Okay, the title had to be a bit amusing because the rest is so serious. But oh, so important.
1. Get Properly Trained. You’ll get more work done in less time and with a lot less hassle. Also learn how to find help using the help buttons on your programs and on-line when you run into difficulties after you get trained. Learn the language and acronyms. There are oodles of courses on-line, at community centers and colleges, and even individual tutors. If all else fails, ask your grandchild for help. Okay, I’m only half-way serious about that.
2. Back It Up. I only put this second because you need to know how to do effective backups before you can follow this advice. But it’s a major, major priority.
3. Be secure. Know how to protect yourself from computer viruses and other malware. Don’t open questionable emails, don’t go to questionable websites, use good passwords, etc.
4. Fix Problems Immediately. Small problems can become major in the blink of an eye. Pay attention to that warning message. Get a new keyboard when the one you’re using is sticking, or get it repaired. Screen flickering? That might mean it’s going to die any minute. The potential for losing your day’s work or worse if you don’t back-up regularly is very real. Don’t let it happen to you.
5. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute. When you’re working on something that’s due soon, get it done, get it saved, get it printed, if necessary. Technology always fails at the wrong moment. Actually, there’s never a right moment.
6. Know When to Get an Expert. Give yourself just so much time to fix a problem whether it’s a machine or software one. After that, find an expert—live or on-line. Your time is valuable, and stress doesn’t help the situation.
7. Don’t be the very first to upgrade to anything. Wait for others to try it out and see how it goes. This is for major upgrades, not those small updates programs and computers need every so often. It’s always wise to check on-line before upgrading or updating. Look for trusted sites that warn of bogus or questionable ways to change something on your computer. Look for cautions about security holes. Wait to see if the new phone or operating systems works well for others. At first there are usually a few bugs that have to be worked out even after they go to market.
All these suggestions can save your career and your sanity. Have I left out anything you consider mandatory? Please leave a comment if you can think of something.