If you do a number of things online, then you usually have a number of passwords.
As I’m sure you have all experienced, this can sometimes be frustrating and annoying when you can’t remember the password you need for the specific place you’re trying to login.
You’ve probably also heard that you should be using a unique password for every login you have, which is true, but have you ever heard how to manage all those passwords?
Using multiple passwords is great, but it’s not going to happen if you can’t manage all those passwords.
Us as humans are instinctively going to choose whatever path makes life easier. If that means using one password instead of 10, or 10 really simple passwords instead of complex ones, many of us will take that tradeoff.
So, How can we make remembering passwords easier?
There are two tricks to doing this effectively:
- Putting them all in one place, somewhere that isn’t your brain.
- Putting them on a medium that works best for you.
Yup, that’s it.
Let’s break it down:
Putting them all in one place allows you to know where they all are, and have one thing to keep safe. If they were all in separate places, then you have to remember where those places are… And keep all those places safe… and then we’re back to square one.
Choose a medium that works with your life. There is nothing saying your passwords have to be stored on your computer. Or any electronic device for that matter. The idea here is that if remembering passwords isn’t severely routine-altering, and is something you can easily add to your day, then you’re more likely to stick with it.
So how can we put this into practice?
Here are a couple of examples:
Someone who is tech savvy, takes their phone everywhere, and is used to looking things up electronically should try a password manager.
This is a piece of software that lives on your computer or your phone which stores all your passwords. Then, you only need to remember one password to access the manager and select the password you want to use.
There is one catch though. If you forget the password to your manager, all your passwords saved in it are gone! You can’t get them back.
If you don’t work on a computer all day, or prefer to lookup information in books and references, try relatively low-tech idea. A notebook!
A few years ago I wouldn’t have ever suggested using a notebook, but it’s becoming a more appealing option just because its not digital. It can’t be hacked like a computer can.
A Word of Caution..
In using a notebook however, passwords should be written without an obvious reference to what site they’re for or the username that goes with them. This makes it difficult for anyone who finds your notebook to understand, hence making it more secure than just a notebook of usernames and passwords.
The notebook should also be hidden well, or even locked in a safe (if you happen to own one!).
And because I know someone will mention this: No, sticky notes on your monitor or under the keyboard are not OK!
Of course, at the end of the day its important to pick something that will work for you and that you can manage. If you write everything down in a notebook and then hide it so well you can’t find it, its not going to help much is it?
This Weeks Challenge
How do you remember all the passwords you need? If the answer to that question is by using only one password, then this weeks challenge is now that you know a few ways to keep track of multiple passwords, can you consider changing each password to being unique and using a password manager to keep track of them?
If you do use unique passwords then this weeks challenge is to consider how you could keep track of them. If you’re a rockstar already keeping track of them easily then consider taking them one step further and make them more complex! If you don’t understand what I mean about more complex, don’t worry. I’ll have another episode on complex passwords later on.