There’s no hiding from the truth – we are often in front of a screen from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Constantly checking our personal devices for updates can drive us to distraction. At work, we find a desktop work station waiting for us with so much to be done we eat lunch over our keyboards. Does this sound familiar? We’re in a digital age, and we’ve developed a lot of bad digital habits. Jokes aside, it’s not just about checking our notifications – it’s about keeping good digital hygiene, too. There are plenty of little things we can do to improve our security and safety, both on and offline.
Physical bad habits
Eating over your device
This is a very common thing for busy people to do. We aren’t going to tell you not to, but we are going to suggest that you remember to clean your devices regularly. You can wipe down screens with special cloths, and you can even find tiny vacuums to lift the debris from your keyboard. Make it a habit to clean down your devices once a week (First thing Monday morning or last thing Friday afternoon, maybe?).
This gets mentioned a lot because it’s a very common problem. Make sure you adjust your workstation to support good posture (make sure your desk and chair are at the right heights and angles). It’s important to when using mobile devices, too. Try to incorporate some stretches and time away from screens to give your neck a rest.
There are times when checking your device is considered to be an extremely bad tech habit. If you’re in a meeting or presentation, for example, failing to pay attention to the speakers can make you look unprofessional and uninterested. Set your device to silent and let the calls go through to voicemail. Unless you are waiting on an urgent update, leave your device in your pocket. It’s often appreciated to see less devices at shared meals, too.
Bad situational awareness
Taking sensitive business calls on the Tube or anywhere else you can be overheard is a simple but common bad habit. If you must take a business call in public, keep it short and simple. Leave confidential details out. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell the caller that you can’t speak freely and will follow up either in a different format (like an email or instant message) or at a different time.
Situational awareness can also relate to walking or driving while using devices. There is something to be learned when we see stopping at a red light as the right time to check our devices for notifications. Nothing on your device is worth your life, and that is what is at risk if you check your device while driving. Walking and using a device is a recipe for awkwardness at best (bumping into others) and injury at worst (walking into traffic). A good rule for both walking and driving – if it can’t wait, stop safely before checking or responding.
Digital bad habits
Fail to back up
Where do you store all of your photos? If you’re like many people, you might think moving your photos onto your personal computer is enough. But what happens if your computer is damaged, or hacked? Your precious memories could be permanently deleted. There are so many ways to back up your data these days, there really is no excuse. applications (such as iCloud or DropBox) or removable hard drives are relatively cheap and very accessible. Once you have the ability to back up, schedule a weekly reminder to do it.
Fail to reboot
Here’s a common bad tech habit. It’s tempting to close your laptop at the end of the day without shutting it down completely. Opening it back up in the morning is much faster, after all. It’s important to totally shut down your computer a couple of times a week to give the machine a chance to update any apps and refresh the memory. You’re likely to notice an uptick in processing speeds, too.
Fail to vary or update passwords
Using the same password across your personal accounts is a common error that really must be stopped. If you don’t take special care of your personal internet security, you leave yourself wide open for identity theft. If you carry these passwords across to your working environment, you can find yourself compromising not just your own data, but the intellectual property of your entire company. Keep a small notebook with them written down if you need to. Change the passwords frequently, say, every 8-16 weeks (and immediately if you’re notified of a security breach).
Fail to update
Companies release updates to devices and computers when bugs have been identified. If you are notified of an update, install it as soon as you can. It’s really not difficult and doesn’t take long. If you click ‘remind me later’ or, ‘not now’, it’s easy to forget. When your device runs on an outdated version, those known vulnerabilities become gateways for hackers. Update on time and close the door on potential hackers.
So what can we learn from these bad tech habits? You should never be too busy to undertake 30 seconds of maintenance, change up your passwords often, and always look up and pay attention to the person in front of you. Lose the bad habits listed above and you’ll be in a much cleaner, safer and more secure environment. Enjoy!
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