A Tidy Start to the New Year

Jan 1st, 2013 by Meri in Lifehacks, Productivity

With the new year upon us, take some opportunity to do some tidying. Clearing up some mental garbage, if you will. Those little niggling things that aren’t quite big enough to keep you up at night, but chitter at the edge of your consciousness.

Here are five things you can do to quiet that chittering and to have an altogether tidier start to the new year.

1. Sort out your passwords

We all know the best practice that we should have good strong passwords, unique to each site that we use. But how many of us can really claim it?

Solutions like Lastpass (cloud solution, premium account gives you mobile apps) or 1Password (cloud and device-only options) or KeePass (open source, device-only) are all worth looking at. It depends on your own tinfoil hat comfort level which will suit you best, but certainly anything that helps you have more unique passwords can only help!

2. Pull together all your insurance documents

Home insurance. Car insurance. Bike insurance. Travel insurance. Pet insurance.

Do you know where all those documents are right now?

Go find them, put them all in one well-marked folder. It’s a simple thing, but you’ll be surprised how satisfying it is to know exactly where your important documents are when you need them. And when you don’t.

3. Put your passport somewhere safe AND memorable

You know what an awesome place to stash your passport is? In a click-lock box like one of these.

Seriously.

It’s harder to lose than anything flat, can’t accidentally get trapped between paperwork or folders, and can be stashed somewhere REALLY memorable. Like in the cupboard behind the tea bags, or in your underwear drawer, or behind a much-watched DVD boxset. You’ve probably got either all of West Wing or Buffy or Battlestar Galactica up there, right? 😉

4. Sort your backups out

If you don’t already have an automated, incremental backup solution sorted, then spend a little time to pick one and sort it out. I favour Crashplan personally, but there are a plethora of options — some to the cloud, some to another computer in your network or to an attached external hard drive (CrashPlan can do all of these).

Also don’t forget to occasionally back up everything in your Dropbox or similar!

5. Be nice to your future self

Remember the half hour lost untangling Xmas lights? Or ferreting out decorations? Finding your menorah? Be nice to yourself, 11.5 months from now. Pack your winter festival stuff away sensibly, in a big box that a present arrived in, or something. Stash it so all you have to do next year is find ONE BOX. Next year you will be Proper Grateful.

Simple things, seemingly not that important, but try it. I think you’ll find the small sense of relief is palpable. 

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