7. Working with your laptop on your lap
Yes, they call it a laptop, but you weren't supposed to take that literally. Using your laptop on your lap can lead to a whole host of problems, many caused by the heat that most laptops spew from their undersides. The maladies can range from simple skin dryness and discoloration to reduced sperm count to -- the jury's still out on this one -- cancer.
Heat isn't the only problem. Placing a heavy object across your thighs for hours on end can cause neurological damage, particularly when coupled with the typical laptop-on-lap posture: hunched over, legs outstretched, neck craned. Arthritis can also develop over time.
Fix: Fixes aren't easy unless you want to move your desk into the living room so you can watch Game of Thrones while you work. Instead, start with a lap desk that shields your thighs from heat, and follow the break-taking tips outlined in item #6. Periodically shifting your laptop from one leg to the other can help. Avoid working on your laptop with your legs outstretched on the coffee table, too. Your nervous and muscular systems will be in better alignment if you keep your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
8. Failing to back up data
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Everything is zipping along just swimmingly until one day it suddenly isn't. Maybe it's a hard-drive crash, maybe it's a malware infestation, maybe it's a stolen laptop. One way or another, your data has abruptly vanished, and you're left crying that you should have been backing up your data.
The excuses for not backing up your data are becoming increasingly thin. Any number of online backup services will sync your files automatically with a cloud-storage system, whether you use a PC, a tablet, or a phone. Don't be lulled into thinking that you have nothing important on that device. Whether it's a forgotten baby picture or a game save on the verge of hitting 100 percent completion, you'll feel differently once it's gone.
Fix: With most backup systems now, you don't need to do anything except install an app and set it up. If that's too much effort, well, perhaps it's time to go back to pen and paper.
9. Reusing passwords over and over
We are all guilty when it comes to this bad habit. How are you supposed to remember your 100th different password for the latest social network you've joined? You take the easy way out and reuse a password that has worked for you time and time again.
Password "strength" is a bit illusory. All it takes is one website that doesn't store passwords securely and gets hacked, or one old and unencrypted hard drive that's sloppily disposed of, to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down, no matter how many numbers, uppercase letters, and special characters you use.
Fix: The solution involves coming up with a system to build a unique password based on each website where you use it. Build from a base phrase and, for each site, add something unique to it. Take, say, Flurpb&rgl3r as a base and add fb8 to the end for Facebook, or tw7 for Twitter. (In this example, the numerical component of the end tag is the number of characters that the site name has.)
Presto: a password that you won't forget but is virtually impossible to crack.
10. One account, multiple users
A parent's typical move, when giving a child his or her first computer, is to hand it over and hope for the best. Mom then wonders where her address book went, and her boss wonders why she sent him 20 email messages full of gibberish.