Of all the forms of stress in today's world, computer stress is the one that is on the rise the fastest. Computers are wonderful machines, but they can also stress out workers by their sometimes confusing demands, their constant presence and their simple inability to work properly. Thus, computer stress must be understood and it must find an outlet or computer users will find themselves even more stressed out than they already are.
The first thing to remember about computers is that they are machines. They do not have feelings, they do not respond to emotional appeals, they only do what they are told to do; nothing more and nothing less. Thus, you need to remember that just about anything that your computer does is probably something you told it to do. Sure, you may not have wanted to tell it to do something, but you told the computer to do it and that's all it knows. You can save yourself a lot of computer stress by keeping this in mind.
The next thing you need to know in order to avoid computer stress is that computers are machines and, therefore, they will break down. That means that you need to keep backup copies of everything important. If you absolutely need a file, keep a copy on a floppy disk or on a CD. Hard drives are well known to just give out after a while (the average lifetime is about 4-5 years) and therefore you need to keep backups of everything you want to keep. If it's important enough that you want a copy, it's important enough to keep a backup copy. The sooner you remember to keep your computer's failing in mind, the more stress free you will be.
Third, you need to protect your computer. On the most basic level, that means a surge protector. A power surge can quickly fry the delicate insides of a computer and suddenly realizing that you need a new computer is just about the worst computer stress of all.
As well, you need to protect your computer from outside interference. If your computer is hooked up to the Internet, protect it with a network firewall and anti-virus software. There are plenty of malicious hackers out there and they tend to enjoy watching people panic about their computers suddenly dying. These hackers write viruses and worms that can infect your machine and delete important files or send out malicious emails all on their own. You do not want to have your computer taken over like this. Save yourself from this sort of computer stress by keeping your system and your files secure from outside attackers.
Another way to protect your computer is to shut it down properly. Many people simply hit the power button without shutting down the machine first. This is a serious danger, as it can damage the delicate circuits of the computer. Run your computer through its shutdown system and wait until it either turns itself off, or it tells you that it is time to turn it off. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it can damage your computer in the long run.
Computer stress can also simply arise from sitting in front of the silly thing so long that you realize you do not know what you are looking at any more. You know you need to get work done on the silly machine, but you haven't gotten anything done and the deadline is looming and you need more time, but there isn't any and… just slow down. If you are not getting anything done, they save yourself some computer stress by walking away. If you are at work, lock your screen and wander the hallways for a bit. If you are at home, get up and go make yourself a sandwich or something. Just walk away and you will save yourself a lot of stress over something that is really not a big deal.
One of the problems with living in the computer age is, simply, the computer. However, it is only a machine and you can learn to control it without it controlling you. Your computer is a tool no different than a hammer or a crowbar. So save yourself from computer stress and you won't feel compelled to use a hammer or a crowbar on the computer that is supposed to make your life easier.
Copyright 2005 Trevor Dumbleton
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