Organizing passwords

Organizing passwords has been an increasing challenge to stay on top of, seeing passwords and email addresses for that matter only increase as time goes on. But not to worry here are a few useful tips to get organized with your passwords in no time.

It has been said that the safest way to organizing passwords is in a book or box next to your desk, because no one will know how to decipher them. There might be some merit in this idea, but a few years ago this way started to really waste a lot of my time. As every time, I had to find both the website, the email address and the password I used, in one very messy booklet. 

Organizing passwords, is one of the organizing challenges which evolved as a society, went more digital. 

Organizing passwords – Keep it simple

As a general idea related to organizing passwords, I like to simplify life and only have three variations on my passwords. These passwords are significant things to me and linked to significant dates in my life and no it is not my birthday as this is too obvious.

My organized passwords consist out of two main passwords; one I have had for over 10 years and another one which I use mostly as I can have it with a full date or part date. It means that if I get three chances at a password it is normally one of these three.


An example:

Say I use the date I got my dog; 15/3/2015 (a significant date but no one else will know this about me) and the dog’s name is “Jump”. You can now create the following password variations:

Jump150315
Jump1503

It gives me capitals and numbers which all make sense to me and can expand or subtract (there are a number of sites that you have to have 8 symbols with numbers and capitals). If these two options don’t work, I go back to the other password I have and am still in my three chances which you normally get when login in somewhere.

Organizing passwords – Temporary passwords

Temporary passwords tend to be something which some workplaces have as their IT policy and practises. This is smart thinking from a security point of view and annoying for the person having to remember a password which changes regularly. 

One way I have found this to be quite useful, is using your passwords as an affirmation. Say you want to enjoy each day more, but forget to do affirmations regularly. Make it your password: I enjoy each Day can become: IeeD – then add the current year IeeD2016, I have a capital for both the first and last letter of this affirmation. 


Once it is time to change passwords again, I simple create another affirmation.

You realize, how often we log into our computers at work once you start doing this exercise.

Organizing passwords – a final tip

Organizing passwords becomes harder when we need to link them to the things or institutions we have associated ourselves with, even if you set it up with a date and or affirmation. We still need to remember which password links to which organisation and in some cases we get this really strange unchangeable user ID (which no-one is going to remember). This is why I use Evernote.

I like Evernote, it works wonders for a bit of a computer scatter brain (like mine) and it works especially well with passwords, because it works on a search function. I type in Hotmail and it will show all notes with Hotmail in it, one of them is my password.

Now organizing passwords via Evernote can have some security issues seeing Evernote is open when my computer is open (mind you, you still need to know my computer password before you get there). But just to make sure, I use a code surrounding which password I have used. In general, my password notes normally give the website and name of the organization. I type in which of my 5 email addresses I used to sign up and in code I have my password written (the code is normally a combination of Dutch and English - one of the benefits of bilingualism). It is never written fully so the only way my organized passwords can get hacked is if an English / Dutch speaking person is able to get in my computer, find my Evernotes and manages to decipher them (which is rather unlikely – if not for the fact that in the grand scheme of things, I am really not that interesting to hack in the first place). 

Organizing passwords – password software

There is special password organizing software out there, I have never used this, some of my friends swear by it. One reason I don’t use it, is that for one, you need to remember the password of the password organizing software to get in. The other thing is, that it is cloud based which I don’t mind, but it means that if I need to remember say a code for a door of a location in which I am working, I then need internet access.  Evernote doesn’t need this and is also available on my phone, so if I need a code or password, I can normally find it in my back pocket. 

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