Software exists to help us work better. But sometimes software gets in the way of work.

Recenlty, I was working on a presentation in a well-known outlining program. I had used the program before, but on this occasion, something was wrong. The hardcopy was reduced to an unreadable miniature. I proceeded to try to fix the problem. I eliminated the shrinkage but was left with lines that were cut off. I kept trying to get it to work.

Unfortunately, I never got it right. But worse, I spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to working on the software that I lost concentration on my project. I finally looked up and I had wasted more time than I could afford.

In short, the software got in the way of the work.

I learned some things from that experience of what to do when the software gets in the way.

Make a quick note of what is going wrong. The only way to fix a problem is to get technical support. But don’t stop important work to find the answer (unless it is absolutely essential). Bookmark the trouble and move on.

Go back to familiar and working software. I resorted to the outlining feature of a tried-and-true word processing program. Within an hour, I had finished my work. (That was a shorter time than what I used trying to fix the other software.)

Once the deadline passes, contact technical support about the problem. They may have an answer. Many times, the problem is minor but the pressure of the moment did not allow you to find it.

Software to help productivity is a blessing. But don’t let it interfere with getting something done.