Time Management 183 - How to Organize and Manage Your Passwords

Hello everyone, this is Helen Huang @ Organizing, based in Beijing, China. In order to better learn and practice the YiXiaoNeng Time Management System, after finished publishing 100 Chinese articles, I decided to continue writing and publishing a daily English article in another 100 days based on the "YeWuBin Time Management 100 Episodes" audio program. Today is the 183rd day.

Today's topic is: How to Organize and Manage Your Passwords

Today I want to talk about how to manage all of those passwords that you have.

You already know how important it is to safely manage your password,s so I won't focus on that here. But, with all the passwords we have and how often they must be changed, it is getting much more challenging to manage all of them. Wouldn't you agree?

We use a lot of different electronic and software systems, and each have accounts with passwords associated with them, so we have a lot of passwords. Remembering each of these passwords is really a challenge. If we forget a password, it takes a bit of time and energy to find them, or go through the steps of resetting the password.

Many people consistently use one or two passwords for all of their accounts, that can pose a huge risk. Once your password is compromised, all of your accounts then are unsafe. Therefore, we need to manage passwords on two levels. First we must use different passwords for each account, and we must be able to easily obtain those passwords at any time and at any place on any device.

I recommend grouping your password accounts into different levels. I'll talk about a few those levels now.

The first level is the simplest, with no need to worry about the password leaking to others. An example of a first level password is the a mobile phone lock-screen password. You must remember this password. Once you forget the lock-screen password, there is absolutely no way to retrieve it. The only thing you can do is reset the entire phone to its factory settings, where you will lose all of the data and apps stored on the phone. The screen saver or large screen password is often 4-6 digits and easy to remember, but you must remember it.

A much better way to set passwords on your lock-screen these days, is to use your fingerprint. This way you never have to remember a password. You can set several fingerprints profiles for the same phone. For example, you can set a fingerprint for your son and daughter, or some of your colleagues if they need access to your phone like mine do. I've given them a fingerprint profile. It's very convenient and you don't have to share passwords, which is indeed risky.

Entering passwords should be avoided if possible in favor of fingerprint readers. One risk is that others will glance at your phone as you enter a password, which is why fingerprint is more effective.

The second level password is your Internet provider. I suggest using a similar password for each of your Internet providers. You will have to manually change this password from time to time.

The third level or group includes passwords for social applications and email accounts. I suggest you classify each of these as one group of passwords. These social sites like WeChat, Facebook, and your email are very important, so I recommend using a complex password with both numbers, letters and symbols if possible.

The fourth level of password is for accounts that store your payment information, like Jingdong, Taobao, Tmall, Dangdang, Amazon, and Paypal. I suggest you use a similar password for each of these, which is more convenient to manage than having many completely different password for each of them

The next level is for banks and financial insituations. Banks may require different passwords for different places. In China, they will require a password to request an account balance, a different password to make a payment and a different password to access your credit card accounts.

So I suggest using different passwords for each and keeping them organized. I suggest grouping your smaller credit cards which you don't use often with one password, and those credit cards you use often with another. If you have several bank accounts, I recommend not using online banking for all of them. This will just give you an extra layer of security in case you have a hack. I also think you should not manage your bank credit cards as much. In other words, don't get so many of them.

Managing staff information and goods are one kind of management. But managing software is a little different. When storing our bank cards, choose the most important ones to carry with you, and not carrying all of them with you at the same time. Another layer of security.

Learn to discard those things that you don't need too much of them, for example, bank cards. This comes from a Japanese concept of "Giving up", which we will talk more about in the future.

Today I am gonna share a concept with you about how to carefully select a credit card. It's inefficient to have so many credit cards because it will be difficult to manage all of them. It will take a lot of time. So keep a moderate number of a credit cards and develop a way of organizing them according to how frequently you use them.

And what about passwords? How should we group and organize our passwords? I suggest you find a password management app, such as: 1Password - that's the numeral1 and the word password, all one word. Or OneSafe, which is the letter one, O-N-E, and then safe, all one word.

The only risk here is that if you store all of your passwords in a program like this, and then you lose the password to get into these programs, then it will be very difficult to recover.

So what can you do? You might consider using Evernote to manage your passwords. That's a thought. The risk we use Evernote to store your password is that it's not as secure as people can break it as well. If others find your phone and can get into your phone, then they can access Evernote and your passwords. Therefore, if you want to use Evernote, then you must decrypt or encrypt your password, or convert your password using a rule that only you know.

How would that work? First, you change your password then record it in Evernote. Then if your password is something like 123456, then you might apply a rule, such as reversing it to 654321, and then add something in the middle of it, such as abcde. So you have something like 654adcbe321. And you would apply the rule of removing the middle text and releasing the number. And you know it would be your password, but only you would know that. This is a simple example, so don't use the exact example, or don't use simple number like 123456. Make it more complex.

You should set a password that alternates between letters and numbers, even and odd digits, or even put the same digit after your known numbers like the number 1. So you could have, instead of 654321, 615141312111. Keep the rule relatively simple whatever you do, so you can remember it.

It is said that it's very easy for your email account password to be cracked and leaked these days. So once it's hacked, it's sold or traded on the underground or black market. And when others hack the password, they can use this password for any other account that has the same password. And if not careful, they may be able to get into your financial accounts like Alipay or credit cards. These are stories I've heard, it hasn't happened on me personally. So be to judge for yourself.

This is why it's so important to change your password all the time. It's the only way to safely guard against the risks. To modify your passwords, you need to do it in batches. Change your passwords all one time. Therefore, organize your password accounts into groups and levels and sort them.

Think about what you would need to do if you lost your password. How would you go about retrieving it? Be prepared with a plan in case this happens. So it's very important to keep your passwords organized, secure, and safe. Good organization and time management requires proper planning of these passwords.

That's all sharing today. Thank you being with me together today. Have a wonderful day!