Self Improvement

Finetune 6 Vital Digital Routines with Simple Checklists

Akshata Shanbhag 02-04-2015

Checklists are an easy way to keep repetitive tasks fuss free. They:

  • Help you bypass tedious decision-making
  • Remind you of steps you’re likely to miss
  • Save time by putting your workflow on autopilot

Your digital life has many tasks that make a great case for the use of checklists. Here are six starter checklists we have created to help you keep track of your digital activity. Feel free to tweak them as you see fit.

1. Data and Device Security Checklist

Your phones and computers hold a lot of your personal data, including contacts, photos, files, and passwords. Loss of any of those devices to theft, damage, malware, or even absentmindedness is an eventuality you have to stay prepared for. You also have to guard against privacy attacks facilitated by “spy software” How to Protect Yourself From Unethical or Illegal Spying Think that someone is spying on you? Here's how to find out if spyware is on your PC or mobile device, and how to remove it. Read More , insecure applications, and government surveillance What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know The National Security Agency in the US has access to whatever data you're storing with US service providers like Google Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook. They're also likely monitoring most of the traffic flowing across the... Read More . By safeguarding your devices and data you can breathe a little easy.


Use the following checklist to strengthen the security of each of your devices. Remember to do this for every smartphone or computer you acquire.

  • Install a security and malware protection suite
  • Set up a secure lock screen
  • Protect your Webcam
  • Opt out of targeted advertising
  • Encrypt and back up your data
  • Enable theft protection



Also, read our guide on simplifying and securing your online life The Complete Guide to Simplifying and Securing Your Life with LastPass and Xmarks While the cloud means you can easily access your important information wherever you are, it also means that you have a lot of passwords to keep track of. That's why LastPass was created. Read More with LastPass and Xmarks.

2. Online Security and Privacy Checklist

Several entities track every move you make on the Web. They use these digital trails for reasons like showing you ads, studying your browsing habits, and stealing your personal data. This is why you must aim to make your browser as secure as possible Everything You Need to Make Firefox Private & Secure When using Firefox - or any web browser for that matter - one of the best practices you can develop is to always be mindful of your privacy and security. You never know when someone... Read More . First, tweak these settings Ultimate Browser Settings: Must-Change Items In Chrome, Firefox, & Internet Explorer Let's take a look at those must-change browser items. Maybe you do the same, or perhaps you think that the settings should be different? Read More on your browser. Next, complete the tasks on the checklist below.

  • Update your browser to the latest version available
  • Enable secure connections by default
  • Tunnel your browsing traffic through a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Block tracking scripts
  • Sign up for access and transaction alerts for your online accounts
  • Revoke permissions from unused/unknown apps


Scams and phishing attacks are becoming sneakier New Phishing Scam Uses Scarily Accurate Google Login Page You get a Google Doc link. You click it, then sign in to your Google account. Seems safe enough, right? Wrong, apparently. A sophisticated phishing setup is teaching the world another online security lesson. Read More . That’s why digital security requires more than a set-it-and-forget-it approach these days. See how you could be using the Web wrong 5 Ways You're Using The Web Wrong: Avoid Frustration & Embarrassment Read More . From time to time, take measures to make yourself less vulnerable online.


3. New Account Checklist

Streamline your workflow for online account registrations with the following checklist. That way you won’t forget about crucial steps like limiting who can view your complete profile or read your updates.

  • Create a strong password
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Tweak notification and privacy settings
  • Update profile data
  • Set up a reminder for plan/subscription renewal or cancellation
  • Create IFTTT recipes to make the best of the service


What if you lose your cellphone and can’t receive verification codes to bypass 2FA? To deal with such a scenario, Web services often provide a set of backup codes when you enable 2FA. Store them in an encrypted text file to ensure that you don’t get locked out of your account in case your cellphone goes missing.



On a side note, we also have a checklist you can refer to when you’re deleting accounts Make These 4 Changes Before You Delete Any Online Account Closing an online account? Wait! There's something you need to do first. Follow the steps outlined below. They'll help ensure that you won't be going "Uh-oh" if you erase prematurely. Read More that you no longer use.

4. Online Financial Transactions Checklist

Online shopping and banking are quite convenient and time-saving options to have. But they involve a high amount of risk. Think credit card frauds and identity thefts. Make your online money transactions safer with the checklist given below. And don’t ignore warnings about website security certificates What Is a Website Security Certificate? What You Need to Know Website security certificates help make the web more secure and safer for online transactions. Here's how security certificates work. Read More either.

  • Check the URL to ensure that you’re on the right page
  • Check for a padlock in the address bar/status bar
  • Use a virtual keyboard
  • Verify the details of your transaction
  • Use a One-Time Password (OTP)
  • Log out after you have completed the transaction


5. Malware Removal Checklist

Despite taking all the requisite precautions the worst has happened. Your smartphone or computer has been infected with malware. You’re likely to need OS-specific measures for malware removal. But here’s the least you must do:

  • Disconnect from the Internet
  • Run a full system scan to isolate the type of malware
  • Research the malware found
  • Find a fix for it online (using a different device with Internet access) and implement it
  • Clean up temporary files and uninstall suspicious software
  • Change your passwords


It’s best to take preventive measures to avoid the stressful experience of malware infection. Stay informed about malware-related topics such as smartphone security What You Really Need To Know About Smartphone Security Read More , Facebook threats Five Facebook Threats That Can Infect Your PC, And How They Work Read More , and rogue adverts Meet Kyle And Stan, A New Malvertising Nightmare Read More .

6. Working-On-The-Go Checklist

Keep this next checklist handy to ensure that you have all that you need to work on the go. It will not only save you time, but also help you avoid panic when you’re battling short deadlines. Of course, there’s more you can do to maximize your productivity anywhere How To Maximize Your Productivity Anywhere With telecommuting lifestyles taking off, work is not limited by hours or locations. Here are a few pointers to help you make the best of working on a notebook while on the move. Read More .

  • Install offline apps wherever possible
  • Pack those chargers and battery banks
  • Figure out Internet access points beforehand
  • Download important files to local storage
  • Carry a portable OS on a pen drive
  • Sync your data (to pick up where you left off)


Checklists for Life

There are so many areas you can cover with simple checklists. It’s easy to create one yourself, but why not inspire yourself with these ideas and tools?

Dr. Atul Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto is recommended for all checklist users. But if you prefer to get to the task, go through Project Check — A Checklist for Checklists.

Are You a Checklist User?

Experiment with these checklists and see if they help you make quick work of routine tasks. You can then extend the checklist concept to areas like project planning, travel, and job hunts.

Do you have a super useful checklist idea you’d like to share with us and our readers? Mention it in the comments.

Image Credits: check box Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Computer Security, Online Security, Planning Tool, Smartphone Security, Time Management, To-Do List.

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