Technology Lesson 101

At the risk of repeating myself, when it comes to technology, I’m … well, I’m bad. From hunting and pecking at the keyboard and not knowing how to use many of the programs on my computer, to barely getting by on Instagram. But for the most part, it hasn’t really mattered for me, because luckily my profession doesn’t require me to type regularly, or use Excel and PowerPoint.

Over the years, however, with email, the Internet and then proliferation of social media, it’s become harder and harder to not have any tech skills at all, so I’ve had to learn a bit. I’m much faster with my hunting and pecking these days; and a few years ago, as I finally decided to take the plunge into social media, my daughter and other family members helped give me some basic lessons.

Today, I get by okay. I’m confident posting pictures on Instagram (though I regularly have to ask Mandy to help with tagging and the occasional password reminder when I get booted off) and can even Tweet when I have to. I have no trouble shopping online, and because of this blog I’ve even learned to log into WordPress to comment, as well as use Dropbox on occasion. Oh, and I can screenshot from my phone with the best of them, haha.

These are for macs, but some work on PC too.

But there are some many areas in which I still struggle. I had more than 22,000 emails in my inbox with no real idea how to get rid of them. I had photos and files so scattered on my desktop than I couldn’t find anything. And you all post such great images and comments on social media, I really would love to know a little more about engaging there. 

So, a few weeks ago, when Mandy was at my house to film my little Instant Pot Carrot Cake experiment, we decided to use the baking time wisely and do a tech lesson.

We started with my email. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you there were more than 22,000. Somehow I keep finding myself on new spam lists and I was honestly tempted to just delete my account and start over. But with a few clicks, Mandy helped me set up some tabs so those spam emails go somewhere else. And since then she’s shown me how to delete them in mass. I’m down to 7,000!! We also set up some folders for the emails I’d like to keep.

Next we tackled my desktop. I have always saved everything there and almost never delete, so it was a mess! First, Mandy showed me how to view all that craziness in a way that made it easier to see what was what. Then she showed me how to selected and trash a bunch of stuff at once, and helped me set up some folders to organize the rest. It really is crazy how knowing how to do a few simple things can make things so much easier.

Of course we tried to capture a little of this madness on camera. For those of you who might struggle like I do, I’m not sure this will help you with your own tech issues. But maybe it’ll convince you to find someone to help. Even my 84 year old mother-in-law recently ventured to the Apple store to get some lessons on her phone (another example of it’s never too late!). 


  1. I need a Mandy in my life

    Thanks Mary Beth and Mandy. I always enjoy your blog posts.


  2. Christie

    So stinkin’ cute!! I can relate on the screenshots AND old email address…heck…I’m still an aol person! Hubs says I’m the last one.🙈 However, I’ve had my email since 1994!!
    I had no idea about the “undo”…thanks, Mandy!

  3. Cari Brown

    Love this!! Thank you!!
    My 80 year old dad just recently went from an old flip phone to and iphone 10x!!! Nothing like going from 0 to 60 is 2 minutes. That has been a complete treat to try and show him how to use (hehehe)!!! Just showing him that it takes facial recognition to open his phone has been a challenge, I feel so bad for him. Each day he is getting better!!!

  4. Cathrine

    I have teached use of computer many times and I always meet the attitude of – I dont know how to these, why should I learn it and so on. I think the first lessons for the student is changing the mind to I WANT to learn this. It gives the teaching a whole new level to start from. But keep going. And sorry if my english is not correct I am from Denmark.

  5. There’s still a lot I don’t know, and I’m constantly learning..yet everyone thinks I’m a wiz lol. Nope. The key imo is just to not be afraid of technology…having a love for learning about it because it makes your life easier. I think that’s true about anything be you want to learn though. You have decide it enriches your life and you’re going to let go of the fear.

  6. My favourite ( or worst) memory of teaching someone about computers happened to me about 10 years ago. My mother had her brand new computer and wanted to keep transactions details for her share portfolio in one spot. She decided to file them together safe and sound in the trash can….All good until I came to visit one day and hit empty…it took months to get paper copies of the lost info and mum said it was entirely my fault for touching her computer….well she was correct but……Fortunately she knows about files and folders since then. Lesson for me too- don’t presume to empty someone else’s trashcan.

  7. Barbara J. Levy

    Thank goodness for this lesson! Mandy, you talked about emails in categories- is this only on google? I still use hotmail can I set up categories?

    Your timing on this blog is perfect. I am now retired and doing volunteer work. I couldn’t figure out how to make categories.


    • Mandy Denaux

      I have an old hotmail account, Barb … let me look and see if I can find that option there too.

      • Barbara levy

        Thanks, b

        Ps: for my volunteer job I may have to Gmail for business. I don’t remember steps given for Gmail. Both would help since I have too many emails on hotmail. If you next lesson could be catagories that would be great. Thanks for the cheat sheet on keystrokes shortcuts. I knew some but not all.


  8. I’m convinced now we are related Marybeth! Haha oh man my Email is crazy.. I’ll finish watching your video later (gotta do a Costco run!) thanks for sharing and showing me I’m not the only one struggling! ❤️

  9. Madeline Gosney

    Never too late to learn.. Im still learning also.. Good job, i just wish i was as great as you are. Bless you!

  10. Bravo, Mary Beth! Once you feel more confident, you’ll be able to handle these “clean up” tasks weekly – maybe even daily – to keep life in order. I am in the technology business and must decide as I handle each task what to do with the file I’m using in order to prevent life from becoming complete chaos. Now if I were only interested enough to do the same for my closets. . . ;p

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