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Six Effective Tips to Work from Home

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Six Effective Tips to Work from Home

In recent years there has been an increase in home based employees and I am among the masses who now call their home their office. I am self employed but whether you work for yourself or an established employer you are likely to face obstacles similar to those that I encountered. Early on as my business was first established I made a few mistakes and fell into the common pitfalls of working from home. I have since learned to overcome those obstacles and I would like to share my tips for working effectively from home with you.

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  1. Setting up a functional workspace is critical to the success from a work from home employee. Try setting up your space so that it contains all of the necessary equipment that you need. You may decorate your workspace so that it is aesthetically appealing but try to keep distractions to a minimum.
  2. Establishing a working schedule is also important. Having regularly scheduled hours when you work will help you to be more efficient during these times. Be sure to schedule work time as well as break times so that you will not become overwhelmed. One of the pitfalls that some work from home employees fall into is working too many hours. In an office there is a clear signal to the end of the day as other employees start to leave the office for the day but at home employees sometimes have difficulty ending their day.
  3. Being able to motivate yourself is critical for the work at home employee. In an office situation, you have a supervisor and co-workers who motivate you to complete your work but when you are working at home, you only have yourself to push you to succeed.
  4. Maintaining a professional attitude is also important for the work from home employee. If you have frequent client interactions, be careful to answer the phone or respond to their emails in a professional way. A home office may be an informal environment that affords you the luxury of dressing casually but client interactions should always follow certain decorum. Keeping your interactions businesslike will ensure that the client does not begin to doubt the amount or quality of work that is being put into their projects.
  5. Considering hiring a day care provider is another tip for working from home. Those who have young children may find it difficult to attend to the needs of their children while fulfilling their job obligations. For this reason it may be worthwhile to have a day care provider care for your child during your working hours.
  6. Avoid volunteering for too many activities. Many people will assume that because you work at home you are free to help them run errands, pick up their children from school or be an emergency babysitter if their child has a cold. While you may want to help your friends and family members, it is important to make it clear that your work is just as important as theirs and that you have obligations to take care of each day.

These are the tips that helped me to work effectively from home but you may find other tricks or ideas that help you to improve your efficiency and productivity while working from home. The important thing to remember is that your home based job deserves the same attention and dedication as an office position. Following the tips that I have provided will help you to become a lucrative and productive home based worker.

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

The easy fundamentals

First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

Here are some examples of strong passwords:
* i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
* ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
* mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

And not so good examples
* sammy1234
* password123
* christopher

You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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Managing your passwords

I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

Upkeep

You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

Alternatives

You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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  1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
  2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
  3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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