“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” Louis Sachar, the children’s literature writer, knew that great results happen with repetitive small efforts.
That’s the whole concept of using micro habits to spark massive changes. While a daily habit takes 66 days of regular follow-up, a micro habit (or mini-habit) can be something you do in larger intervals.
More importantly, mini-habits can help you adopt a few practices that make technology more useful, safer, or work better for you. This isn’t about things you can automate, like backing up your data regularly or defragmenting your hard drive. It’s about tasks that can’t be automated but still need to be done regularly.
Secure One Service Every Week
We know that security and privacy are supremely important, but it’s one of those things that we always procrastinate with, isn’t it? It’s partly because there are so many different services we use now. So let’s make it easier.
Every week, take one important service you use regularly — like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or whatever else — and tackle it. Each service’s settings will have unique options you should enable or disable, but these are the most common safety measures you should take:
- Set up two-factor authentication for additional security.
- Use MyPermissions to revoke third-party app permissions on web and mobile.
- Change your password to make it strong and secure.
To set up a schedule, identify the services in advance and then just go alphabetically. As for the day and time, it’s up to you. I tried doing it with a fixed schedule and failed, so now I just make sure one service is handled every week — and so far, I’ve been successful in sticking to it. It’s a life-changing mini-habit to a better tech world.
Move One Item Off Your Desktop on Every Screen Start
Is your desktop full of lots of icons, a cluster of folders, files, and shortcuts? An unorganized desktop can slow down your Mac or Windows computer, apart from the fact that clearing out clutter is good for you.
Maybe keeping your desktop clean all the time is too much for most of us. Instead, adopt a mini-habit. Every time you start your computer’s screen, clear one item from the desktop. You might want to move it to a folder or delete it outright, but just one item at a time will make a difference eventually.
And there’s one other thing. Don’t download stuff to your desktop, there are better places to store files.
Exercise and Stretch with an Existing Habit
It’s a well-known fact now that sitting too long can cause serious health issues, so you need to mix it up with some stretches and exercises. To build these healthy new habits, use the idea of “habit stacking“, where you take an existing habit and add one extra action.
For example, take these eight easy exercises you can do at your desk. Something as simple as tapping your feet rapidly or squeezing one target muscle should be easy, right? Well, you’ll probably forget to do it. So add it to an existing habit, like checking your email. So every time you sort your inbox, tap your feet. Every time you browse Facebook, squeeze that muscle. The more you do a bad tech habit, the fitter you get!
Unsubscribe One Newsletter Daily
Inbox clutter and email overload are big problems. But you know what’s the biggest culprit? Newsletters and subscriptions that you don’t care about, and just delete or archive without thinking about them anymore.
Instead, start unsubscribing from these. Those mass unsubscribing tools are useful, but still take a lot of time and you will add more subscriptions over time. Make it a daily habit instead to unsubscribe from one unwanted chain every day. You can use Gmail’s one-click unsubscribe button or do it manually, but you’ll end up with a cleaner inbox over time.
Tag or Delete Photos on the Pot
A lot of people take their smartphones or tablets with them when answering nature’s call. Use that to entertain yourself while being productive too! Instead of reading short stories while you take a poop, open your photo albums and start tagging pictures.
These days, Google Photos gives you unlimited storage and automatically backs up your images. So fire up the app to go through your own memories, which can be a nice look back at those good times, and tag the pictures appropriately while you’re browsing. This will make a big difference when you eventually want to search for one photo out of thousands.
Clean One Hardware Every Month
Keeping your devices running fast isn’t all about software, it also comes down to hardware. Maintaining your PC hardware elongates its life and keeps things running well. Plus, it will also give you better resale value for your device when you eventually upgrade.
So once a month, pick one device and physically clean it thoroughly. It could be your TV (yup, TVs gather dust too), your smartphone, your laptop, or whatever else. Mac users should take a look at our guide to clean your MacBook or iMac. And Windows users, we have a spring cleaning checklist and toolset for you.
Read More with the 10% Rule
Everyone wants to read more books; we just never get around to it. Here’s one mini-habit that will get Kindle users to read more than ever before. It’s called the 10% Rule, and it relies on Kindle using percentages instead of page numbers for books.
Every day, read 10% of a book. You can be reading multiple books, that’s not an issue. But whichever one you pick, read 10% and stop. Next day, pick it up again and read another 10%. Of course, you might want to change the value of the percentage depending on the size of the book — can’t be reading 10% of The Lord of The Rings in a day, can we?
Learn to Code with Daily Small Lessons
Much like learning English was essential for the 20th century, the future requires you to learn another language: programming. With all the technology around us, learning to code can expand your skill set exponentially. That’s where Solo Learn comes in.
Start Offloading Your Brain Power to Tech
Do you remember all the recipes you ever cooked, or do you use apps and recipe books? Your brain has limited capacity. Instead of overloading it, it’s a practical tip to free up your mind by offloading to computers and smartphones.
Apps like Google Keep, Wunderlist, Any.Do, Google Calendar, and others will stock the things you don’t need to remember any more. Instead, your mind can be focused on other items, like creative solutions for problems or coming up with grand ideas or tackling life’s great questions.
It can be difficult to get started with these, so to begin, use one of the above apps for one task only. That could mean using Google Calendar to schedule meetings and appointments, or using Wunderlist to share grocery lists, or whatever else. Mini-habits are about starting small. So pick one task, one app, and get going.
Curb Your Tech Addiction
While technology can help improve your life, you shouldn’t get too reliant on it either. In fact, it’s proven that technology addiction is a real problem, as using our gadgets releases dopamine, which is our brain’s signal for experiencing pleasure.
Mini-habits can help you overcome this addiction too. Start with something simple like not checking your phone till you’re out of bed. In small increments, extend that to not checking your phone till you’re done with your shower or your morning coffee. Once you’ve reached your limit (which you get to determine), work on when you stop using technology at the end of the day.
You could take digital detox vacations, have a no-tech hour each day, or figure out your own ritual to slowly curb your reliance on technology. One small step at a time.
Tell Us Your Techie Mini-Habits
Have you incorporated some tech-related mini habit in your life that has changed things for the better? Share your insights with us in the comments below.
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