The thing about common sense is that it’s not that common. Common non-sense, on the other hand … well, there’s an overabundance of that. Take computer use, for example. Common sense tells us what we should and shouldn’t do, but we tend to ignore it because it’s not convenient, takes too long or because we just plain forget.

Let’s break it down.

Common non-sense #1

Hands up if you log in to Facebook, Twitter or any social media account while at work (we won’t tell on you, we promise) and then stay logged in while you wander off to make some coffee, get lunch or powder your nose. If you have a prankster in the office this is an open invitation to commandeer your keyboard and enter status updates about your toe jam fetish, your embarrassing problem with onions and your love for Justin Bieber. And that’s if the prankster is nice.

It’s a little worse if you do this while at an internet café. Sure, you’re only going to be gone from the desk for two minutes while you fiddle with the printer, but do you know what kind of havoc a malicious stranger can cause in less time than that? While you’re logged in a host of private information is up for grabs. Leave your account unattended in a public place and watch your life savings dribble from your bank account or find a stalker waiting beneath your bedroom window.

Always log off – always.

Common non-sense #2

Have you ever let your antivirus programme expire? Unless you’ve got a serious A-type personality the answer is probably yes. You might even have let it lapse for several days, maybe a couple weeks. After all, modern computer systems are quite robust and you’ve never really been plagued by viruses or any other nasties in the past. Alas hackers and malware aficionados never sleep. They constantly come up with new ways to strike fear into the hearts of computer users everywhere and take pleasure in upsetting the careful order of your digital life.

If your antivirus programme has expired and you aren’t in a position to buy a new one, at least avail yourself of some free packages. But do your research first; some free antivirus programmes come preloaded with their own bugs.

Better that you mark down the expiry date on a calendar and ensure that you are able to renew your contract when the time comes.

Common non-sense #3

You know how you’re supposed to switch off and remove plugs after you’ve finished using an electronic gadget or device? This is to save electricity, yes, but also to ensure that nothing blows up during a power surge or quietly fades away during a power outage. How many of you actually do it?

Granted, it’s a schlep having to bend down or stretch across, flip a switch and actually pull the plug from the wall, but imagine the far greater inconvenience of having your hard drive go phut and losing all of your personal and business data. Oh, you can recover a lot of the information, but that also takes time and there is no guarantee that everything will be restored.

Make the effort and flip the switch, your sanity will thank you.

Common non-sense #4

Who reading this has ever made a backup of all their files? Most companies (the ones that are on the ball, at any rate) have backups for their data; backups which are made every day. Some use servers and some use external drives and some use both; it doesn’t matter what is used, so long as the backups are made.

Not all private users think to make backups though. It’s as if we’re more concerned about work files going missing than irreplaceable photographs or even silly little emails that you’ve downloaded and kept.

Obviously, you don’t have to back up everything, but an external drive (and they aren’t expensive anymore) is very handy to store extra copies of your most valuable and sentimental digital possessions.

Sandy Cosser writes on behalf of Now Learning, an online learning portal which helps students find anything from an IT course to an accounting diploma.