Tech for a poetic life. And some quick fixes

My laptop is an integral part of my poetic life – I rely on it for recording, storing, editing of photos, for communicating with family and friends far away, for watching my granddaughter grow, for getting news, as a source of knowledge and inspiration, for bringing me food, and paint colours I can’t find locally, for holding my thinking and my writing.

spring light coming through the glass door and landing on the wall of my apartment building in Berlin

spring light coming through the glass door and landing on the wall of my apartment building in Berlin

Tech for me has become a mix of friend, colleague, housekeeper, secretary, and assistant. It’s also limited in unexpected ways, sometimes refuses to understand what I want, and can be infuriating. At the end of the day though, it’s a machine, and when I shout at it for being stupid, I’m only shouting at myself or the people who made it. And wasting my energy. How much better would it feel to take control of it, fix things, and get back to using it as efficient support for my imagination and intention?

Think of your laptop, phone, ipad, (hereafter device) as an incredible combination of your books, your domestic appliances, your pen and paper. It’s not out to get you. It’s a clever machine, and also dumb. You manage what it does and in return it helps you.

typing while wearing big shoes

typing while wearing big shoes

Tech, or IT (information technology), is not going away. It’s shaping society and our individual lives, and developing fast. Keeping on top of it may be almost impossible, but keeping it functioning as a useful tool in your life, serving you and your projects is possible. Even vital.

I’ve put together some tips and quick fixes from my own experience. I hope you find them useful!

1. If it’s not working, turn it off and then on again

Here’s my first tip, learnt from professionals and help desks. Switch it off, and then on again. Maybe your problem will have solved itself.

Why does this work? Turning it off clears the temporary memory of the device and of any apps that have crashed. When it starts up again, it reloads the pages and apps you had open. Very often this is enough to sort a problem.

If this doesn’t sort your problem, try the next tip..

2. Ask Google

I learnt this one from professionals in the family!  When you want to do something and don’t know how, type your question into Google and you’ll find that other people had the same problem. And, even better, that someone will have solved it!

Screenshot from my laptop

Screenshot from my laptop

There will be answers from the makers e.g. Apple support, and from ‘user forums’ , and videos that offer to show you exactly what to do.

For really relevant replies, include your model number e.g. iphone 6S.

Look at the dates on the replies – the more recent, the more likely it is to help.

3. Really? 13,728 photos?

That’s my count as of today. Not just photos, but videos and screenshots and other stuff that eats up my storage. If you’re anything like me, there will also be photos of my feet and the pavement that I took by accident, and 3 or 4 versions of the same view.

It needs keeping under control and here are some tips for doing just that:

- sitting waiting for someone or something? Take out your phone and delete some of those pavement scenes.

- run out of movies to watch on a flight? Get sorting and deleting.

- on ipad or iphone: go to Albums in your Photograph app and scroll down. There you’ll find things sorted for you into types


here’s a screenshot from my laptop

You can sort your videos one day and your screenshots another.


4. Tidy up your emails

If you have a huge back log of emails and want to quickly decide which to keep and which to delete, here’s a method I discovered for myself which might help:

·      Sort by Sender

This puts the messages in alphabetical order of who sent them, from oldest to most recent.

·      Work down through the messages, deleting the ones you no longer need

A quick glance at the Subject or content is usually enough to decide that you don’t need to keep an email. Because you have all the messages from one person or organization lined up, it seems faster and easier than when they are all mixed up in date order.

Let me know if any of these were useful. What other tech things are annoying or puzzling you at the moment? Write in the Comments below.

I’m working on an online course for those with a wild edge who are living a full life and yet still yearn for something more beautiful, more exciting, more moving, more soulful, more poetic. I want to support you in finding ways to experience the world more deeply and more consciously, to explore lost or dormant artistic or poetic passions so that you can make conscious choices to create and carry out poetic projects that bring joy and deep satisfaction.  

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