The clock has struck and another year has begun you have probably made all sorts of resolutions. When we think about New Year’s resolutions, we typically focus on tangible life improvements like trying to lose weight, eat healthier, or travel more. But technology has become such an integral part of our existence that it, too, can require some work. What do you resolve to change in your digital life in 2018?

1. Try the Pomodoro technique
Trying to become more productive is a fight against distraction and that battle is especially tough when you work on a computer, with every distraction of the internet at your fingertips.

Pomodoro is a time-management technique that at first sounds the stuff of buzzword-spouting marketeers and people who make a living creating motivational YouTube videos. But we’ve tried it and, with a bit of discipline, it can be very useful. It splits up your work day into short chunks of 25 minutes or so, the idea being that you work hard, then have frequent short breaks to avoid whittling away all your attention reserves. There are many phone apps that do the timing bit for you, including ClearFocus (iOS / Android), Clockwork Tomato (Android) and Goodtime (iOS / Android).

2.Change your passwords
It’s better to be safe than sorry, and while some accounts require you to change your password regularly, others do not.To make sure all your details, emails and accounts are safe, it is worth changing your passwords, even it is only adding a different number at the end of your original at the beginning of every year.

3. Back up computer to an external hard drive
Backing up your laptop or desktop is something you don’t always think to do until you lose everything. Therefore if you have a bit of spare cash, it’s worth buying an external hard drive. Try not to just back it up on New Years day and then leave it for the next 12 months, but that is at least better than not at all.

4.Prune your privacy settings
If you want to use your phone, apps and internet as intended, you trade away a lot of privacy by design. However, it’s good to have a sanity check on exactly how much you’re giving away to, say, Google. It uses the data from every YouTube video you watch, every Google search you make, to inform the ads you see online. And the reason we get to use Google services for free is because that data is valuable.By logging into your Google account and heading to the privacy section on a laptop you can see all the information it has collated and, if you want to, delete it.

Google also offers a handy wizard in its Privacy settings that lets you alter which search results are stored on your account. The corollary is that power-washing this data away also weakens search result optimization, which could be a positive or a negative, depending on your view.

5. Sign up to Dropbox or Google Drive
Dropbox and Google Drive are great ways to keep all your files with you so you can access them from whichever device you are working on, whether that be your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. They are free to join and you get a little bit of free storage before you have to pay for more, plus you can access your account through the Dropbox or Google websites on your browser or the apps themselves as long as you have an internet connection.

6. Update all your apps
App updates, whether Android, iOS, Blackberry or Windows Phone don’t just appear for the fun of it.An update will normally bring a fix for a bug, or make the app itself faster, sometimes it will even introduce new features so they are worth doing, and staying on top of – don’t ignore them.

7. Two-factor authenticate everything you can
The easiest way to improve your security online is to enable two-factor authentication. This means someone else can’t just log in as you if they crack or steal your password, and it makes nicking your identity exponentially harder. You’ll usually enter your mobile phone number as part of this, and the service will send a code to your mobile which you’ll need to enter to log in, or do so when it notices that you’ve logged in from an unfamiliar location or device. It’s a must for Google accounts and online banking. Twitter and Facebook also offer two-factor authentication or 2FA.
Get on board

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