Are you frustrated with your life?
Or, maybe your life is pretty good, but you’re annoyed with a few aspects of it?
Maybe you just need to change your settings.
Technology has preferences we can set for everything from font size and color, privacy, security, reach (friends only vs public), notifications (whether and how), etc. These settings can profoundly affect our experience of programs, apps, and social media. It can really cause problems, in fact, if we don’t even realize we have a choice of settings, or have a clue how to change them.
Example: Overwhelmed by junk email? Think you have no control? How much of it was self-induced, by signing up for newsletters and webinars, and by ordering things online? Do you realize that you can unsubscribe, filter, and create rules so that unwanted emails don’t clutter your inbox? In other words: Change your settings!
Example: Are you worried about strangers seeing your social media posts? Annoyed by what you are seeing in your news feed? Plagued by notifications or silly game requests? It doesn’t have to be that way. Change your settings!
Similarly, in life we have preconceived notions, learned behaviors, prejudices, preferences, and knowledge gained from past experiences that color how we see the world now. These will also affect our future life experiences. And many of these “settings” can be changed.
Example: Have you heard the cutting-the-ham-in-half story? It goes like this: Wife cuts the ham in half before baking it in two pans. Husband asks, “Why?” Wife says, “I don’t know, my Mom always did it that way, let’s ask her.” Mom says, “I don’t know, Grandma always did it that way, let’s ask her.” Grandma says, “Because I didn’t have a big enough pan to fit a whole ham!” Ohhh…what if the reason you are doing certain things is based on what someone else did, said or expected,and you don’t even know why? Change your settings!
Example: I hated paying bills and dealing with money. It was a category of tasks that nagged at me daily. So, I decided to corral all the money-related activities to one time block on my calendar called Money Monday. This way, if I focus on money on Mondays, I don’t have to worry about it the whole rest of the week! I changed my settings!
Example: Do you despair of having a tidy, organized home because your family is uncooperative? By becoming clearer about your expectations, providing tools, and making it fun, you can “trick” your family into helping you. You can change your settings, and help them change theirs!
No guilt or shame required!
Sometimes we just need an attitude adjustment, or a flip of a technology switch. We occasionally need to “reboot” our computers by turning them off and back on again. Similarly, we can “reboot” our bodies and minds by taking a break, or by going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep.
Other times we need help in the form of a computer guru, tech savvy teenager, trusted friend or adviser, professional organizer, or therapist.
The engineer in me often tells my organizing clients, “You needn’t feel embarrassed about your clutter. To me it’s just a problem that needs to be solved.” Removing the guilt and shame from a situation makes it much easier to deal with!
In a previous post I encouraged you to live your life by design, not by default! And here are a few other related posts: Always Believe in Yourself, Give Yourself Permission!, Every YES is a NO to Something Else, What are you worried about? Don’t worry; take action!
Come to think of it, most of my blog posts have something to do with tweaking the way you look at things!
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer
1. First, you need to understand and believe that your settings (and thoughts) can be changed. Words have power, and it matters what you tell yourself on a daily basis. If you don’t believe this, then it won’t matter too much what else I have to say about it.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right. — Henry Ford
2. Then you need to know how to check your settings. Often simply stopping for a moment and thinking a problem through will do the trick. It’s easy to put up with little things, like a dark hallway, when a simple change of a burned-out lightbulb would make a world of difference. If it’s a life issue, examine your thoughts. If it’s a tech issue, explore the buttons on your device that you tend to avoid or never noticed before. Dare I say it? Read the instructions! Ask for help from your computer guru, tech-savvy teenager, trusted friend or adviser, professional organizer, or therapist.
When all else fails, read the instructions. – Agnes Allen
3. Check your settings periodically. Things change. Technology changes. Circumstances change. You change. You may need to re-set something you thought was fixed, or change the setting (or that erroneous, unhelpful thought) altogether. Make another choice and see if that works better for you. Review and tweak your systems periodically.
We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are. – Anais Nin
4. Keep in mind: If something is annoying you, it might be a simple matter of identifying which setting needs to be changed. Even thinking through a household organizing system requires a few moments of quiet reflection and a little (or a lot of) tweaking. It’s easy for us to get distracted and overwhelmed, and to delay focusing on the solution to a problem. Sometimes we get derailed and need to get back on track.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein
What settings do YOU need to change?
Please share with us in the comments below!
Copyright 2013-2019 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
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About 30 years ago I realized that if you’re doing something on a computer and it seems clunky, there’s probably another way to do it. It’s only been in the last year or so that I realized the same applies to life itself!
I totally agree. I find that taking a step back from my life to see what is working and what needs improvements help me see what I should change. Going to a park, taking a walk, spending time with myself, and even decluttering a space, helps me regroup and see the change that is necessary.
Yes, a change of pace or scenery can definitely help put things into perspective!
Ok, I love that ham story. That is so true! We automatically replicate behaviors and systems that were modeled for us. Often we are continuing a habit that no longer makes sense. I love that you give people the idea (and the freedom) to simply question the way we are doing things and consider if there is a better way. Editing the news feed is something I need to do again.
Yes, even if it was our own idea to start doing something, we can later realize, “Hmmm, do I still need or want to do this?” Maybe not. Or, maybe so, but we need to tweak it a little.
I’m so glad you updated this post so that I knew to read it. I love this one, Hazel! I agree that it’s worth looking, questioning, reflecting on our “settings.” Auto-pilot is OK in some situations, but if we go through life always this way and don’t pay attention to the tweaking opportunities, it can cause lots of challenges.
One thing I’ve noticed with some of my tech devices is that often when updates come in, the settings I’ve carefully selected get changed. I don’t always notice right away, but when the beeps and dings start sounding when I thought they shouldn’t, I know it’s time to revisit the options.
This is true in life too. Things can be going along just fine and then something that was working, stops. Maybe circumstances have changed. Maybe I’ve changed. But things are working or flowing well and it’s time to stop, look, and alter.
Exactly, in regards to things that change. Not every change messes with our settings (tech and life), but many of them do! Always a good opportunity to review, and tweak if necessary.