A balanced approach to IT rage

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Technology is wonderful, but these days we have so much if it and use it so often, that occasionally it won’t work as well as we want it to. I can rarely go a week without some sort of issue with computer, phone, iPad or watch and it leaves me feeling like IT is s*IT. It also leaves me feeling frustrated, stressed and angry, so I thought I’d share with you a few ways that we can all manage our IT rage.

1) First of all, try not to do this.

It’s probably going to be a very costly way of getting your stress levels down.

2) What about swearing and shouting?

There are mixed theories on this. One side of the argument suggests that it’s better to let your anger out, but a lot of recent work suggests that it can in fact make anger a learned behaviour, the way you respond when something stressful happens. I’ll be honest, this was my common response when my laptop crashed or phone froze and I lost a big piece of work I’d been doing in the process. Hearing me go nuts at my computer however was not a very pleasant thing for Vicky to experience and so I’ve been working on some alternative solutions.

3) Walk away

If your computer has frozen or isn’t doing what it should, get up and make yourself a cup of tea (a good brew solves plenty of problems), do another task or even go for a short walk. Moderate exercise is great for stress management, especially if you get outside as it can burn off some of the excess adrenaline you’ve built up and being in natural surroundings is known to relax you and improve your mood. When you come back, the problem may or may not have resolved itself, but even if it hasn’t, you’ll find the urge to break the Laptop Shot-put world record may have subsided.

4) Re-boot

In a similar vein to walking away, shutting down and re-starting can have a positive effect. It’s the golden solution to many IT problems anyway, but it also just allows you a pause to calm down a little.

5) Plan ahead

One of the best things I’ve done to make IT failures less stressful is to put in place a series of back-ups to prevent it being a problem. This ranges from more technological solutions like storing back-ups of all files in the mysterious and ethereal ‘cloud’, changing settings to ensure documents are auto-saved as frequently as possible and can be restored and updating software more often, to more simple techniques like copying text from any post I’m about to make to Facebook in case it freezes and I lose it. Even if it does go wrong, it then doesn’t take much to recover or re-do what I was working on.

6) Try some progressive relaxation

Starting at your shoulders, tense them as much as you can for a couple of seconds, then breathe out slowly and focus on relaxing them as you do so. Work down your body, one muscle group at a time; spend a few minutes doing this and you’ll be feeling calmer in no time.

7) Laugh

Watch or listen to a few minutes of comedy; the hormones released can help to leave you feeling better already. Alternately, joke to a family member, friend or colleague about the situation, it may help to take the tension out of the situation.

8) Reframe

More than anything, what we can all probably do better these days is realise that more often that not it just isn’t the end of the world. We can re-do whatever we were working on, we can sometimes recover lost files and it often spurs us into doing something to prevent it happening again in future or trying a different approach. Frame it as learning rather than an annoyance and you may find it helpful instead.

Do any one of these and you’re on the way to slightly better balance.

Paul :-)

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