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Tech survival guide

This article contains tips for using computers as effectively and healthily as possible. Tips that require technical expertise are marked with an asterisk.

One piece of general advice is to make changes to the way you use computers gradually. It’s best to change one small aspect at a time and keep the old and new ways going in parallel for a while. This prevents you from getting overwhelmed by too many large changes and also makes it easy to back out from a change that doesn’t work.

Another general principle is to treat computers as tools that amplify your capability rather than agents that replace it. For example, if you want to track your spending, it’s better to use a program that allows you to learn budgeting principles and create your own rules and analyses rather than a program that spits out dubious insights automatically.

It’s also useful to develop a sense for what kinds of tasks should be automated. In general, tasks that involve capturing, processing, or transmitting structured data should be automated. Tasks that involve unstructured inputs or outputs and tasks that require human oversight or communication should not.

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