This post was inspired by a week in which my desktop had a virus. Virgin Media had changed its servers so I couldn’t access my emails. My spanking new laptop stared blankly at me and resolutely refused to run Windows 7 and the computer I had borrowed froze so many times I spent more hours hitting the refresh button than I did getting any work done.
(I also had an ankle injury and had to take my child out of nursery but that’s not the point of this post. The point is to find a way of smiling like a Buddhist cat amidst that particular frustration that could not have existed before the internet was invented.)
This is what I said to myself:
1) Don’t take it personally
Some of us (mainly women?) see a techy failure as evidence that we are stupid cows, which is the biggest block to finding a solution that there is. You are not stupid. You are a smart person trying to figure it out. That’s all.
2) Take baby steps
We could spend the rest of our lives learning about computers, servers, hosts, SEO, POP3 and HTML code and we still wouldn’t know everything there is to know. Feeling overwhelmed is another block in learning. Don’t try to learn everything or even a lot. Take baby steps. Take one a day. You’ll be canny before you know it.
3) Remember you are not alone
Mentally identify the people who can help you. There are probably more than you think. Share yourself between them, so you aren’t asking the same person all the time. It often helps to type your question into Google and see what comes up – though you don’t want to know that when NOT BEING ABLE TO GET ON THE NET IS WHAT YOU DARN WELL CAN’T DO IN THE FIRST PLACE.
4) See this as an opportunity to learn
When something gets sorted out, make sure you understand what went wrong. Then you can congratulate yourself on having taken five baby steps before you even got to the end of the week.
5) Question why we expect it to be effort-free
If we see a beautiful garden, we appreciate people have spent years on their knees, breaking their backs and washing the soil from their fingernails. If folks are using technology in a nifty way, we just assume they’re clever geeks rather than imagine the thought, the times they were foxed and the hours spent watching little green bars move across a computer screen.
6) Enjoy the change of rhythm
There comes a point, when you are ill, when you have to abandon your plans for the day and accept you can’t do anything so you may as well enjoy spending time with your duvet. View technological failures in the same way. Accept you as can’t be as productive as you had planned so find something else to enjoy in the hiatus.
And with that wise advice to myself I wafted through my week on a jasmine-scented cloud….. That woman who lost it while on the phone to Virgin Media. It wasn’t me. Oh no.