It’s a new year, and we’re busy setting goals and making resolutions. One of mine is to spend at least an hour outside every day.
Let’s jump into a few ways to boost your security, increase your productivity, and tidy up your digital life.
1. Inventory your valuables
I’m in the middle of a move. While clearing out 17 years of junk, I realized it had been a long time since I did a thorough inventory of our valuables.
Having a home inventory list is a lifesaver in the case of a disaster or break-in. The last thing you want to do at a time like that is scramble to find receipts or rack your brain to put together an insurance claim.
Be sure to catalog your electronics, furniture, jewelry, appliances, family heirlooms, clothing, decor, luggage, tools, instructions, art, and any collector’s items. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and you can always consult your home or renter’s insurance company for recommendations.
2. Refresh your home network
Is your home network locked down? Are you sure? I find this is a common cybersecurity blind spot.
First, check your password. You should never stick with the default username and password. Even if you changed yours long ago, it might be time for an update to something more secure.
Can’t keep a handle on all those long, unique passwords? A digital password manager is the safest route, but password journals can get the job done. Just keep yours somewhere safe where snoops can’t get to it. .
Next, ensure your router’s firmware is up to date. Updates often contain important security patches, but most of us don’t look for equipment patches like the router.
- Head to your router admin page: You’ll need your router’s IP address as well as your admin password, which you can find in your router’s user guide.
- In the admin page, find a section called Advanced or Management. This is where you’ll find firmware updates. Download any available updates. Now your system is up to date.
If there’s an option in your router settings that enables automatic updates, turn it on. Also, make sure wireless encryption is running at the standard for WPA2 or WPA3.
3. Take back your inbox
Are you the type of person that keeps your inbox at zero, or do you open it up to find hundreds or thousands of unread messages? Instead of manually combing through the junk, take a few minutes to automate the cleanup.
Search filters allow you to find emails by category, content, size of attached files and more. Log into your email from your web browser and navigate to the search bar.
Let’s say you have a ton of emails from a company you no longer want to hear from. Search for the email address in the search bar. Now you can easily bulk delete all those messages.
File photo of hands of business person working on computer.
4. Give your browser a fresh start
Our browser is where we spend most of our time online. Give yours a thorough cleanup by clearing the cache. Note: This will remove your logins, so you will have to sign back into the websites.
To clear your cache in Chrome, click the three-dot menu. Hover over More Tools, then select Clear Browsing Data. A new page will open. Select a timeframe, from one hour to all time. Select Clear data to complete the process.
If you use Firefox, click the three-line menu in the top right corner, then click on History. Select Clear Recent History and choose your timeframe. Hit OK to complete.
For Microsoft Edge, select the three-dot menu in the upper top right corner, then choose Settings > Privacy, search and services. Under Clear browsing data, click Choose what to clear. Select a timeframe and click Clear now.
In Safari, open a browser window, then click Safari in the top toolbar. Choose Clear History, select a timeframe, then click Clear History to finish the job.
5. Give your tech a good wipe down
There are also your devices’ ports to consider. Cotton swabs can leave fuzz and lint, and metal knives and safety pins leave scratches. Stay away from toothpicks, too, since they can snap off. Use plastic cleaners, like dental floss picks or foam.
If you’re going for a total overhaul, start by conducting a home inventory. (iStock)
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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.