If you were born in the 60’s the introduction of technology may be a blessing and a curse. In fact there are three situations where I swear a lot. The first being fairground rides (I really don’t get the thrill), rides of another kind (I rather enjoy) and then my ineptitude at managing technology. I know quite a few ladies about my age and above who tell me they are a ‘technophobe’, this means they have made up their mind they can’t do it, that they are scared of messing things up and completely useless at tech. I understand, but being one who has decided ‘no fear’ is my middle name; I have just tried to do my best despite the long hours of frustration it can bring.
I remember getting an electronic typewriter in my early twenties, thinking I could write up all my poems and save them. I did in fact type up a few and have still got them, but then when I compare the quality of them to today’s printed off, computer generated ones it makes me smile. I completely loved that typewriter because it had the automatic ability to go to the next line when the line space you were on was full. Little things please little minds, I thought to myself. Now we take all that for granted, the computer does it all. You can even change the font, the font size and edit with ease. To you youngsters it is what you know and expect, but to me it’s still a bit of magic.
Don’t get me started on the internet, how on earth does that work? How can you send an email or message over the big blue? It’s all rather bewildering, even to someone who believes in the power of the mind and that through asking the universe for exactly what you want, it can manifest itself before you. All technology makes me truly awestruck, I just don’t understand; but I love it and hate it in equal measures. I love it because it’s easy when you know how to keep in touch, connect with old and new friend; but doesn’t it gobble up time like a ravenous time thief that dulls the brain. The other thing I waste my time on are the games; I used to like a game of Pac Man in the pub with my mate after work. I royally pissed my husband off by playing endless games of Tetris; so I was a bit of a game addict already. Now I have to be strong and delete the games from my phone when I need to stop. Then once in a while when I am on a long trip or have a break from work, they creep back on my screen and I am hooked again. The willpower it takes to delete, when I find the time thief is getting way out of hand and the housework remains undone and I have forgotten to get out of the house, is immense.
No doubt in my mind that computer technology has improved my ability to be more efficient at work; when the darn thing works. When the broadband fails or the computer says ‘NO’; the red mist falls across my eyes and I am cursing at the screen and struggling not to throw something. I am learning to approach this differently now, because it has happened so much and like technology, I have evolved to be a better version. I could go on bemoaning the bad bits and extolling the good; but I think instead I will give you my top 5 handy hits to help you with managing technology as that was my initial intention!
Top 5 Tips
1. Don’t be proud and ask the younger members in the family to show you how; I am grateful to my two daughters who can do technology without thinking. The young people of today are brought up with tech and whilst I wonder about the wisdom of giving a toddler a tablet to keep them entertained, I do realise that the future is tech. We will probably grow more poseable and padded fingers and thumbs to cope.
2. Befriend the IT team at work, they can give you the best advice and help. When the IT jargon goes completely over your head and you have to ask them to interpret and show you how; they are usually pretty obliging if you bring them cake regularly. My best IT friend signposted me to some free Excel training you could subscribe to, so I did. It was utter gobbledegook to me but I know where to go if I really want to master those spreadsheets.
3. If at first you don’t succeed, try it another way after a break from it and don’t beat yourself up. I have discovered there are often more than one ways to resolve an issue so if you google for some help you may get some different advice for the same issue. It probably doesn’t matter which one is right or wrong just be prepared to give it a go. Set aside the time to do it and have the phone a friend option at the ready.
4. Re-write the script from ‘I am a technophobe’ to ‘I may not have been brought up with tech but I can do this with a little help’. All that negative thinking and messaging will not serve you well, so re-frame it so that you start to build confidence and faith in your abilities. It really is easy when you know how.
5. Don’t be a scroll troll! Remember technology is here to help us not hinder us. If you are spending too long scrolling through other people’s accounts of their lives, you are not getting on with yours. Give yourself a break for the screen and go for a lovely walk or a cuppa with a good friend. Much more satisfying and better for your well-being.
One last musing
Please can we avoid the denigration of language, stop writing in abbreviated and poorly spelt ways? Protect our language everyone, pretty please!