If you’re making resolutions (and who isn’t?), add these basic tech skills to your list. They’ll be quick to learn and will enhance your productivity.

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  1. Take advantage of your email signature. Don’t miss the opportunity to reinforce your branding every time you send an email. Things to include: Your website, social media profiles, short tagline or title and your logo if you can do it without making it an attachment.
  2. Use a password manager. Try LastPass or 1Password. These services will generate strong, secure passwords for you and remember them so you don’t have to. You can store them safely and have your information with you wherever you go. Stop using the same password for every login; you’re asking for trouble.
  3. Backup. Are you backing up your computer and/or other devices? I recommend a cloud backup solution; physical hard drives are great, but they can fail, or (as I know all too well) get knocked off a table and destroyed. I use Crashplan, but there are others.
  4. Keyboard shortcuts. They can save time and save your wrists from the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome. Many shortcuts work across applications. For starters, try Command (Mac) or Control (PC) R to refresh a web page.
  5. Get a VPN. If you use public wifi, you should get a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data safe. Doing your banking at the local coffee shop? That cute guy at the next table could be grabbing your password and account numbers.
  6. Social media. You don’t have to become an expert, but it’s at least helpful to know how to get around on the major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Even if you don’t want to look at cat pictures, they can be a great source of information, news, and inspiration.
  7. Keep up with tasks. If you’re not already using a task manager such as Wunderlist, Todoist, or Nozbe, try it. In addition to the satisfaction you’ll get from checking the boxes when you completed a task, you can get reminders via text, email, or an onscreen popup.
  8. Use Evernote. It’s an invaluable tool for capturing notes on anything; you can record audio notes. snapshots and sort them into tags and notebooks to keep you organized. There’s a free version for desktop and mobile and it syncs flawlessly.
  9. Read more. Use Feedly to discover new content on topics you’re interested in. You can follow work-related topics or your favorite sport. Especially if you’re trying to build an online media presence; content curation can help you build thought leadership.
  10. Use your phone. Learn to use helpful apps that help you keep your life rolling along; sync your calendar with your desktop (easy with Google Calendar), read books, scan documents (Scannable), and learn a new language (Duolingo and Brainscape).

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