We recently started to profile and test a special membership feature for Connect Hub, the coworking and event venue I founded a couple of years ago and where I’m currently spending a consistent part of my time. This membership feature will be mostly online. As such, we had to fiddle with protected content areas, logins and user roles. To make a long story short, this is a rather complex process, and, at times, we felt quite confused.
For instance, the other day a colleague was asking me about a specific piece of content that she was supposed to be seeing in the website. I was sure that the content was there, but I double-checked. Yes, it was there. After a bit of investigation, it turned out she was logged into a more restrictive role. After I changed her permission level, she was able to see the content again.
What Is A Login? What Does It Really Means When You Are Logged In?
As I was slowly drifting away from the discussion, something started to tick in my head. The whole logging in situation was intriguing.
Then it hit me…
What exactly is a login? What does it do? What’s the purpose of a login?
In short, a login protects a special area with some credentials. As long as you have the right credentials, you can access that area.
We have credentials for our email accounts, for instance. As long as we have the right credentials, we can access email. But we also have credentials for other, less digital areas of our lives.
For instance, the “relationship” area is protected by a rather complex login. It consists in a few keywords, like “care”, communication”, “support”, “commitment”. As long as we have these keywords in place, and we apply them correctly, we can access that area.
We also have access to another area, called “health”. The keywords for the “health” area are (the most important ones): “correct eating”, “exercising”, “life-work balance”. As long as we have, and use, these keywords, we should have an unrestricted access to our health.
What Happens When We Lose The Password?
Every once in a while, we experience the annoying situation in which we suddenly lose access to some parts of our life.
It can be the relationship area, for instance. All of a sudden, instead of access to the regular “Saturday cuddling” section of that area, we get the “grumpy silence” section. And when we try to investigate the reasons, we get a conversation like this:
We: Honey, what’s wrong?
We: Then why are you silent?
Honey: I’m not. I’m talking to you right now, don’t I?
We: Did I do something?
Honey: Did you?
We: Honey, what’s wrong?
Honey: You know what’s wrong.
In geeks terms, this the area where we get a “segmentation fault”. In lay terms, we’re having a blank moment and we temporarily lose our cognitive ability. In more metaphoric terms, we get hit by a train.
Well, that’s only one example, and I’m sure we’ve all been there. After the initial baffling, we regroup and start the password recovery procedure. We look back to the last week and try to understand when we didn’t use “communication”, or “support”. If we’re lucky, we find the password, we use it, and then the access is happily granted, sometimes up to the “make up sex on the living room table” level.
If we’re lucky.
If we’re not, we have to dig deeper. We have to use password hints. You know, like those questions we have to ask in order to get back hints. Except this time is more complex than: “What was the name of your first pet?”.
Every once in a while, we even have to reset the password. In relationships, that means we have to start clean. Either in the current relationship, or in a new one.
How To Manage Your Logins For Protected Areas
Maintaining the access to your protected areas doesn’t happen automatically. Except for the situations where the password became part of your being, and you don’t need to perform the “logging in” process. But most of the time you can’t access the protected areas directly, without logging in.
So, to streamline the process, a little bit of care should be exerted. Let’s see a very (very) short tutorial about this.
1. Prioritize Your Protected Areas
First of all, you should know very well which areas are still worth maintaining. Not all of them are always worth. Some areas, even if they used to hold some value, may become obsolete quite often. So, you have to set your priorities straight.
Some of the areas that are very common to all the people are: relationships, money and health. The focus should be on these ones.
2. Identify The Correct Passwords
After you prioritized the areas, review the passwords. And test them. Are you logged in for real, or you’re just imagining that?
And be sure not to confuse them. For instance, don’t mix the “unconditional support” password you give to your intimate relationship with the login to the “career protected” area. You don’t want that. Even in this keyword will give you access, the end result won’t be good for you. You can’t give 100% support only to your career.
You need to access all the protected area in a balanced way, otherwise, in time, you will forget the passwords for the ones you’re access the least.
3. Exercise The Passwords
After you have the passwords, you should start some mnemonic exercises, in order not to lose access to the passwords again. For instance, if the password for the “money” area is “provide value to people”, do that. Constantly. Otherwise you will forget that password, and you will lose access to that area. Or if the password for “health” is “exercise”, practice that. Otherwise your access with your health will be cut off, at some point.
As I was slowly getting back to reality after wandering through all the thoughts I wrote here, the reality of the hub was slowly entering my senses: the noise of people typing on their computers, the background music, the light.
I was in the protected area called “Connect Hub”, for which the password was “be useful to other people”.
So I got up from my desk and went to verify the availability of toilet papers in the bathrooms.