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Beacon Senior News

Your computer is like a pair of pliers

Mar 01, 2018 04:11PM ● By Adam Cochran

Ten years ago, I taught the monthly senior computer classes for the local parks and recreation department. Lesson one was always the same: Your computer is a pair of pliers, not a wrench.

Of course, your computer is neither a pair of pliers, nor a wrench. However, like these items, your computer is a multi-use tool that has many practical uses.

Have you ever told a friend that you feel stupid around technology because it will do so many things that you will never learn how to do?

The secret to learning how to use your computer (or any other technology) is to stop thinking about it as a magic box of specific and complicated wonders. Start thinking of it like a pair of pliers.

When you need a pair of pliers, there’s no question that it’s the best tool for the job when you need to crimp the end of some wires, open a small paint bottle, or pinch your husband for groaning too often while you’re binge-watching Episode 13 of “Project Runway.”

Before you get frustrated with technology, ask yourself this next question: Do I really want or need to do all of the things that this piece of technology can do?

Instead of getting frustrated that you haven’t mastered the tech tool, break it down into small jobs. You will be more successful at learning if you focus on the job instead of the device.

Once you understand a computer’s basic functions, such as printing, saving, or finding files, you will discover that your desire to accomplish the larger task will overtake your fears. What do you want to do? Genealogy research? Organize your photos? Track your health? Get in touch with family and past friends on Facebook? All of those things are excellent uses for technology. Best of all, once you learn them, the procedures are always the same.

The purpose of any tech tool is to make your life more enjoyable and efficient, not force you to become a tech wiz. Relax, focus on the routine processes, and remember that there’s no requirement to use the tool. Don’t let someone who knows more than you make you feel guilty for how you use your personal pair of pliers.