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Why Haven’t You Organized Your Passwords?

Why Haven’t You Organized Your Passwords?

Keys

    In my work with clients I have run into passwords in all kinds of unbelievably random and insecure places. I always shrink back from them when I see them… I don’t want to know! Passwords are the key to unimaginable ruin in the wrong hands, and it consistently shocks me how careless people are with this information. (It’s just as bad as how often I see people who don’t do computer backups!)

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    “I don’t need to have a system… I have one password I use for everything.”
    Think again. I know of a person in my area whose Yahoo e-mail password was compromised, and once the thief infiltrated his e-mail account he used forgotten password functi

      ons on other websites to unlock many more (they were just emailed right to him!). Since the thief quickly realized that the same password had been used for everything, it was a piece of cake for all accounts to be penetrated. By the time the victim discovered the breach, all hell had broken loose, involving eBay, PayPal, and $32,000 of merchandise about to be shipped to Africa… no kidding.

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      Lessons learned: Use a very strong password to protect your e-mail account, guard it fiercely, and use different passwords to avoid one compromising all of the others.

      You also need to be mindful of being hit by the proverbial bus. Would important people know how to get this information if something happened to you? Make sure that you do have a system and that someone else knows how to access it in an emergency.

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      Electronic Password Keepers
      There are many great database applications made for storing passwords. A previous Lifehack article by Leo Babauta lists ten free apps you can use, but I like SplashID, which costs $20, is available for both Mac and PC, and synchronizes its desktop component with almost all major PDA platforms. I really like having my information with me, securely encrypted, when I am away from my desk. Whatever application you choose, DON’T use a Word or Excel document for this purpose (especially one named “PASSWORDS”) that can be easily infiltrated.

      Along with passwords and other login information, I also enjoy using the SplashID database for keeping many other data tidbits, such as software licensing information, identification numbers like my family’s Social Security numbers, my cars’ VIN numbers, computer support information and service tags, and frequent flyer program numbers.

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      Paper-Based Password Keepers
      Some people are reluctant to use electronic solutions, and if so, you can either repurpose an address book or use a 3×5” index card file. (I am sure our loyal readers will have a few suggestions, too.) There are also a few products on the market now that are made just for this purpose, such as the Internet Password Organizer. It’s basically a black, nondescript book with laminated alphabetical index tabs like an address book, but the printed fields are tailored to computer-related needs.

      Tips on Paper-Based Systems:

      • Use a pencil to write down your entries as they may change.
      • Don’t label your card file box or password keeper book with the word “PASSWORDS!” Keep it on the down-low.
      • You may want to write down the passwords as “hints” instead of the actual passwords, in case your password keeper is lost or compromised. For a password like “fido1995,” you might write a hint like “dog+year” that you’ll definitely remember.
      • If you use index cards, they have more room to write other details about the account, such as logs of customer service notes or order dates.
      • Do NOT write password hints that are relative to other accounts, like “same as Amazon,” because that can become a big cross-referencing mess quickly when you change the referred-to accounts.

      On a final note, PLEASE do not use your birthday or your children’s names any more! (See this previous Lifehack article on how to create strong passwords.) Whether your system is electronic or paper, one of the best advantages of having a system is that you can use even more secure passwords and change them up, since you are no longer relying on your own memory.

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      Published on July 15, 2019

      10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

      10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

      Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

      Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

      At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

      You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

      That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

      So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

      1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

      Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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      Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

      2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

      Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

      This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

      However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

      3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

      I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

      With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

      4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

      This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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      Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

      For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

      5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

      A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

      It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

      6. Walk as Much as You Can 

      Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

      Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

      When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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      7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

      How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

      But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

      For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

      8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

      No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

      When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

      9. Practice Self Care 

      Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

      The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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      10. Embrace Learning 

      You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

      Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

      I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

      Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

      If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

      Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

      So start making your life better — today!

      Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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