20 tech habits to improve your life

A few new habits can make the difference between staying on task, finding what you need, and getting things done--or having a tech meltdown.

6. Get Your Cables Under Control



When you have a tangled mess of dust-coated cords knotted into a bundle under your desk, disconnecting a laptop or setting up a new printer can be impossible. The cords for power, USB, speakers, and FireWire all look the same. Simple labels can help you avoid accidentally killing your entire rig by pulling one wrong plug. Print out your own with a label maker, or buy a prefab pack of Pilot ID labels to stick on your home-office or living-room plugs. When the cat knocks one out or it's time to rearrange, you'll be glad you did. Then, get cords up off the dusty floor with an under-the-desk cable tray such as this US$10 Ikea model. To keep gadget and laptop cords from falling off the back of your desk when they're not plugged in, affix a simple cable catcher (or a binder clip) to the edge of your desk to hold them. Finally, plug your workstation and your collection of peripherals into a single power strip or UPS to shut down the energy hogs with a single switch when you're not using them.

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