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Using Technology Wisely: Updates and Backups

Regular updates and backups are vital: the people who spread viruses, spyware, worms, and malware are at work around the clock

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You receive alerts all the time urging you to install software updates for the equipment and software that you use. Sometimes you do so, frequently you do not.

The manufacturers and disseminators of such alerts maintain, often rightly so, that regular updates are vital since the people who spread viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, and malware in general are at work around the clock.

Updates Matter

Ron Wagner, a former pilot with Eastern Airlines who later became successful as in designing software manuals and training books, says that the crucial patches dispensed by vendors help to protect your desktop PC, laptop, phone, and other gadgets. They are not offered arbitrarily. They come as a result of known security breaches, bugs detected, and issues that make updates essential.

So, the time to update your personal technology is when you receive vendor alerts along with accompanying links and instructions. Periodically, such updates also include new features and enhanced compatibility for whatever else the vendor offers.

As you likely have witnessed, smart devices such as smartphones generally take care of themselves. Their updates are automatic. You are not required to do anything. Still, it’s wise to keep abreast with the developments related to each of your apps.

Back up Your Computer Files

You only need to experience one major setback to acknowledge the value of constantly backing up your critical data.

If your hard drive has ever been fried, if your unit simply went kaput and is no longer operable, or if you spilled coffee on it, that destroyed some or all of your data. You know what I’m talking about!

AllBusiness.com contends that backing up what you’re working on during the day, certainly at the end of the day, makes perfect sense. Twice a day and three times a day is not overdoing it.

Another Week, Another Backup

It’s not out of the question to run a complete system backup once a week. Most businesses have established procedures for doing so.

If you work at home on your own computer, even on personal items, the once a week routine is still recommended. Think about it, anything you work on for more than 5 to 20 minutes, that you could lose, is worth bucking up.

Backup software allows you to earmark which files you want to backup. You can choose to back up all files that have changed since the last backup. That procedure saves time, and means that you only need an entire system backup on a lenient basis.

Online services that perform backups offer great flexibility as well as to what gets backed up and when they occur.

Security Counts

Backing up files to elsewhere on your own computer might be quick and easy, and even satisfying in the short run, but it is not secure. If anything happens to the unit itself, your data could be jeopardized.

You want to have either a portable hard drive, a high density DVD, or a 32 GB or 64 GB flash drive, onto which you can copy your data. Then, keep it in a secure location.

When to install is before you have some data mishap. Too many computer users wait until something goes terribly wrong and then they realize the value of using an external hard drive.

Why wait? The prices are quite reasonable, the process works quickly, you gain a huge amount of storage space, and there is no continuing cost after your initial purchase. What’s not to like?

An External Hard Drive

Employing an external hard drive to backup your computer is among the best protective measures you can choose to secure your data.

If you’ve never employed an external hard drive, you’re in for a pleasant experience. They are not difficult to install, and you can virtually plug it in right out of the box.

The new hard drive then will appear on your Explorer tree, and you can literally drag-and-drop your files from your C: drive to your external drive. You have the option of manually backing up your files or using transfer type software which runs in the background and backs up files automatically.

Nothing Lasts Forever

What about potential down sides? If you use the drive long enough, in time, it will fail, as will every piece of hardware you’ve ever used. Also, you must have your drive connected if you want to do daily backups. If every few days or every week is fine with you, it’s easy enough to unplug and securely store the device.

In any case, it’s worthwhile to install an external hard drive – before you have some type of major data mishap.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Running up Huge Deficits: Bad for Nations and for Individuals

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal

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Joe Biden seeks to spend $6 trillion annually, for now. It could be higher thereafter, as our national debt climbs to staggering sums: $28.5 trillion, and $153.5 in unfunded liabilities. Has any nation in history that accumulated large deficits over a prolonged period of time and, lacking a concerted effort towards reducing them, sustained economic prosperity for its people?

Personal Deficits

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal. What are the deficits in your own life? For example, based on how many calories you’re consuming daily, are you running a deficit in the number of calories you need to burn to maintain a proper weight level? If so, you know that you face many health risks.

Do you have a financial deficit? For decades, tens of millions of Americans have accumulated personal debt via credit cards. Sustained deficit spending erodes one’s ability to prepare for the future and, worse, exploit current opportunities.

Is there a deficit in the time that you spend with relatives and loved ones? What about hobbies? Friends? Worthy causes?

Answers Appear

When you’re honest with yourself about your deficits, the answers to reducing them naturally appear:

* To reduce a weight deficit, plot your weight each morning for six months. Once you become vividly aware of the relationship between calories burned and weight reduction, watching your weight drop will further reinforce your ability to maintain balance in your caloric intake.

* To reduce a personal financial deficit, place a moratorium on spending – regardless of what items entice you – until all your credit cards have zero balances.

* If you have a deficit in the time spent with friends, on hobbies, or on worthy causes, devote one evening per week to such endeavors. Give up addictive news and information via web and TV that, in retrospect, might add little to your life while creating other time-related deficits. To spend more time with your children, involve them in activities you have traditionally done without them.

Here are two resources:

Debtors Anonymous: www.debtorsanonymous.org
Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous: www.obsessivecompulsiveanonymous.org

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Business

Your To-Do List: Unforeseen Events Will Arise

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling tasks, unexpected obligations and interruptions arise that could throw us off our plan.

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Each day you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off our plan.

How do you react when you are humming along and, suddenly, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you felt was complete.

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

A Supplemental To-do List

I believe there is, and it involves making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately and completely encapsulates the new task you now need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course.

Equanimity Reigns

The key question for you is: Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions? The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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