Today we are going to talk about Decluttering the “Tech” Side of Life. Have you had THOSE days when you spent the entire day dealing with “tech stuff”? Then you realize what a waste that day was and start remembering the “old days” when all you did was talk on the phone that was connected to a long cord and the wall.
I am not going back to a life that was literally tethered to the wall, but I don’t want my days full of stress tech stuff either.
Decluttering The “Tech” Side Of Life
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Get Rid Of Your Landline Phone
Only last year did we get rid of our landline. I kept it thinking that if all technology went down, we would still have our landline phone for communications. NOT
If you have new cables for the internet/cable at your home, your landline phone is now connected to those systems. If your internet/cable lines go down, guess what? You lose your landline too.
Getting rid of the landline was the easiest decision I made. No more annoying sales calls at dinner. My home is blessedly silent. Plus it saved me a couple of dollars.
Manage Incoming Call On Your Cell Phone
Oh, what a game changer! I just learned of a great feature on my iPhone (others may have it too) where I can send unwanted calls/spam calls to my voice mail!
Last year I started to get tons of those calls where the number is close to your number. That and lots of election calls/ sales calls. It did not seem to matter that I was on the “Do Not Call List”.
Mentally I was jumping every time the phone rang. It was like I was tethered to the wall again. Now I only check it if it rings or if someone left a voice message.
On the iPhone, these are the instructions to set it up. If a number is NOT in your contacts, it will send it silently to voice mail. You will want to make sure important numbers are in your contacts. But a rule of thumb is, if they did not leave a voice mail, it wasn’t that important!
Send unknown and spam callers to voicemail: Go to Settings
> Phone, then turn on Silence Unknown Callers. You receive notifications only for calls from phone numbers in your contacts, phone numbers you recently called, and phone numbers sent to you in email or text messages.
Roll Up Your Emails Into One Daily Email.
My daughter put me on to this one. It is called Unroll.me. It is a FREE email subscription editing service that allows you to manage your email subscriptions in one place. You will see a list of all emails subscriptions your receive (some you will remember signing up for, others you will not have a clue how you got on their list)
You can choose to keep in your inbox, roll them up into one daily email, or unsubscribe. Anything that is important or timely such as bills, notifications on shipping, favorite bloggers- you will want to KEEP IN YOUR INBOX.
Those emails for things such as sales, or other you want to make sure you see- ROLL THEM UP into one daily email. That way you can quickly look thru and see if you want to read any of them.
For others- UNSUBSCRIBE. I have found that this feature sends them straight to your trash bin, never to be bothered with. I was amazed at how many emails I never signed up for. When I started I had over 800 email subscriptions.
Now, after managing my emails with Unroll.me. I have 90 in my daily roll up (which on an average day I see 5), 100 in my inbox (most of them are billers) and 780 are now in the Unsubscribe bin. Even today, Unroll. me found 3 new email subscriptions, all of which I hit Unsubscribe.
Opt-Out Of Catalogs
The next one is really for the mailbox. Now with email, I only get a couple of pieces of mail on a daily basis. But I found my mailbox pack with CATALOGS! I would get the same catalog with a different cover every week.
Then I found Catalog Choice. Catalog Choice is a free service whose goal is to reduce waste in the environment. They send merchants your catalog opt-out request on your behalf. It will not totally reduce your junk mail, because companies share & sell lists.
So keep your catalogs in a pile and sit down and get rid of the ones you do not want to receive anymore. You will need to know the name of the catalog.
Set Security Features For Your Social Media
Oh, what frustrations you will have if you have been HACKED or LOCKED OUT of your social media. The good news is that all of them have great security features, you just need to use them.
Facebook– Look to the far right for the down arrow to get to settings Go under Security and Login. Here you can set Two-Factor Authentication and alerts. VERY IMPORTANT!!!
Instagram– Go to your Instagram profile page, look for the “wheel”, click it and it will take you to settings. Here you can set up Two-Factor Authentications for security measures and privacy settings.
***Make sure you have a STRONG password for your social media accounts. Also, if you get a message or email that says you have been hacked, make sure you DO NOT click on any links. Go straight to your social media website. So many phishing scams out there.
Get The Password Keeper App
This has been a lifesaver in trying to keep up with all those passwords. If your password is 1234 for all your stuff, you can get hacked by a 3rd grader. Pick STRONG passwords for all your information, especially banking. Use the Keeper app. to store it.
This app is free, but they do have a paid version that shares your passwords for all your devices. I actually have the paid version so my passwords are saved when I use my iPhone, iPad, and computer.
Sign Up For Fraud/Credit Monitoring Service.
Unfortunately, we are at a day and age where we have to pay to protect ourselves. It is so easy for someone to steal your identity and so hard to get it back. I use Experian, a credit monitoring service. Other services in Lifelock.(Rakuten gives you 40% cashback) Identity Guard, Credit Karma, and others.
What they do is basically monitor your credit score and activity. Notify you if there is a change (someone tries to open a credit card in your name, or take out a loan). They will also notify you if there is a huge change in your credit card usage. Some offer “dark web monitoring” and this keeps an eye out for things such as your email, phone number, or social security number being used across the dark web.
Most have a monthly fee and offer theft insurance up to 1 million dollars.
Watch The Mailbox
Someone (bad guy) put in a change of address form to the post office. The US Post Office notified me by mail that this happened and told me if this was not correct to call. I called and talked to an official at the US Post Office and they told me it was taken care of and not to worry.
Lucky for me I am a worrier! Because it was NOT taken care of. My mail all of the sudden disappeared and was forward to this new address in another state. The good news is that bills and banking were sent back to the original senders and that sender notified me that a change of address had taken place.
I spend days working with my local US Postal Service (they were GREAT once I found the only person who could fix it) and contacting all my billers/banking. Finally, it was back and I had to file a report with the US Postal Service for fraud. It is actually a federal offense.(not holding my breathe that the bad guys will be prosecuted)
I felt mad and violated. I did everything RIGHT! Now I really just don’t trust anyone. All my billers, banking, and any other correspondence I can think of are conducted via email. I now get very little mail. My goal was ZERO.
Certain things still come in the mail such as tax notices and car tags. But I do now know that if my US mail is compromised that they will go back to the original senders and not to the bad guys.
Be Aware Of The Bad Guys
The bad guys are getting smarter, wilier, and more aggressive than ever. Do not engage! If someone calls you and says your social security number has been compromised- call the agency directly. US government agencies do not contact via the phone, they use the US Post Service.
NEVER give anyone who calls you any personal or banking information, or confirm any information on file.
NEVER click a link in an email that says you have been hacked. Always contact the company or party directly. If it is a text message from your bank or credit card company- call them directly.
NEVER use your debit card for online purchases or in restaurants. Use only credit cards at gas pumps. I have a credit card with a low limit. I use Paypal for online purchases when available (which is most places now).
Finally, Embracing Technology And It’s Problems
Even if you do everything right, stuff happens. I am embracing technology and using its security features to help make my world a little decluttered. Just yesterday I was notified by Instagram that someone tried to hack my account. But luckily I had my two-factor authentications set up and it was nothing more than a changing of my password.
My goal is for this “tech stuff” to run smoothly and stop cluttering up my life!
Check out my Midlife Checklist- Over 50 Taking Care Of Life’s Business for more helpful hints and a checklist.