You’ve always been taught to cultivate good habits and avoid bad ones. The same applies to your computer use, where habits are good, bad or ugly. Good habits can maximise your IT investment and optimise your operational efficiency, while bad ones can cost you money and slow you down. The ugly ones can lead to disaster and an ugly mess. Here’s a list of computer habits you should kick start into your regular routine to keep you going – in the right direction!
To avoid any data loss in case of software or system freezing, regularly save your changes to documents. Doing so only takes a second and won’t interrupt your productivity groove. Use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + S”, or click on the “Save” icon – the old floppy disk in the toolbar. Don’t rely on “AutoSave”, as it’s not a feature on every program.
Don’t risk losing your files by not having them backed up. With damage, loss and theft all possible, no hard drive is guaranteed to be functional forever. Recovering data is often impossible and more costly and time consuming than people think. Tireless efforts on work-related documents can be preserved by simply copying files to a few DVDs, USB drive or portable hard drive, at regular intervals.
Think before you print
A hard copy is required sometimes, but not every time. So before clicking “Print”, determine if you really need to hold a copy of the document in your hand. And if you do, do you really need the entire thing? Use “Print Preview” and the option of selecting a “Page range” to print only the pages you actually need. And use the double-sided printing feature where available – to print multiple pages onto only one sheet of paper. It would also be helpful to set your printer to print in black and white by default, manually choosing colour prints only when necessary. All of these printing habits will have a positive impact on your environmental initiatives and can save you money by using less ink and paper.
Where do you save your files? Is everything scattered all over the desktop or stuffed into the “My Documents” folder? Maintain some order by creating folders and subfolders while giving your files appropriate names. It will only take a few extra seconds to do so, but will save you much more time in the future by being able to easily find and sort through files.
Store software keys
Make a note of software licence keys and store them safely. In the event of your needing to re-install or activate a program, having its corresponding licence key handy can be the difference between completing a simple re-installation and having to go out and purchase a new one.
Invest in security software
Protect your IT investment, your hard work and yourself! Viruses, spyware, adware and other malicious software are topics in the news for a reason. These threats can infect your computer without your even realising it. But do you know what kind of damage they can cause? They can delete or damage files, track your online activity, steal personal information and just outright annoy you by having a poorly performing computer. Take action before they do by investing in sufficient security software. When you do, keep the software up to date and scan your computer regularly to maintain optimum performance and productivity.
Blink. Yes, with your eyes
Staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time can have a negative effect on your precious eyesight. Computer users tend to blink less frequently, so make it a habit to blink more often. Why? Blinking produces tears that coat the eyes, keeping them lubricated and moist. Other habits to preserve and protect your eyesight include focusing on distant objects every 15 minutes to relax your eye muscles, and to just take a break every hour or two to reduce eyestrain. Your eyes will thank you.
Where each of these habits ranks on a scale of importance is up for debate. However, it’s essential that you incorporate them into your daily routine, to prolong the life of your computer, save time, hassles and money, and free yourself to focus on the business that really matters.