We're in the deep freeze of winter here in Chicago, and spring is far cry away. But no matter, `spring in this case is mostly a frame of reference. Besides, I wrote this article a year and a half ago, when we were about to hit an unusual March heatwave.
Spring cleaning is an annual ritual in the US. Practically, it means staking stock of junk in your house and tossing it out, and altogether cleaning and organizing the rest of your stuff. Until the following year, that is, when this, too, becomes junk. Psychologically or spiritually, it means looking over your relationships, career or business, and other commitments, values and endeavors, and letting go of whatever you ought to let go and otherwise keeping what you want or need.
In essence, then, spring cleaning is an opportunity for a holistic, interlinked tune-up and not just a segmented, particular effort. You clean up your house, you feel more apt to deal with a sticky friendship. You clarify and resolve a career problem, you are ready to get rid of longstanding clutter on your desk.
So with that preamble aside, let’s jump into useful spring-cleaning advice - 10 Bad Tech Habits and How to Break Them. As an example, I grade myself on how well I maintain good habits:
- Keeping proper condition and posture (B). My chair at home is comfortable and supports my back well, and my desk is positioned so the monitor is angled properly and the keyboard keeps my forearms relaxed and parallel to the floor. With my mobile devices, not so good, as I’m often hunched over.
- Cleaning up my devices (B). iPhone, good. Tab, fine. But laptop, oh, man, it could use a good water-blasting. One key has totally fallen off, and the stenciling on many of the keys have been rubbed off from excessive use.
- Keeping off the smart phone (B). I’ve had a few friends who were blatantly and repetitively rude about answering calls and sending text messages, while in a meeting with me and-or others. Needless to say, they are no longer friends. Me, I get absorbed in it once in a while, but I’m good about putting it aside for meetings and meals.
- Backing up data (A). I’ve lost data before, but thankfully nothing bad or extensive. Still, in my business endeavors, content is my competitive advantage, so every few days I back up my precious files onto a 500-GB external drive.
- Taking regular breaks (B). I don’t do online or video games, but I do get absorbed with my work for hours at a time. There are a few times when I skip past lunch or dismiss the need to use the washroom.
- Maintaining proper shutdown (A). All good here. I shutdown my laptop and Tab, when I’ll be away for a couple of hours or going to sleep for the night. I have recently begun to put my laptop to sleep and turned off the (external) monitor, if I expect to be back in few minutes. I am also good at unplugging my devices from their power or charger.
- Keeping my devices off the bed (A). In Dubai, I periodically slept with my BlackBerry, that is, within easy reach on the bed, usually just to check my US sports scores in the morning when I wake up. Mostly, though, it was on the nightstand. Regardless, it rarely disturbed my sleep, and on the whole the bed is rarely a place where I work my devices.
- Updating systems regularly (A). No problem here. I have a small backup laptop, which I don’t really use. But periodically I switch it on, so that Windows and programs can update themselves.
- Having strong passwords (A). No problem here, either. They’re alphanumeric, and I change them periodically.
- Optimizing my device batteries (C). I know I need to do this, but I have rarely done so.
Keeping social sites free of clutter (A). I delete favorites, groups and pages, contact details, trash and spam on a regular basis. Whether it’s on YouTube, Gmail, Skype or iPhone, the content on my sites and devices is clean and orderly.