Tech Resolutions for the New Year

By Elizabeth Jenike, IT Services

With the first weeks of 2018 come and gone, you may have already made various resolutions, discarded them, made more, and discarded them again.

Here are some easy tech resolutions that will get you through the first part of 2018 (and that you won't have to abandon):

Achieve Inbox Zero

Graphic gray envelope

For many, the new year symbolizes a fresh start, a new opportunity to do the things you've always meant to do but never seemed to have the time. The same concept can be applied to your email inbox. How many unread messages do you have? How many emails are languishing in your inbox waiting to either be read again or deleted? Use the new year as a jumping-off point and finally get your email hygiene right. Delete what you don't need, move what you do need to folders, and viola!

And if 'Inbox Zero' isn't your thing, it's also perfectly acceptable to go through and read all of your emails and then keep them. Adding labels and filters will help maintain a high level of organization. You won't get the 'Inbox Zero' fanfare, but you'll still experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing your email correspondence is on the road to recovery.

Clean up your downloads folder

When was the last time you looked at your 'downloads' folder? If you can't answer this question, it's time to shoo away the proverbial dust mites and get to gettin'.

It's a good idea to manage this oft-forgotten folder for a couple reasons:

Red graphic folder

  1. When you download a file from the internet, it's saved in two places: in your internet browser and on your hard drive. If left unchecked, this eats up unnecessary disk space.
  2. This folder also provides a quick and easy list of everything you've downloaded—which could pose a security risk or have an impact on your digital privacy.

To clean out the downloads folder in any operating system, simply highlight the files and right-click, then select 'Delete' or 'Move to Trash.' Internet browsers also offer the option to clear files and history—so while you're freeing up hard drive space, you might as well clean out the browser, too.

Back up files

Data loss is a constant possibility—and no laughing matter. On the business side: 60 percent of small businesses close their doors after a major data loss incident. On the personal side: 42 percent of respondents to Kroll Ontrack's 2017 World Backup Day survey said they back up their data daily, along with 16 percent who do it weekly; however, 24 percent never test their backups.

A good backup strategy includes both proper scheduling and tools. Commit to a time frame of how often you do incremental and full backups. Then, choose where to put the information. Cloud-based backups and portable hard drives are two ways to go. In fact, Miami University recommends a wide range of storage and backup options.

In 2018, resolve to back up your data once per week or even every two weeks, and you'll save yourself hours/days/weeks of heartache down the line.

Prepare for cold weather

2018 in big red letters

We waxed poetic on this a few weeks ago, but in general, know that technology is impacted by the cold, too. Best practices include keeping your devices away from extreme temperatures—which means not leaving them in the cold car overnight.

Follow your favorite tech social media pages (hint: that's us!)

This is an easy one-and-done resolution that you can check off your to-do list immediately. We share helpful tips, important information about current and future outages, and updates on the lives of the techies in IT.

Best of luck to you and yours in the new year!