Coping with Technology Rage

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?

Reality

– What’s been happening?

-What have you tried before?

-What were the results?

-What are your roadblocks?

-Is your goal attainable?

Options

-If a friend were experiencing this, what would you advise?

Next Steps

– 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.

 

Leadership for the Soul

 

Mindtools.com says “Leadership can be hard to define and it means different things to different people. In the transformational leadership model, leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision.”

How is that done?

You may have heard the quote, “no one cares about how much you know unless they know how much you care.”  Can you be defined as a leader if you don’t ever get followers?  It seems the best leaders show how much they care about their mission.  Then the ones who show they care about their people get the most people on board.

Think of the best leaders in ancient wars.  Those who you see in the movies that are charging ahead of their troops to fight a battle.  The ones who get out in front.  They are in the trenches with their people.  When you see that in a movie, doesn’t it ignite your passion internally to want to see their side win?

Besides leading the way, how else do those leaders get people on board?  We see characteristics as being comfortable in their own skin, confident in who they are, strong in their decision making, have integrity and base decisions on the betterment of all their people.  They make their team feel valued that someone else is willing to fight on their behalf.  It makes them all want to win together.

What kind of leader are you?  How do you show you care about your people? When your people are trying to voice what they are experiencing in the trenches, do you shut them down?  If so, instead:

  • Work to listen and understand if it is a legitimate concern.
  • Rephrase what you are hearing them feel.
  • Ask what have you tried?
  • What were the results?
  • Ask what are your recommended options?
  • Ask how do you want to be part of the solution?
  • Do you know any others that are feeling the same way and would you want to help come up with ideas to fix it?

This approach will help your people feel heard and opinions valued.  Also, it weeds out the negative thinkers.  Those who want to complain but not help fix the problem.

When you make them feel heard rather than force top-down thinking and respond in ways where they feel they can’t trust being honest, you risk not getting valuable information for an effective strategy.  Also if you don’t understand them and what they are going through, how are you going to provide the adequate tools for them to handle the battle.  Shutting them down before understanding them says to them, “your opinions don’t matter”.  “Your views are not valued enough.”

If you feel they don’t understand the big picture from their feedback, it also tells you they don’t understand the vision.  In that case, you may need to clarify it and get them on board with why what you are asking is important.

Most people want to feel they are doing the right thing and will work more passionately for those who care for them.   Care for your people by empathizing with them and coach them how to become their best and you will have an army helping you accomplish your vision.

Photo taken at Lake Tahoe