bad for overall health. If you’re desk-bound there are a few ideas that can help get you moving and remain productive. Every hour or so, get up and go for a short walk. Standing desks are also available. Make sure your workstation chair and monitor are positioned to encourage good posture and learn some basic stretches to loosen a hunched neck and shoulders.
Eating lunch at your desk
Sometimes it feels impossible to step away from the desk, even for lunch. This workplace attitude encourages even more sitting at the desk, which we’ve discovered isn’t great for health. Second, eating over your keyboard can accumulate crumbs and grease in your working area. Once a week wipe down your workspace with anti-bacterial wipes and loosen any grit from your keyboard mount. Keeping your space in hygienic condition will help reduce colds and flus, too.
Using your devices when it’s unsafe
Data theft can happen anytime. What you might not realise is that it’s not just limited to hacked emails. If you take business calls in public spaces, be mindful of what information you’re sharing. It’s very easy to overhear confidential information and recording devices are in everyone’s pockets. Speak briefly when on the phone and explain that you’re not free to speak if necessary. You can offer to follow up with any sensitive data in private via email or defer the call to a better time.
Using devices in public can also put you or others in physical danger. Avoid walking and using your device at the same time so you don’t walk into traffic or trip on a hazard. Looking at your device while driving is extremely risky and must be avoided at all times. If your notification is urgent, stop walking or pull over to answer it.
Using your devices while in company
This is a bad tech habit that we’re still negotiating boundaries around. There are times when using your device while in company can be considered rude. Generally, don’t cut people off or ignore conversation in order to check your phone. Be aware of your conversation partner and if in doubt, excuse yourself before checking for an urgent update.
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