How I realized my obsessive computer habits were turning me into a monster

27 March 2017

I didn’t really realize it before, but I had some pretty obsessive tendencies when it came to my laptop and its setup. In my life, I’m a complete neat freak or anything, but things have their places and that’s sort of where they belong. And as I sort of relaxed a little on that, apparently I went way far the other way with my computer. Things had their place and they could not change.

really dislike letting people borrow my laptop because I just know my browser tabs are going to get messed up. Heck. I don’t even really like turning off my computer completely because it means I’ve got to set everything back up the way I need it to be — and lord help me if Chrome forgets all the tabs I need open. What if it loses that article I’ve had open for 6 weeks but have yet to read because I’ll get to it soon, you know? Or the three other articles like it just sitting and waiting to be read. Seriously. It was a problem.

It really came to my attention during all this new time at home. I was watching TV and I just looked down, Do I really need my laptop open right now? Of course inner me starts thinking about all the stuff on social media I’m going to miss if I do not keep everything open all the time. The political and social climate is to dire and important to be uninformed! Or what about the emails?! How will I keep up if I can’t constantly check it? Those 47 sale alert emails for stores I never shop at won’t just sigh and delete themselves! It’s ridiculous, right?

I’ve generally always made use of Apple’s Spaces or Mission Control or whatever it’s called now. The multiple desktop thing. On Desktop 1, I’d have a Chrome window with my gmail, Facebook, Feedly, and my blog’s dashboard. On Desktop 2, it was basically TweetDeck (and all it’s many columns) and whatever else I’d kept open for weeks/months. Recently, I’d started keeping my twitch following dashboard open there, too. Those thing? Could not ever change. A third desktop was kept for pretty much all programs not Chrome: Steam was open all the time, recently Discord’s been open. It’s where I’d do all my writing or design work. I absolutely did not realize just how much stress all of this obsessive order was causing. It would sometimes be 10 minutes of internal debating before I’d close a tab, especially one like TweetDeck or Twitch or Facebook. That FOMO thing? Kind of real.

So about a week ago, I made some big changes. I’ll admit, yes, this was all largely motivated because Chrome and it’s little Chrome Helper things were absolutely destroying my CPU. But, I also knew I just had a problem letting go, and it was getting kind of bad.

My Mission Control now looks like this:

Just two desktops. One for Chrome, one for not-Chrome. And if you notice, there’s not really much opened on Chrome right now. I’ve got a stream I’m listening to in the background, and I’d just opened TweetDeck to check in but also find someone I’d previously been interested in to date but is now in Europe and worked on one of my favorite new games ever (like, whoa that was weird to realize this morning). Anyway. Point: I’m reducing my Chrome footprint, too.

Rather than keep 5000 tabs open all the time… I’m making use of the bookmarks bar. I’ve got all my essentials right there. (And to save space, I’ve just deleted the text and am going with the favicons.)

Honestly, since I check my phone still a decent amount, I don’t need to have my gmail or twitter or twitch open all day long. It’ll let me know if there’s something new. To actually close all of my tabs and not even really have Chrome open outside of in the dashboard… It’s kind of nice. Very weird, too. But there’s not really anything so pressing that I’ve got to keep it on and open and in my face. And of course, with everything going on, it’s nice to feel control over at least one thing in my life right now. But maybe at least now I can cross “FOMO Tab Monster” off my list of personality traits.

What about you? Do you have any obsessive or near-obsessive quirks about your computer setup?

  • Kay

    I am notorious for the ‘leave a tab open for a month because I’m going to read it sometime’ move! Drives my partner nuts. XD

    • I’ve recently had to just put 3 articles in my bookmarks bar because I’d had them opened for longer than 4 days without reading them. Ugh. Someday I’ll learn. lol

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