Usernames, passwords, and access codes driving you crazy?  Don’t have a smartphone yet but need a solution TODAY, before the end of this SHIFT?

Yep, it’s true, you can just write them all down somewhere (the notebook in your pocket, the back of your badge, a slip of paper in your wallet) and, frankly, that’s what a lot of folks do, no matter how many times IT says it’s a terrible idea.  If you need the info to care for your patients and you just can’t keep it all straight in your head, what else are you supposed to do?

One option is to use the cell phone in your pocket.  Yes, that regular feature phone you’re already carrying around.  Here’s how.    

Disclaimer:  IT won’t like this approach anymore than they like you jotting passwords down on paper.  You decide if you think it seems safer and more secure to you.

The obvious thing to try first is just adding your various secrets as ‘contacts’.  All cell phones have a way to manage contact names and phone numbers.  Most even allow you to organize contacts by group.  So why not just add passwords and access codes as business contacts?  Put the system and user name or the door number in the ‘name’ field and the password in the phone number field.  If you only have numeric info to enter, say pin numbers and keypad access codes, that will work great.  But the minute you try typing a real password with letters into a phone number field, you are likely to find that the field accepts only numbers.

Wait, though.  Check to see if the contact manager gives you an email address or ‘notes’ field.  If it does, you should be able to type your password values into that field and leave the phone number blank.

If your contact manager doesn’t accept email addresses or have a note field, try one more thing.  Look for a notepad feature.  It may be pretty well hidden.  On my old feature phone, I have to bring up the menu and then navigate through the menu items:  9. Settings and Tools / 2. Tools / 8. Notepad to get to it.  But it’s there and it gets easier to reach each time I use it.

You do have to be willing to do ‘keypad typing’ to use either the contact manager or the notepad.  (Confession:  I don’t text actively, so typing words with the phone keypad continues to be a struggle for me.)   But the one nice thing about passwords is that they are ‘enter once, modify a little at a time’ entries.  That is, your user names or the door numbers or whatever are unlikely to change very often.  So, after you first get an entry typed in, you should just have to change the passwords occasionally.  And I even have some suggestions on how to change your passwords as little as possible when you do have to change them.

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