Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tech Tips - More Focus, Less Tech

More Focus. Less Tech. (Written with a clingy baby crawling all over me)

In June of 2013 I started writing Caregiver Tech Tips for FOV with the goal of finding simple and creative ways for utilizing technology to make life just a little bit easier for Veteran Caregivers.

My momentum for that project lasted a little over a month. In the flurry of life as a Caregiver, mother of three, step-mom of two, and all of the other hats I wear - the technology I used to manage our lives - became the obstacle to all of the things I really wanted to do with my time.

I knew that something had to change so I began the process of "logging off" by breaking up with my smartphone for a few months. Without a tiny computer in my pocket 24/7 I had to sit with and address the anxiety that had been building in my heart. The answers I found were surprising and I am more free because of it.

I was basically caught in a cycle of worry and distraction that allowed me to be paralyzed by my extensive list of commitments and responsibilities; that I had just recently been ecstatic about.

Although our break up could not last forever - our time apart gave me time to think. I still need to work on my tech habit but I find that the more time I spend doing things that I love doing like yoga, hiking, and writing - the easier it is to use technology appropriately to accomplish tasks rather than to hide from my To Do list.

In short, the more I take care of myself the more I am able to do for others.

Here are all of Caregiver Tech Tips originally posted in June of 2013.

The January 2014 edition of Caregiver Tech Tips will be posted soon. Send comments, questions, and requests to

Here are the Caregiver Tech Tips for June 2013
Originally posted on our Facebook Page

Passwords & Affirmations

These days passwords need to be increasingly complicated in order to remain secure. As a Caregiver - you probably have personal goals that you have difficulty accomplishing. Combine these two problems to create a solution for both.

Set your passwords to “passphrases” that are also affirmations or goals. Especially in the case of web systems that you must sign into daily - this will help keep your goals and positive affirmations floating near the top of your subsconscious.

Once you feel like you have accomplished this goal - change your password to your new goal. This will set you up for success and security.

Here are some made up examples:





Backing Up Data

As a Caregiver you probably have lots of important documents saved to your computer. If you are not regularly backing up your data - you are putting your hard work, time, important information, and possibly even money at risk.
Your computer - no matter how much you paid for it - can and eventually will break down - just like your car.

Step 1) Choose where and how you will backup your data. (Examples provided below)
Step 2) Determine how frequently you need to do a backup. (Daily? Weekly? Monthly?) If you lost all of the work you completed in just one day - would you be devastated? If so, then daily. (Note: If you have a day or week that you complete a lot more work than usual - set yourself a calendar reminder for the end of the day to do a manual backup of your work or manual activation of your backup service.)

Step 3) Set a repeating calendar reminder to do your backup or verify that your backup was completed if using an automated backup.

Here are some example backup options:

***Disclaimer: FOV does not endorse any of these products.

- Cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox allow you to manually upload your files to a secure server accessible anywhere you have an internet connection.   

- External hard drives allow you to keep your files local. You can manually copy your files to an external drive or you can use any number of programs that will automatically run backups for you.

- Many antivirus programs like Norton and AVG also offer backup services that will run automatically in the background and backup to the location of your choice.

- Cloud services that integrate with your computer like SkyDrive and SugarSync offer a more seamless means for backing up files .

Cleaning Your Keyboard

Is your keyboard full of crumbs or dust? Next time you are at the dollar store, grab a medium bristle make up brush and store it in your pen cup next to your computer. The next time you’re on hold with the VA grab your make up brush and dust out your keyboard.

***Disclaimer: Do NOT attempt to clean your keyboard with a USED makeup brush

Color Coding Your Family

Fact #1: People come with paperwork from the day they are born.

Fact #2: Our brains process images faster than text.

Fact #3: Our eyes are drawn to color.

Use #2 & 3 to help you with #1.

***Disclaimer: These instructions are written for computers running Windows.

Step 1) Pick a different color and shape combination for each member of your family. This will become their “icon”. You will need an image file of this icon for each person. You can search the web for images of things like “Pink Star” or “Blue Circle” or make them yourself in programs like Paint.

Step 2) Save each person’s icon picture to your computer.

Step 3) Use this online converter tool to convert each icon picture into a .ico file.

Step 4) Create a separate file for each person in your family if you haven’t already.
Step 5) Change their file’s icon to the corresponding .ico file by right clicking on their folder and selecting Properties > Customize > Change Icon > Browse your computer to find and select the corresponding .ico file > Click OK to accept that file > Click OK to save your changes.

You can also apply this idea outside of your computer. If you have paper trays or bins - tape each person’s icon over their bin so everyone knows where their paperwork goes.

~These Caregiver Tech Tips are brought to you by Maria Evangelista courtesy of Family Of A Vet

Family of a Vet, Inc., disclaims any and all liability for damage to your computer by following the tech tips provided. This includes damage to the hard drive, motherboard, keyboard, DVD drive/CD drive, USB ports, monitor, keyboard, speakers, mouse, or any other peripheral devices such as but not limited to printers, phones, ipods, and external drives/storage devices. Nor is FOV responsible for any third party software, malware, spyware, viruses, or Trojans that may appear or be downloaded, with or without your knowledge and consent, onto your computer. Following these tech tips are entirely at your own risk, caution, and liability.

Submitted By: Maria E.

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