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“Just because it’s a new year, doesn’t mean you have to keep using technology the way that you always have. A few small tweaks in the settings of your phone, tablet or computer can make a huge improvement to your life. Here’s where you should start.”

Get a to-do list in place

Pen and paper don’t always cut it anymore. To-do list services are easily editable, quick to create and automatically sync across all your devices. There are plenty of to-do applications out there as well, so you’ll be able to find something for whatever level of planning you require. For something complex try Omnifocus or Things, Wunderlist and Todoist provide a decent number of features, with I Done This being one of the simplest systems. Don’t want to download something new? Apple’s Reminders and Android’s Tasks are more than up to the job.

Take command of your inbox

You don’t have to be glued to your emails. Planning on a complete email overhaul? Our guide to attaining the then you’ll need to be aiming for inbox zero dream is the best place to start.

If you’re looking for some quick fixes then there are a few options available. The best way to improve your inbox is by setting up some automatic filters and rules. These allow messages to be organised for you. Creating a filter for emails from a specific domain or person – @wired.co.uk, for instance – easily highlights messages you may need to reply to. Here’s how to set up filters in Gmail and Outlook.

The start of a new year is also a good time to unsubscribe from spammy mailing lists. You’ve probably got dozens cluttering up your inbox after a few days offline. Gmail, Apple’s Mail app and Microsoft Outlook make unsubscribing from mailing lists easy: there’s a button at the top of emails they recognise as being sent en-masse that let you unsubscribe without too much hassle. And a quick search of your inbox for “unsubscribe” will surface any messages where this is an option.

Get a password manager

The passwords you use are still probably terrible. Security firm SplashData releases the most commonly used passwords every year and there’s never much change. The most relied upon passwords in 2018 were: 123456, password, 123456789, 12345678 and 12345.

A password manager can solve all your password problems. They store all of your passwords in one place and can help you create stronger, more complex passwords. Two of the best options are 1Password and LastPass.

Limit your app usage

The best smartphones didn’t change much in 2018, but their operating systems sure did. Both Google’s Android Pie and Apple’s iOS 12 now include digital wellness features.

These allow you to properly monitor how much you use your phone or tablet. You can see how many times a device is unlocked in a day, the number of notifications you’re sent and how long each app is used for. Once you’ve been horrified by how long you spend gawping at Instagram you can set timers to help limit your idle scrolling. Want to limit your Instagram time to 20 minutes a day? Easy. Here’s how to set limits on Android and on Apple devices.

 

Samba Shiva Thadavarthi
Mr. Shiva is a technologist by profession and technical writer by passion. He has served in several organisations as Research and Development manager and wrote versatile articles on the current trends of technological transformation.

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