Welcome to our refreshed digital home! Alison and I felt the need to redecorate and enliven The Gracious Posse’s look and feel for 2017, and we started here. What do you think so far? Our re-boot list is lengthy, so look for more improvements in the weeks and months to come.
Do you need a digital cleanse, too? Because we spend more and more time on our phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, taking the time to protect and refresh those devices for the coming year makes as much sense as doing a nutritional cleanse or a whole-house deep clean and de-clutter.
Oodles of sites offer recommendations from items as simple as wiping down your screens and keyboards to de-fragging and reformatting your hard drives – yikes! Unless you have the confidence and experience of our technical guru Lisa Burlee, or employ her to help with the heavy lifting, we recommend the following 5 simple, achievable steps.
Before you start, set aside an appropriate amount of time for each task. Perhaps you want to tackle the tasks in 30-minute blocks, like Alison wrote about here. Maybe you set aside an entire day for the cleanse if you have that luxury. Either way, identify a reward for yourself and follow-through with it. Will you get a manicure? Buy yourself flowers? See a movie? Go to lunch? How about new shoes or a purse? What about curling up with your favorite book, guilt-free? See, isn’t this fun already?
Ok, it’s time for your digital cleanse:
If you don’t already have a back-up for your devices, get one now. Lisa preaches backing-up so much she signs Keep Backing Up at the end of her monthly newsletters. Read her post here for instructions.
2. Apply Updates
Apply all free updates to your devices. Don’t forget to check for updates for the apps that don’t automatically update with your operating system.
3. Clear out old emails and other clutter
This task is almost mindless, so I prefer to park myself in front of my latest binge program and go to town with the delete button.
If you have gmail, use the three folders for quick mass deletes. At the top of the menu you will see the labels Primary, Social and Promotions. Simply select all in each tab and hit delete. Poof! Naturally the Primary tab possesses the most time-consuming challenge. File those that need archiving, but be ruthless! Envision how calm you will feel when you pull up your email and have an empty or sparsely populated inbox.
If you don’t have gmail, I find sorting by from or subject to easily group emails no longer relevant, making them prime suspects for the trash can.
Time permitting, delete the following unused items on your devices: apps, text messages, photos, contacts (somehow I have several duplicates), music, etc. No more sorting through unnecessary files and lists to find what you need when you’re done with this task. Also, declutter your desktop images and files; they can impede performance.
4. Change and Protect Your Passwords
Change your passwords and make them strong. Speaking of passwords, where do you keep your running list? I hope you don’t have the same password for all of your sites. If so, that’s like hiding your house key under the front doormat.
123456 is the most common password
LDB and I debate the merits of keeping the credentials list on a Note in the cloud or using one of the password apps (Lisa recommends 1Password). Those tactics are handy yet hackable because they are still out there. We’ve considered reverting to the old-fangled method of a hard copy written list (not hackable, but not always handy). Regardless of which method you use, at the bare minimum change those passwords.
5. Empty the Trash and Clean your Devices
If you make it this far, these last two items are quickies.
Empty the Trash
Free up space on your desktop or laptop by emptying the trash. To do that in the Mac world, look for your Trash icon on the deck, as shown below. On the PC look for the Recycle Bin.
Next, highlight the files to be deleted and click Empty in the upper right corner.
Don’t worry, if you fear you didn’t proof the list well, you get a Are you sure? prompt.
Clean Your Devices
We wash our hands, but how often do we clean our keyboards and screens? Gosh knows the germs that lurk on them. The last step of your Digital Cleanse is to physically clean your devises properly. This link from Apple addresses the best tools and methods to de-funk your digital friends. The tips seem like they could apply to most other non-Apple technology.
I’ve scheduled my cleanse for Friday this week. I’ll tee up my favorite music and try to remain focused on my reward:
January 24, 2017