I’ve reached the stage in life where I schedule three walks a day to keep my weight down and my head clear. It’s a pretty simple step, but it works. Invariably, I return to my desk with the article lead I’ve been searching for—or at least fewer creaks and cracks when I sit down—and I feel better overall.
This simple-steps approach also should apply to the health of our personal technology. We rely so extensively on smartphone apps, computers and tablets that the failure to keep any of them in top shape could severely impact our wellbeing.
Remote workers in the field connect to their offices and databases through mobile devices and laptops. Retail associates and warehouse employees use laptops to track inventories and customer histories for better service. On a more personal level, we get most of our news and entertainment, read most of our books and enjoy most of our music with digital devices. Without our tech, we may suffer both emotionally and physically.
It’s a rare occasion that you would bring your smartphone, tablet or laptop into the shop to be diagnosed and healed—although user error can have sickening implications on technology—but beyond physical breakdowns, you should work to avoid obsolescence and misuse that can impair the health of your technology and its value to your daily life.
To keep your technology at its peak, you might consider these five simple steps toward improved tech health:
- Look before you leap. Don’t shove that brand-new smartphone into your pocket without first reading the manual or viewing the instructional video. Yes, that’s very old school, but you may not be aware of new or advanced features on your phone that can cause problems. For example, the latest smartphones don’t allow access to their batteries. If your phone locks up, do you know how to reboot it without removing the battery? Somewhere in the manual, you’ll find the answer.
- Update your apps. By downloading updates of your current apps, you can avoid crippling glitches inherent in some newly released apps and can be sure you have all the latest functionality to make your life easier, more convenient or more entertaining.
- Be sure your anti-virus software is up to date. Despite all the advances in computer technology, we still are subject to malicious viruses that can infect and incapacitate our laptops. New viruses attack every week, so be certain you are running the latest database version of your protective software.
- Keep it with you. When you leave your car, take your phone with you. A buildup of summer heat in your sealed-up vehicle can take a toll on your smartphone. Moreover, if you park in your driveway overnight, take your garage door remote with you, too. Otherwise, a vandal could jimmy your car door, grab the remote from your visor, and he’s inside your house without even breaking in. What happens to all your technology then!
- Don’t post vacation photos until you’re back home. If you provide a running account of your vacation experience as it happens, acquaintances and their friends whose feeds carry all the comments on your photos and posts will know your home is vacant. You’ve issued an invitation for burglary and the theft of all the tech you left behind.
Help your tech help you stay healthy—physically, emotionally and financially. Be smart, be careful and be safe.