Digital Strategy Productivity & Efficiency Voice from the Trenches

How to Remove the Fear of Learning New Tech – Life Beyond Default

Learning New Tech with guy celebrating
Written by Marty Bhatia

It was earlier this year when I was visiting the in-laws. Like so many times before, I got tech questions from family. This time I was listening to one of them talk about buying a new phone. This always gets my attention so I ask, “why are you buying a new phone?” The response was so common that it inspired this post.

He said to me that he needs a new phone with a bigger screen. His vision isn’t what it used to be and the words are too damn small.

“Did you know you can increase the size of the font on the phone you already have?” He looked at me a bit in shock, and I quickly went to settings with him and showed him his options.

Turns out he didn’t need a new $600 phone. He simply needed to change the default settings.

Accepting the default settings that come with your devices, your apps, and the rest of your digital tools, is costing you money and restricting you. But, more realistically it is costing you time and energy, that you don’t likely have extra of, simply because you never explored more of the already included options.

Why Don’t You Get Passed the Default Settings?

My theory is that you have spent a ton of time, energy, and money on devices and tools that were supposed to “change your life!” or “increase productivity!”, but they were really just time vampires that resulted in no return on your investment. So… now? You’ve simply stopped investing.

To dig even deeper, you may actually have fear about taking on new tech. When I start with new clients so many of them have fear that debilitates their ability to truly leverage the tech they already use everyday. It is my first mission to remove that fear, and get them to a phase of learning again.

What would life be like beyond default?

The payoff is significant. You don’t realize how that fear of the learning curve can cause fatigue and stress. In addition, when you finally start moving beyond default you can really leverage that tool and open up time, energy, and even money that you may desperately need back.

When you remove your fear of the learning curve, you are actually removing a fear of loss. You could feel like you’ll lose time, energy, or money, or you could fear that you’ll click on something and it will implode. You fear may even be that you don’t feel competent.

Removing these fears from the way you approach your technology will help you become more competent. Being more competent leads to a great level of confidence. Being more confident can help us cultivate joy around our daily activities. This is how you prime yourself to find flow (being in the zone). And, it’s the greatest experience of oneself you can have in your daily work.

Life beyond default can lead to a more confident (and joyful) experience with your technology.

How to get to a life beyond default – Learning New Tech

  • Choose a tool you use everyday (like Gmail we’re a Google Partner)
  • Schedule a Pomodoro (That’s a 25 mins focus on one thing) It’s hack #5 in my 21 Productivity Hacks ebook
  • Open up the tool at the beginning of the pomodoro
  • Focus on learning
  • Click on everything…you won’t break it!
  • Find one area of the tool and Google How to use ____________ in ___________ (ex: how to use undo send in Gmail)
  • Finish the pomodoro, and schedule the next one

What this means is that 25 mins of your week (minimum) is going to go to learning something new about tools you already use everyday. This super simple focus will quickly get you passed the default settings, will help you let the tool do more of the work, and it will give you a deeper understanding of your options. Thus building your competence.

What To Do When You Get Overwhelmed

Anytime you expand your vision you have the potential to get overwhelmed. I believe a lot of this comes from the fact that you are growing. But, I often witness my clients choosing compressed deadlines for no reason. Or, at least, no rational reason. Basically you can create your own anxiety by fearing a deadline that you’ve picked out of thin air.

I learned in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now that the anxiety we experience is rooted in the future fear of what is to come, and a feeling like we are not ready or unprepared. The greatest way to beat anxiety is presence. When faced with the experience of being overwhelmed you are likely fearing some future vision, and not what you are actually doing right now.

With that in mind, the best way I’ve found to get back to present is to focus on your own breath and ask yourself one question — What am I doing right now? Literally. Right now.

That alone is a great experience.

Here are some primers from Digital Ninja Academy I’ve made for new users to get past the default settings.

These are Free!

My favorite lesson for overwhelmed Gmail Users: Overrun Inbox
The basics about how files in Google Drive work: Getting Organized In Google Drive

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I truly appreciate you for it. And, if this has helped you at all, I would appreciate the opportunity to help you or your organization with G Suite related services and other technical needs.


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