What is it about operating new or slow software that can leave us so frazzled?! As I started with a whole new set of processes and organization system and new computer hardware and software, new calendar syncing and internet access issues I ended my day yesterday with tightened muscles and a short fuse. I had a long list of things I wanted to complete and my computer was not cooperating. I felt irritated, helpless, annoyed, technology handicapped and frustrated for not getting everything accomplished on the timetable I had in mind.
Wait! I have been there before! As I reflect back on my first days of every new job, I can recall tensing up over technology every time! Every memory, in the beginning, includes me losing patience with not learning the technology as fast as I would like. Blaming it for not allowing me to be as speedy and productive as I had in mind for the time I allotted. The more tension I built up each time, the worse I struggled to figure it out.
What is this all about? No matter how much faster the software is today compared to 30 years ago or how much faster the speed of the internet is compared to dial-up, I still get worked up that it isn’t fast enough. What an aha moment! It isn’t the technology that has the problem. It is me! Can you identify with me?
I am typically someone who forgets to come up for air. I start down my to-do list like a blazing train that doesn’t have any brakes and then suddenly combust because the engine wants to shut down. I drive myself harder and harder to a point of wanting to beat it up for not doing what I want it to do. I need help. Does this sound like you too?
If you have found yourself in similar situations go through some self-coaching questions (Based on InsideOut Coaching and counseling lessons):
-What issue do you want to work through?
-What is your SMART Goal:
(Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, Time Phase)
– What are the consequences if you don’t take action?
– What’s been happening?
-What have you tried before?
-What were the results?
-What are your roadblocks?
-Is your goal attainable?
-If a friend were experiencing this, what would you advise?
– How can you put a plan in place to ensure you don’t end up here again?
As an example of how to answer these main questions, my goal is to not allow myself to get all worked up and tense and destroy my own peace and productivity due to things out of my control. I want to keep my joy. If I don’t do something about this I could damage my relationships and work productivity.
In my reality, I have kept doing the same thing and tried harder and harder without taking a step back. I stop breathing and allowed tension to grow. By the time I call support, I have already lost my patience and start my deep breathing after someone else is involved.
To answer the question on whether or not my goal is attainable, I do see it is realistic given technology support people can maintain calmness and they deal with technology frustrations all day long.
If I were coaching a friend or family member through this problem I would say:
– Ask yourself, do you have time to take a break from this? Hit the pause button and do any of the following:
-Some deep relaxing breaths.
-Go to lunch away from your desk
-Take a quick walk
-Switch to a different task
All the above can give you time to refresh your mind and relax your muscles.
Like you would a friend, tell yourself:
-Stop pushing yourself so hard.
-Schedule in time for breaks throughout the day so you don’t burn out.
-Lighten your daily to-do list.
-It is okay to call for help before losing your patience.
-Stop your negative thinking by pausing to look at the big picture and read some positive messages to give yourself a better attitude to relieve some tension.
-Learn to laugh at yourself and the situation.
For so many of us, technology is hard to understand and therefore it puts us over the edge because we can’t control how it malfunctions. We also can’t try to influence our devices. All we can do is look at how we handle ourselves and manage our reactions as well as the habits that lead up to our tensions and explosions.
Go through the series of questions above when you find yourself facing a roadblock. This exercise can help you see solutions you weren’t originally able to see.
For me, this series of questions made me approach my next day differently. By scheduling in breaks for breathers and stretching and making my daily to-do lists more realistic, I ended up accomplishing much more. It also helped to take time for lunch away from my desk. Everything went smoother!
When you hit a problem that starts to frustrate you, divert your attention to something easier that reduces tension for a short time. Then revert back to calling for help with the problem after you have tried again with a more relaxed mental state and where your muscles aren’t all tight.
We can choose to allow technology to help us become more efficient or let it take control of our lives. It is up to us to choose how we respond.
If you have other helpful tips to not letting technology take away your peace, please share.