Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How did you know how to do that?

So, one question I get repeatedly is "How did you know how to do that?", and I never have an answer for them.  I guess being a self-admitted techie (pronounced geek) I just do.  But there are several things I can suggest to help a person get to the point that they can do things themselves.

1. Play - lots of time I just learn to do things by trying to do it.  That may sound weird, but that's the truth.  Usually all I do is sit down the program and try and do something.  Set a small goal of something you've never done, and just look around the menus until you find out how to do it.

2. Use Help - OK, so as I admitted in #1, I don't know how to do everything, but the help file does.  Most help files are extremely useful, and are easily searchable.

3. Use the Internet - There are a million and one groups on the internet, and most of them are helpful. Find a group (there are lots at Yahoo Groups) and subscribe.  Depending on the group you will get 1-25 e-mails per day on a topic.  You will have the opportunity ask questions, and read all other questions that are asked.

4. Save your information - So you've joined a list, but don't know what to do with all the e-mails.  One great option is Gmail.  Gmail is a webmail client, where you never have to delete an single e-mail.   You can sort your mail, label the mail, and archive for as long as you want.  Then when you need an e-mail you can search for it very easily.

5. Bookmark/tag everything - I never have time to fully read each website I find information on. 

Sometimes I get 5 - 10 websites as part of the groups I belong too, and being busy I never have enough time to really read each website, so I use Del.icio.us (see my previous post) and bookmark/tag those sites then when I have a topic I need help with I'll go there and search for sites to use.  This way, I don't feel like I miss anything when I get a website from a group, I can always find it later.

These are just a few little things.  Doing some little things like this can really help you answer that question for you "How did you know how to do that?"  Keep watching for a few more!

-  Patrick