A really good reason to get organized is to save yourself time. People spend about three weeks out of the year looking for misplaced items. More and more of our lives are being spent online and are requiring passwords. Tracking passwords is a royal pain in the booty, especially when new passwords are required every quarter for some systems.
But being disorganized can lead to even more of your time being gobbled up in a really bad way. Think about the amount of time and frustration that would happen if any of your accounts were to be hacked.
So that begs the question, how in the world to get passwords organized?
Option 1: Go old school. Grab a sheet of paper and make three columns: Website, User Name and Password. Fill in your log as you go.
Pros: Can’t be hacked, low cost and simple.
Cons: Can be misplaced or stolen, and maybe it is a little impractical to tote around the list all the time.
Option 2: Digitize your old school list and make an Excel spreadsheet of your login information.
Pros: You could store the spreadsheet in the cloud making for easy access.
Cons: Can be hacked pretty easily and not very secure. And don’t think that you can just change the extension of the document from .xls to .doc. Hackers have programs that can sniff changes out faster than a pig hunting for truffles. Again, not recommended.
Option 3: Use a password manager. For Apple users, embrace Key Chain, and let Apple suggest ultra secure (i.e. you’ll never remember the chain of random letters and numbers on your own).
Pros: It’s a free program, backed by Apple.
Cons: Its only available for Apple products.
Option 4: Don’t have an Apple product or aren’t an Apple-phile like I am? Find a password management program like LastPass. I used this program before Key Chain came out and was pretty satisfied.
Pros: You only have to remember one master password and its available for all platforms
Cons: You’re outta luck if you forget the master password. Not free to use if you want to use Last Pass on mobile devices. For even more options, check out this comparison of password managers by PC Magazine. I highly suggest you choose this option!
Supplement to any of the above options: Another option to reduce the amount of time spent resetting forgotten passwords is to get mentally organized! Establish a pattern to use for all passwords.
Here’s how: Pick a good base password, then tweak it slightly to personalize the password for each site. For example, take Catlvr123 as a base password. For Google, the password could be CatlvrGgl123, Yahoo could be CatlvrYa123 and Amazon could be CatlvrAmz123. Make the tweak something that makes sense to you.
By repeating the base password, you’ll only have to remember how you tweaked the password for each website. Use numbers, symbols and different capitalization styles to make your password strong.
Now you have some really easy ways to organize passwords – some bad and some good, but you have the straight dish from this tech geek.
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