Tech Check: A Yearlong Technology To-Do List

This post has been featured on Big Deal Media's blog and led to a follow up for ISTE's blog.

I recently got a cactus.  As I sat here looking at it I thought to myself "how am I going to remember to water this thing?"  Luckily it doesn't need water often in the fall/winter months...

I decided that I will water it the first new day of each month- making it easy to remember that I had something to do after I flipped the calendar.  That got me thinking- what else should I be doing monthly? I'm good about backing up my MacBook to an external hard drive since I get lovely little reminders (thank you, MacBook). Other tasks I get to when I think about it.  This cactus watering dilemma caused me to put together a schedule of all the things I "get around to" but should do more consistently.  Below is my calendar. Underneath is a bit of an explanation for each activity.

What else am I missing?
Here's a link to a Google Doc with the content below:

Bi-Weekly or Monthly:

-Update, Sync and Backup iPhone (I back up to my MacBook prior to backing up my laptop)
-Back up MacBook to external hard drive. I love that my Mac reminds me to complete this task (see screenshot). Currently I have a “My Passport for Mac” external hard drive.
No Backup Screen shot.png


-Check social media settings (Twitter & Facebook privacy, lists, notifications, followers). Good time to also check the accounts I don’t use often (Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)


-Update my CV/Professional Portfolio (Check dates and add any new activities/images. I do this as new experiences need to be added but having it here reminds me to take a longer, closer look.). Here is a link to my portfolio:


-Create list of passwords for family. (This may sound morbid but social media and email platforms require extensive documentation to shut down accounts without passwords).  Create a list of all passwords and keep it someplace it can be easily accessed if something happens to you.  I keep it in our safe.  Get a list of passwords for everyone in the family but be sure to have clear conversations AND FOLLOW THEM if there is a privacy concern.  

-Check email subscriptions. (I’m still mastering this!) We all sign up for email subscriptions to vendors, online stores, organizations, etc. When it reaches a point that I don’t even open a particular email and automatically delete it that tells me it’s time to unsubscribe from their email list.


-Review my Digital Tattoo. A quick check in on what is out there on the Internet about me. This can be done multiple times a year.  Be sure to logout of all browsers and be sure to search using multiple browsers.  Search your username and maiden name if applicable.  If you have kids, now is a good time to do a search on them as well (especially usernames).  


-Backup/download work email and Drive documents. I create documents/slideshows/forms/etc. in both my work and private email accounts. I try to take time once a year to download all of these from my work email/Drive and save them on an external drive.  If I leave my place of employment all of this disappears.


-Run Who Has Access This isn’t crucial to me necessarily as a technology coach but is something I not only do but encourage my administration to do as well.  Running this program scans your Google Drive and shows you who has access to all of your Drive contents.  If you see folks that no longer need access they can be removed directly in the report. The service deletes its own access to your Drive along with your Drive data from its servers 24 hours after running your report.


-Back up my blog Although I post to my blog often this reminds me to do a deep-dive into the nuts and bolts beyond posts and design.  This month I check my settings, design, widgets, etc.) In the past I’ve also archived my blog posts by turning my blog into a pdf/book.  Here’s the resource I use to do this:


-Clean/sort Google Drives.  Before I head back to work I take some time to sort through my Google Drives (personal and private). I create folders to house docs/etc. that I want to keep but don’t need visible and delete the items I no longer want.  


-Review podcasts. Throughout the year I add podcasts to my list based on peer recommendations. I set aside a small block of time to look through my list and weed out any that I don’t listen to.


-Back up my wiki.  I keep a wiki as a dumping ground for all the links I come across that I don’t necessarily need right now but might use or recommend to others at a later date. I’ve got over 1,000 links and would be crushed to lose all of these. Luckily under the settings tab Wikispaces makes it easy for me to export and backup my pages.


-Download Twitter archive. Not necessarily something I need but something I do for myself to see how and what I am sharing/retweeting. Twitter makes this easy:


-Organize MacBook/files/to-do folder. Because this is a bigger task I leave it to a month where I have some downtime over winter break. I organize my images, files, etc. on my laptop and reorganize where I see it’s necessary. I keep a “to do sites” folder where I often place links to websites or articles that I come across that look interesting but I don’t have immediate time for right now.

-Clean up apps on iPhone. I have pages and pages of apps I don’t use! This reminds me to go in and clean up.  It’s also a great time for me to check in on my background refresh settings as well as my location and privacy settings.

Oh, and each month I try to water the darn cactus.


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