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Happy New Year!

It’s the beginning of a new year, and it’s the perfect chance to look at your digital world and see if there’s ways you can use it to be more secure, change habits, develop skills, and generally start it as a new slate.

Here's 7 of our suggestions for a digital-themed resolution.

  1. Update your Device

One important thing you can do this year is make sure you install new operating system updates and security updates pretty much as soon as they are released. These updates help protect your security, as a typical update can address between 20-40 different vulnerabilities that have been identified.

Ideally, wait a week or so after the update appears before installing it, as occasionally there could be undesirable effects. These problems are very rare, but usually the update is fixed and released again within a few days if these problems do occur.

On Microsoft, usually these updates are done automatically, but if you are using an Apple related product, simply go to Systems and Software Update to identify if you need to update your operating system.

  1. Manage your Passwords

If you’ve got a small array of passwords that you perhaps type by hand or have been copying and pasting from a list you keep on file, one great idea is to switch to a password manager like 1Password or LastPass. Apple’s iCloud Keychain that remembers your password is great, but a password manager has several benefits:

  • It generates strong passwords for you
  • It stores your passwords securely
  • It enters passwords for you
  • It audits existing accounts
  • It lets you access passwords on all your devices.
  1. Create a Budget

Whether you’re wanting to create a budget for work or for home, there are some great apps out there to help you set one up and stick to it. You might be using your bank’s own app, but there are more great apps out there to manage your finances.

Here are a few financial apps that can help:

  • Emma – lets you monitor all your bank accounts and credit cards in one app. Emma separates regular payments, like subscriptions and bills, from your everyday outgoings, tracks bank and credit card fees, allows you to set budgets, and recommends how much you could afford to save each month.
  • Chip – using AI to analyse your spending and decided how much you can afford to save, Chip automatically transfers money from your current account to a dedicated savings pot, managed by Barclays. It makes a deposit every few days, with a daily limit of £100 and a monthly limit of £600.
  • Yolt – Yolt gives you all your current, savings, and credit card data in a simple to view list, along with a smart balance showing you how much money you’ve allocated for bills and what’s leftover. As well as allowing you to set and track specific budgets, Yolt also shows you where you’re spending the most money. Your data is presented in colourful graphs that make it easy to see how your budget is looking at a glance, and the app offers tips and advice on how to manage your money more effectively.
  1. Learn a New Language

Planning on taking a holiday this year, or just want to branch out your business to audiences around the world? Learning another language is a great skill to have, and these days there are a lot of ways to do it digitally rather than buying a book.

There are some free apps, and some paid apps, but here’s a few to get you started:

  • Babbel – A paid app, you can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly. It offers interactive dialogue to help with pronunciation, 10-15 minute lessons, and generally provides content for the popular languages.
  • Duolingo – The best free language learning app, there are game like lessons to help you learn more than 35 different languages.
  • Rosetta Stone – paid app, and the best for immersive language learning. It is a leader in language learning. You can choose from dozens of different languages and build a curriculum plan that best fits your learning style. There’s also audio-based learning for when you’re on the go.
  1. Cut Down on the Email Clutter

Email can be a huge source of distraction whether you’re at work or at home. We can get hundreds of emails every day, and it’s hard to keep on top of the emails coming into our inbox, let alone file them or – a lot of the time – read them fully.

You can cut down on the multiple industry newsletters and offers from shops by doing the following:

  • Take a few minutes one day to check the email newsletters you get and which ones you read. Those you don’t read on a regular basis, unsubscribe from them. All newsletters should have an unsubscribe link near the bottom of the email.
  • Create a rule in your email client to create a ‘Newsletters’ folder in your inbox, and which automatically sends your newsletters there.
  • Use Unroll Me. This is a free service that combines your email newsletter into a daily email and lets you easily unsubscribe from the newsletters you don’t want to receive. It is compatible with Outlook.com (Hotmail, MSN, and Windows Live), Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, and iCloud).
  1. Manage Your Screen Time

We’re seemingly always stuck to our screens these days. From waking up and checking messages on our phones, heading to work (or the home office), watching the TV screen, to posting on social media in the evening, we all need a bit of time away from our screens to give ourselves a breather.

For your phone, you can set screen time limits for various apps, but also control the overall screen time, allowing for downtime.

Simply go to your phone settings and it should have a section called ‘Screen Time’. Here you can create your own time and app limits.

Even with these limits, once you surpass the limit and still need to action something on the app, you can opt to ignore the limit for 15 minutes, or for that day.

  1. Learn Something New

A new year is a great excuse to investigate building your skills and knowledge. There are several sites which cover all subjects from history to business, languages to creative skills. There’s a few listed below. Some of these are free to sign-up to, and others require you to pay for the courses.

If you’d like to develop your digital skills, we’ve got you covered. Check out all our upcoming free events here, and you can learn more on a range of digital subjects from social media, content marketing, and paid advertising.