I’ve never had the best of luck with technology—but these past couple months have been particularly horrible. To start, my iPhone went haywire: it started dying at a 50% charge, it would turn off any time I tried to listen to my Pandora app, and it froze whenever I typed, clicked, or scrolled too fast. As if that weren’t frustrating enough, I started experiencing difficulties with my laptop as well. Every so often, Microsoft Word would shut down unexpectedly and threaten to trash any unsaved, yet important documents I had open. In addition, the fan began overheating and scowling at me every few days—when this happened several years ago, my laptop turned off and never turned back on. So, to say the very least, this raised some concerns.

I’m happy to report that I’ve since gotten a new phone and experienced minimal issues with my laptop. But that’s not to say that my issues with technology are over. Every single day I experience unneeded stress and anxiety from using my devices: there’s an update that confuses me or a new system that overwhelms me; I have over 1,000 emails in my inbox; and every single click warrants the fear of a random shutdown, thanks to past experience. Now, I can’t change my unfortunate past with technology—nor can I ensure I’m never personally victimized by technology again. But what I can do is focus on improving my everyday use of it. And you can work on improving your electronic life too:

Three words: back it up.

I can only blame technology for so many of my issues—the truth is that I’ve played an instrumental role in more than a few technological failures. One being the loss of all my pictures, notes, messages, and apps upon getting a new phone. This happened simply because I didn’t use iCloud: the standard back-up system for Apple products.

I’m now sure to utilize built-in features for backing up both my iPhone and my laptop, as well as saving additional copies of particularly important or treasured photos and documents. For instance, I save important work-related material to a flash drive and upload cherished pictures to a private album on Facebook where I can recover them if needed.

Take advantage of the perks.

Technology is stressful and sometimes difficult to understand—but it’s also super useful, as well as necessary in the functioning of today’s world. Therefore, you should take advantage of all of its perks:

  • Utilize the digital calendar on your device to stay on top of upcoming events.
  • Sync your email to your phone so you can check it on the go when you need to.
  • Jot down anything you’d otherwise forget in your notes app.
  • Work on projects with classmates, friends, and coworkers using Google Drive.

The list is never-ending—as technology was created and is continuously improved to make our lives easier not harder. Remember that the next time you’re sitting in front of the computer pulling your hair out. Furthermore, think about where you would be without technology—this is an easy way to put your troubles into perspective.

Keep it simple.

If you’re a technological trailblazer you can afford to and benefit from utilizing everything your devices have to offer. But if you’re easily frustrated and perplexed by technology, such as myself, it’s better to stick to the basics.

Don’t feel like you have to download advanced systems or apps—instead, focus on mastering the simpler, yet ever-valuable features. For example, if you’re comfortable using iMovie and have no desire nor need to learn Adobe Premiere, don’t. Or if you find that it’s much easier and more beneficial for you to use an iPad over a laptop, then do it. The key is to figure out how technology best fits your lifestyle and to run with that.

Remain calm and ask for help.

I could go on for days about how stressful and aggravating technology can be—but I’d much rather save my energy and just ask for help when problems arise. Chances are that a friend, family member, or coworker knows how to fix your problem or accomplish whatever you’re setting out to accomplish on your phone or computer. So, give it a go yourself first and if you can’t quite figure it out, simply ask for some help. In the meantime, keep your cool. I know from personal experience that letting your technological problems get to you will only make the situation worse. Try joking about and laughing off your 21st century problems instead!

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