It's Time to Ditch Those Bad Tech Habits
Gadget addict? Falling asleep with your iPhone tucked under your pillow? Here are a few simple things you can do to make your life run more smoothly.
Push notifications are annoying. They disrupt your workflow and wake you up in the middle of the night. It's much easier to turn push notifications off. It takes a little wrangling in iOS or Android settings but it's unlikely your day needs to be interrupted by a Google Photos push notification or Facebook telling you a friend has posted for the first time in a while. Leave the important push notifications on – messages, emails, etcetera – but ditch the rest.
Stop sleeping with your phone
A good night's sleep doesn't involve waking up and checking your emails, or the news, or Facebook before anything else. Nobody wants or needs to see a message from their boss before their brain is fully operational. Or a tweet from Donald Trump.
Thankfully, there's a simple solution: don't leave your device in the bedroom while you sleep. Charge it in another room. If you're worried you won't have an alarm clock to wake you up, buy one. Alarm clocks are cheap, and you could even use an Amazon Echo or Google Home if you don't want to go totally low-tech.
Back your data up
There's nothing worse than losing work, photos and music after spilling a coffee on your laptop, or misplacing the whole thing altogether. Backing things up is much easier than it used to be: external hard drives are much cheaper than they used to be and if you only want to back up a few files on a physical system, USB sticks can hold plenty of data.
If a physical backup still seems like too much effort then Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and a myriad of other cloud syncing services are easy to use and will keep your files safer than storing them locally for a few extra quid per month.
Tidy your apps
Uncluttering your device's home screen is a ten-minute job but one that leaves things feeling refreshed. It's like Feng shui for piece of technology that rarely leaves your side. Phones have powerful search tools built into them and it can often be easier to quickly tap in the first few letters of an app than search through pages or endless lists of apps. Put apps in folders, bring those you use the most to the front, and delete things that haven't been opened in six months. Heck, you could even try colour coding your apps for ultimate peace of mind and visual appeal.
Unsubscribe from emails
There are some wonderful email newsletters but there's also a lot of pointless marketing spam (mostly from a company you shopped at once and didn't even want to have your email address in the first place). Unfortunately, there aren't any simple ways to unsubscribe from emails en masse.
Apple's Mail app gives the option to unsubscribe from individual senders each time you open a message from a mailing list, Gmail does the same. There are services such as Unroll.Me, which shows you all mail-outs you're subscribed to free of charge. The cost? It sells user data.
Take a look at your privacy settings
Your privacy settings are the only real way you can control what companies see and know about you. They're not perfect and vary from website to website but a check over what you are posting where and to whom isn't hard to do. You can get to Facebook's privacy settings here, Google's privacy centre here, and Twitter's can be found here.
Even in 2017, the most popular passwords are ‘123456’ and ‘Password’. Seriously, come on.
This year, get yourself a password manager. It will create you strong, harder to hack passwords and store them securely. You don't need to remember all of your passwords and can have a general smugness by telling everyone else you use a password manager. There are free options, such as LastPass, Dashlane and KeePassX, or paid for options such as 1Password.