For numerous people who suffer from computer frustration, computers are an evil necessity that they do not like using but have to – either for their work – or because they want to use them to receive emails or to write letters. These days computers have become part of the fabric of our culture and we cannot go back to the old days of pen and paper, but we can always have these ready for any emergencies.
Even though I have been using computers for years and years, they STILL cause me stress and frustration. So, you the reader, are not alone in this and I suspect there are many of us who use computers every day, who also feel the same way.
Part of the problem with computer frustration is that we feel that we should be able to understand what is happening. As if by some magical means we can understand the messages and know intuitively what buttons to press to make it work as we want. This is not going to happen. However, we can make a conscious effort to learn about the technology, and to try to understand more about the way our computer works.
Reading the signs
I always think that computers are similar to animals in that they can make signs, but unless we can read those signs, we do not know what is being communicated to us. Much of what we see on the screen is only the external part, similar to a dog’s tail that it uses to send messages to the outside world. We do not need to know what is going on inside the computer for us to use it. However, when something does not work as we expect, the frustration can become overwhelming and particularly when we do not understand the communications messages that are displayed.
Effective and efficient
Computers are supposed to help us to work more effectively and more efficiently, but when things go wrong, the feeling of helplessness that we experience, only makes the frustration worse. We do not know where to look for the answer or what to do so sort out the problem. The error messages given on the screen only serve to increase our stress and frustration since they are often meaningless and unhelpful.
Anger and exasperation are no use when dealing with objects, and only serve to get us more stressed and worked up. This in turn raises our blood pressure and damages our long-term health. We all know that stress is one of the silent killers, computer anger and the build-up of frustration and stress can cause sudden and unexpected health problems. We should do as much as we can to find ways to mitigate the effects of stress in our everyday lives.
The solution to computer frustration is not an easy one, because we must realise that no-one is an expert in everything, so there will be things in life that we do not understand. This always causes frustration and stress, but can be lessened by telling ourselves we are not an expert in this area and to find help to arrive at a solution. Additionally, we should begin to learn more about the thing which is causing us a problem, so that it will be less likely to cause us a problem in the future. People can learn about things they set their mind to doing. For example there are many people who have taught themselves how to use a mobile phone just because they had a need to use one. The same applies to computers, we are never going to be experts but we can become familiar with using them by applied knowledge.
Taking a step back for a moment, remember that if we are a new or nervous computer user, we should take this fact into account when we decide to buy or use one. Perhaps there is good support from the supplier of the program or of the computer? Maybe the company you work for has a support department, or, if all else fails, maybe we can use the phone to call a friend or colleague for help? Any of these will work to reduce our feelings of computer frustration, and if we know we can call on outside support, the pressure on us has been reduced.
Asking for help
Whatever steps we take to resolve the problem, we need to realise that there is absolutely no shame in asking for help – particularly when many people enjoy being an expert in something and are only to happy to help you if they can. Computer frustration and anger can be lessened by trying to increase our knowledge about the program which has caused us a problem, or the computer in general, Doing this, we become more of a competent user ourselves and this also gives us an opportunity to pay back the help we have received from others.