How to Solve Common Tech Issues that Reduce Productivity

Carl Pullein
The Working With… Magazine
5 min readSep 18, 2019

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This is a guest post by Joe Peters (@bmorepeters). Thank you, Joe for writing this for us.

Technology is a massive boon to your productivity and efficiency. With task management tools, you can organise your day into a simple schedule, placing crucial tasks at the head of your list, so you never miss a deadline.

With email software and instant-messaging apps, you can communicate with your team members quickly and effectively, without having to wait for them to respond to a voicemail or be available for a meeting in-person.

To make the most of the benefits offered by technology, you need to learn how to overcome the little issues that can often harm your efficiency.

Rather than automatically calling tech support every time something goes wrong with your essential tech, you’ll get more done if you take the collect, organise, do approach to solving your own IT issues.

Before You Do Anything Else: Collect Information on Your Issue

As useful as the digital world can be, it’s not foolproof. Everything from internet connectivity issues to problems with device functionality can stop you from getting work done.

Before you can start solving your own problems, you’ll need to figure out what’s going on with your tech.

Ask yourself: What’s stopping me from working right now?

If it’s your internet connection, you can troubleshoot your connectivity by right-clicking on the connection icon at the bottom right of your taskbar and clicking “Troubleshoot problems.”

If it’s something going wrong with a piece of software, go into the settings for that tool and see whether there’s a troubleshooting feature available.

If not, type your issue into the search bar on Google to find out if anyone else has encountered the problem before. You can often find helpful guides online that teach you how to fix numerous problems that commonly occur with everything from operating systems to popular devices.

Organise Your Resources

  • Once you understand what your tech problem is, think about the resources that you have to help you solve the issue. If you’re having trouble with your internet connection, free resources such as Speedtest.net will shed some light on the speed performance. Just make sure that there isn’t a device that’s hogging your bandwidth when you perform the test.
  • If your upload or download speeds aren’t as fast as they should be, then you can contact your internet service provider to find out if there’s a problem with your service. You may also be able to find out about outages by visiting the ISP’s website.
  • If there’s a specific software or hardware that’s causing headaches, see whether there are any manuals available either offline or online that can help you to tackle the problem.
  • There are plenty of technology forums out there that offer downloadable manuals for free. If you can’t find what you need in these documents, consider asking a question about your issue on a website like Quora or Reddit.
  • If the problem is that your computer performance is lower and your PC is slow, find out if you have plenty of free space on the hard-drive responsible for your operating system.
  • Search for the Microsoft System Configuration tool in your start menu by pressing Windows-R, and typing MSConfig, hit the enter key and navigate to the Services tab.There, check the manufacturer and startup item columns to find out if there are any tools you can safely disable to speed up your computer’s performance.
  • Usually, software like Spotify, Steam, and Google Update are all fine to shut down. If you’re not sure whether it’s safe to close a program, don’t disable it. Alternatively, you can go to the Startup Tab to disable high impact programs that run on startup immediately to give your PC a performance boost.

Create a List of Things to Do if You Encounter a Technical Issue

You might wonder why you would bother figuring out how to solve technical problems for yourself if you could call your IT team to do the work for you. The simple answer is that learning how to rectify these issues now makes you more self-sufficient in the future.

If you know how to solve the issues that could be damaging your productivity in a matter of seconds, you can save yourself a lot of time and disruption when something goes wrong.

It’s much easier to click on a file or hit a couple of buttons on your keyboards than call IT and wait for someone to be available to solve your problem. For instance, it might sound like a no brainer, but one of the easiest ways to fix a lot of technical issues first-time is to restart your computer.

As fundamental as the process seems, sometimes your network can get overwhelmed by a stray bit of data or code going awry. Restarting the computer gives your system a chance to refresh. While you’re at it, make sure that your operating system is fully updated by using the Windows Update service. Neglecting your updates can often deprive your computer or devices of crucial performance (and security) fixes.

Be Your Own IT Team

Rather than turning to an IT professional every time your internet connection slows down, or a program won’t open, become your own IT expert, and learn how to fix the common issues for yourself. You’ll get more done in the long-term, and you’ll also have something impressive to add to your resume when you’re looking for your next job.

Now that practically all jobs require some manner of technical skill, the quicker you start working on your tech troubleshooting knowledge, the better off you’ll be in the long-term.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favourite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters

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Carl Pullein
The Working With… Magazine

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com