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How Secure Are Your Passwords?

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Likely answer. Not very.

According to security reports as many as 90% of all passwords are vulnerable to hacking…pretty easily. Why? Because hackers and hacking programs have become incredibly intelligent…and we have become incredibly complacent.

The good news is that it’s not that hard to create stronger passwords, (just make sure you can remember them) that will give you added security from an internet attack.

I found some good advice on creating more secure passwords – no sense in re-creating the wheel when good info already exists…

Password Protection: How to Create Strong Passwords via pcmag.com

Creating strong passwords is easier than you think via infoworld.com – some great tips on password reset questions here as well.

Want to know how secure your password is? How Secure is My Password will tell you how long it will take a computer to figure out your password…

Shockingly my older password would have only taken 11 minutes! That’s scary. The newer one that I had started using would take 275 days…better, but I’m not taking chances…

Using the tips on these websites, I’m now good for 4 million years…or until the hackers get more sophisticated…which is probably about 6 months…

And one last word of caution…DON’T trust your browser to remember your passwords! Just recently, it was discovered that Google was not encrypting its Chrome users’ passwords…crazy.

If you need help remembering passwords (and I sure do,) use a Secure Password Manager like LastPass (which I personally use,) or RoboForm.

My disclaimer…NOTHING is perfectly secure. But with a little bit of effort we can at least make the hacker’s job a bit harder…and maybe we can sleep a little better at night.

How secure are your passwords? 

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How Are You Spending Your Most Valuable Currency

The Passage of Time
Image by ToniVC via Flickr

Are you neglecting the things that matter?

Do you think you’re somehow different than the rest of us? That you have more hours in the day or can get more done miraculously if you just get organized enough?

Let me tell you right now, FORGET IT! There is only so much any one person can accomplish at one time. We’re told we can have and do it all, but that is a bold faced lie, a sales pitch of productivity system marketing.

Be honest. Where are you falling short?

Full disclosure: I am a chronic over-scheduler, over-committer and plate-overflower ( I just made that term up.) I know I am not alone in the disease to “DO MORE.” But when we try to squeeze in more we tend to neglect the things that matter most, health, family, enjoyment of life.

In some unfathomable twist of brain logic we tend to spend time on those things that don’t really matter in the long-term picture of our lives. Why do we do this? I don’t know. It’s a puzzle of the human psyche. Perhaps someone wiser than I can figure out that puzzle eventually.

Mini: Mission: My marching orders are to figure out what really matters, place a premium priority and focus on those aspects of my life and cut back or delete those that don’t.  I invite you, no; I implore you to join me.

Time is our most valuable currency, yet most of us squander it so easily. (Feel free to tweet that.)

What are the things that really matter to you?

Are you spending enough time on those things?

What are the things that really won’t matter 20 years from now?

Are you spending too much time on the things that really don’t matter that much?

Do you check your email first thing in the morning instead of taking time to exercise or eating breakfast with your family? I’m sure you’ll be glad of that when your health fails and your kids are gone.

Do you spend too much time on social media and information intake? Unless that’s your job, (and sometimes even if it is your job,) you’ll get better results if you spend your time actually producing “work.” Those things are tools.

And while we’re talking about social media…is Facebook really more important than reading with your kids or having an actual conversation with your husband?

We don’t like to think that we’re squandering our time; I know I sure don’t.

But our schedule and habits tell the real story… Take a look…if you dare.

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Why Are We So Obsessed With Doing?

University student sleeping at home

Even when we’re not supposed to be “Doing,”…we try to “Do” our way through “Not Doing.” Confusing, I know. We are strange and perplexing creatures, us humans. Trust me, the rest of the creatures in this world do not plan their rest or leisure time…No, this obsession with busy, doing mode is purely humanoid.

I’m supposed to be lying low this week in planning and recovery mode. In fact I’m taking the day off today…Can’t you tell?

But when I got out of bed this morning, before I had even taken my first sip of precious caffeine gold, my mind was already planning my day, everything that I wanted to cram into my “Off Day” whirling through my brain. Even in rest, our brains have difficulty shutting off.

To illustrate, I thought I’d share my “Rest Day” to-do list:

Meditate

Kettle bell workout

Run/walk 3 miles

Catch up on filing

Pay bills

Catch up on cemetery business – file and mail out deeds, balance accts. (I’m treasurer of local cemetery)

Buy a new purse (strap broke on current one)

Go to the library

Go to son’s track meet

Go to bank

Call my grandson

Text adult children to check in

Check up on mom – recovering from eye surgery

Journal work

Read books – Finish “Without Reservations”, start “Living Deeply” and take notes from “4 Hour Body”

BP exercises from workbook

Creative brainstorming -  Future focus, direction, projects, posts, etc.

Rest on front porch with glass of tea

 

Funny how much my “Rest Day” list has so much “Doing” on it…sigh. It’s a sickness that I’m afraid many of us share.

It’s time to rethink what “Not Doing” means…

Who else is with me on this?

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Which Type Are You? Upholder, Questioner, Rebel or Obliger…Fascinating

 

Fascinating concept… Four Categories of Personality. I read about this on Psych Central (Yeah…I’m a psychology buff…feeds my obsession with figuring out how people work.)

In a nutshell, according to this rationale, developed by Gretchen Rubin, people fall into one of four categories: Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, or Obliger, depending on how they respond to external rules and internal rules.

Upholders respond to both inner and outer rules; Questioners question all rules, but can follow rules they endorse (effectively making all rules into inner rules); Rebels resist all rules; Obligers respond to outer rules but not to inner rules. To read more, go here.

Upholders wake up and think, “What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?” They’re very motivated by execution, getting things accomplished. They really don’t like making mistakes, getting blamed, or failing to follow through (including doing so to themselves).

Questioners wake up and think, “What needs to get done today? “They’re very motivated by seeing good reasons for a particular course of action. They really don’t like spending time and effort on activities they don’t agree with.

Rebels wake up and think, “What do I want to do today?” They’re very motivated by a sense of freedom, of self-determination. (I used to think that Rebels were energizing by flouting rules, but I now I suspect that that’s a by-product of their desire to determine their own course of action. Though they do seem to enjoy flouting rules.) They really don’t like being told what to do.

Obligers wake up and think, “What must I do today?” They’re very motivated by accountability. They really don’t like being reprimanded or letting others down.

It’s kind of fun, but beyond that it might prove very useful in understanding the keys to your motivation, follow-through, preferences, behavior and work patterns, etc.

I am sooo a Questioner (which probably comes as no shock to my readers…)

Which “Rule Personality” are you?

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18 Minutes That Can Save You Hours

It’s so easy to get off track…and sometimes we need a reminder. I was just listening to an interview by one of my favorite podcasters, Accidental Creativewhere he was discussing time management, or maybe more accurately ‘priority management,’ with Peter Bregman. I love Peter Bregman’s philosophy and process and am a fan of his book “18 Minutes.” In fact it has a prominent place on the bookshelf in my office…but I had sort of forgotten it was there. It was a good reminder that had me reaching for the book once again.

While I don’t follow Peter’s plan precisely, I do think he lays out a simple solution to a problem that plagues most of us; too much to do, a never-ending task list, and the overwhelming struggle to master the issue of time management.

To be fair, his 18 minutes a day process alone is not the entire solution. He goes beyond daily task management, to address the larger issues that overwhelm us, not being happy and fulfilled with what we’re doing, feeling like we’re beating our heads against the wall and becoming more clear about where we want to go with our lives.

With strategies like using the Four Elements of Focus, hourly reminders and learning to pause.

“A brief pause will help you make a smarter move. Know what outcome you want before you respond.”

- Peter Bregman

Here’s a quick summary of the “18 Minutes” process…Read the book for the full explanation…

STEP 1 (5 Minutes) Set Plan for Day. Before turning on your computer, sit down with a blank piece of paper and decide what will make this day highly successful. What can you realistically accomplish that will further your goals and allow you to leave at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive and successful? Write those things down.

Now, most importantly, take your calendar and schedule those things into time slots, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. And by the beginning of the day I mean, if possible, before even checking your email. If your entire list does not fit into your calendar, reprioritize your list. There is tremendous power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.

STEP 2 (1 minute every hour) Refocus. Set your watch, phone, or computer to ring every hour. When it rings, take a deep breath, look at your list and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.

STEP 3 (5 minutes) Review. Shut off your computer and review your day. What worked? Where did you focus? Where did you get distracted? What did you learn that will help you be more productive tomorrow?

The power of rituals is their predictability. You do the same thing in the same way over and over again. And so the outcome of a ritual is predictable too. If you choose your focus deliberately and wisely and consistently remind yourself of that focus, you will stay focused. It’s simple. This particular ritual may not help you swim the English Channel while towing a cruise ship with your hands tied together. But it may just help you leave the office feeling productive and successful.

And, at the end of the day, isn’t that a higher priority?

Let me know your thoughts on this book?

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