Inspired by Dynomight’s list of creative nonfiction training exercises, here is a list of three things that I think you should buy and use.
It took me way too long to get on this train, but using a password manager has removed so many problems from my digital life:
- Trying to think of a new password when creating an account
- Trying to remember which variation of a password I used on a given site (did it begin with a capital or end with a 1?)
- Still being incredibly insecure because I’m constantly reusing the same password
I can’t recommend a password manager strongly enough. The benefit is clear: you’ll reduce your cognitive overhead to a single password and greatly increase your security at the same time.
The thing about password managers is that it doesn’t really matter which one you use. Using a password manager is so much better than not using one that the minute differences between each are almost irrelevant. That being said, I use 1Password and recommend you do too. I started out using LastPass but found the user interface unsatisfactory. 1Password is really pleasant to use and is reasonably priced.
You need to keep two things in mind to have the most success with password managers. First, you need to pay for it. Your password manager is going to be the foundation of your digital security — don’t leave that up to a free plan. Second, commit to it 100%. That means you need to put every password into it1 and you need to change every password to a securely generated and unique password. If you’ll keep these two things in mind you’ll have a great time.
In the past year I’ve endeavoured to read more. In pursuit of this goal I picked up an eReader and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. Here’s some of the key benefits of using an eReader:
- The device is very small so it’s easy to throw in a backpack or travel with
- You can “carry” as many books with you as you want so you’ll always have something to read that you’re interested in
- The screen is much more tolerable on the eyes compared to your phone
- You can change the font size as you desire
- There are all sorts of fun reading stats to explore
I’m sure that there are some people who are sticklers for the “feel of a real book”. Perhaps an eReader won’t work for them. But, I think that most people will stop missing that almost immediately — I certainly did.
The eReader I ended up buying was a Kobo Clara HD. It was the right price and integrated with my local library. Chances are if you live in Canada this device would also be a great option for you. For any Americans reading this you may want to look into a Kindle.
White Noise Machine
It seems like some people can fall asleep on command. That’s not me. Falling asleep for me can be a long process. Sometimes it feels like I just don’t know how to shut my brain down. On the encouragement of my brother I ended up purchasing a white noise machine. What a game changer! I’ve been sleeping much better since I started using it.
I think the white noise is helping me sleep in two ways. First, it helps drown out any small background noises. My brain focuses in on any repetitive background noises and it can keep me up. With a white noise machine I no longer hear these problematic noises. Second, something about the white noise calms me down and slows my thoughts. It’s almost meditative.
This all might sound a bit over the top, but I think that small optimizations to my sleep are totally worth it. Tonight’s sleep is a big determiner of the quality of tomorrow. If you aren’t the best sleeper I recommend you try getting a white noise machine.
Yes, even your most cherished passwords like your Google or Facebook accounts. For that matter, I recommend you put everything in your password manager. I keep my credit cards and important documents in my password manager too. ↩︎
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