Here I am at 65, a reasonably intelligent woman with plenty of computer savvy and a pretty good knowledge of how to get things done; so why is it when I am faced with a large multi-paged form to fill in that I quail at the very sight of it?
Recently I sallied off to the post office to get a new Australian passport. My New Zealand one had run out, and as I’ve been an Aussie citizen for yonks, decided an Australian one was the way to go. I’d had the blank forms for months and kept putting it off because it seemed such a mission.
Initially the form looked pretty alarming. I think it is because so much information is put onto the page with warnings, tick boxes, check boxes, lists of documents required etc. I managed an online university degree recently, so can’t quite fathom why it is that a written form so completely discombobulates my brain. Perhaps my brain needs a bit of a rest.
I persevered. If I wanted a passport it had to be done, so I knuckled down to fill in all the spaces. I did it early in the morning with the help of the cat who always sits on any bit of paper I am perusing. Black pen, a pre ‘mistake’ read through. Okay, I’m good to go
With my Australian Citizenship papers, IDs etc. and my form under my arms I was told that they aren’t done there. I went to the next post office. A small sweat box with the air-conditioning not working and a long queue of people. Patiently I waited, got the horrific mug shot and made an appointment to return.
My Aussie friend signed the back of the mug shot, we re-read the form and back I went. The patient worker read through and it and apart from a few dots not dotted, I had done all right.
I think I am initially put off by large, scary-looking complex documents with multi-coloured writing and dozens of check boxes. I feel they could be simpler. I’ve filled in many forms in my life, and it is the government ones that seem to be the most complex. Medical, insurance and others seem to be a doddle.
The point of my little story is this. Surely forms could be made to be more efficient, especially as it is often elderly people who have to fill them out. Food for thought I think.