The date is rapidly approaching! A. and I are moving out of our apartment after a rocky year animated by the unpleasant chirp and scratch of rodents into a little rowhome with central air and a guest room! In all of the push/pull of proximity, logistics, and housing decision making – we couldn’t have imagined that the pandemic was going to last this long. So, we’ll be in walking distance of friends who we can’t visit, with a guest room that we can’t use to host guests 🙁 livin’ it up in our home office and fancy bathtub. Cheers to that!
As I’m sure you can imagine, we’re in the throws of sorting, packing, and re-organizing pretty much everything! A. felt strongly that we needed a house cleanout and I felt strongly that we needed a digital makeover, so we decided to play to our strengths.
This is the fifth in a series on digital self care! Catch up here:
- Digital self care vol i (upgrade your devices, like, now!)
- Digital self care vol ii (make yourself comfy)
- Digital self care vol iii (tab serenity is possible)
- Digital self care vol iv (fix your phone if it’s broken and you can afford it)
I made a list of 24 accounts that needed updated addresses. That’s not hyperbole! From utilities to banks to insurance to subscription services to non-profits that send us appeals, we have quite a few places to track. Fortunately, most have online portals where I could go through the required steps. The main problem that emerged was that some accounts were connected to my email and others to my partner’s email. Remember – we had decided to do division of labor! – so (with his consent) I pulled up both inboxes and went to work.
And here’s where the magic happened – I decided to upgrade my LastPass account to a family plan so that we could easily have a shared household password folder, no more re-setting passwords, guess and check, or worst of all, getting locked out. A. didn’t have a LastPass account yet, so I made him one of those, too. And yes, I set up his original password. I am SO relieved that we now have (1) central repository for shared passwords; (2) more secure passwords; (3) updated/cancelled accounts as needed; (4) an easy to maintain system for moving forward. It took a few hours of activation energy, but for me, totally worth it! (Meanwhile, A. was out going thither and yon dropping off donations, mail, trash, etc).
If you’re not using a digital password manager, make a plan to get one in July! It’s simple, secure, and saves me soooooo much time. #SelfCare for the win!
Spreadsheets 4 Life
During the past week or two of reorganizing top-to-bottom, I also created a few Google Spreadsheets which I plan to maintain over time. Creating a new spreadsheet (especially one that I want to hold on to) is always a fun little exercise. I get to make lots of choices, like (1) choosing a descriptive name (2) saving it in one-or-more helpful folders in Google Drive (3) defining the audience (either by sharing it or by designing it with certain scenarios in mind).
The first sheet I made was a list of doctors. I always have to google my doctors to find their phone numbers and sometimes I can’t remember the name of a specialist that I only see every few years. I know I have electronic health records with various institutions, but none of them incorporate everything that I need, and they aren’t necessarily easily accessible or intuitive to use. Having a dr spreadsheet is going to be sooo helpful, especially when my friends ask for recommendations of doctors for certain conditions. I set this one up simply… just Name, Address, Phone, Specialty, Date of Last Visit, Notes.
The second sheet I made was a list of friends’ addresses. We had to mail a bunch of zines, gifts, birthday cards, etc and I realized that I always need to ask for addresses every time! It’s so silly. For this sheet, I set it up with First Name(s), Last Name(s) (for households), Street, City, State, and Zip. I set these up in separate columns in case I ever need to mailmerge envelope labels! Whereas for the doctor sheet, I think that is a very remote possibility, so knowing the street/cross streets is the most important information.
Last but not least, my phone needed some TLC. The screen protector has been broken for months, but I didn’t replace it. The audio was getting muffled, but I didn’t fix it. The apps were out of date, but I hadn’t updated them. Sound familiar?
So yesterday, I whipped out the spare screen protectors (I buy them in packs of 3), the canned, air, and the ‘ole update button and I went all in.
Turns out, my phone is so much faster, cleaner, and more responsive now! I hadn’t even realized that it was lagging before, since it was probably a gradual decline. Those nearly imperceptible tech problems (like update pop ups, lag time, security vulnerabilities, etc) can really add up over time, which is one of the reasons why digital self care is so important to me.
DO try this at home!
If you try out any of these tips, I’d love to hear from ya 🙂 Digital self care is a perennial work in progress. Leave me a comment or an email with your successes so that we can celebrate together!