You’ve seen those houses on the news: 47 cats, the smell of urine & feces, and a narrow path through each room bordered by stacks of just…junk.
THAT’S the visual definition of hoarding stuck in our brains. The TV show “Hoarders” only furthers the mystique.
We all recognize those physical signs of hoarding — a mental state whereby people identify common objects with their own personal identity, and can’t throw them away. But what about mental signs of hoarding that have little or no physical manifestation?
I’m not sure if I’m verging into my own psychological theories here, but I’m darn sure I AM a mental hoarder.
Here are some possible signs:
- your hard drive is filled with articles you WILL eventually read (uh-huh)
- you’re relieved when your brilliant idea goes in a list with other ideas (and grows dust)
- merely HAVING a resource gives you reassurance that you have the knowledge within that article (even if you haven’t read it or listened to it)
- you flag and bookmark great videos and blog articles for later consideration
- you feel edified when signing up for webinars and workshops, but the info languishes
For a voice actor, the syndrome takes a form something like this example: you’ve paid good money for a business coach, and spent time on skype for 10, one hour-long sessions. You take copious notes, and record the sessions. The notes collect dust on a shelf in your office, and the videos are safely tucked away on your HD with all that knowledge.
If you need it, there it is. But for some reason, you never seem to need it, and eventually the info gets out-of-date. You’re somehow content that it’s part of a library of knowledge, but you never visit the shelves. The fact that it’s THERE seems to impart some sort of confidence that you know the content. But you don’t!
Here’s another example: Your daily outings on the internet result in the discovery of scads of useful websites and articles. You store those URL’s on a FeedReader, Pocket, or Instapaper, just knowing that you’ll be back to read them over the weekend. A year’s worth of weekends pass, and now the resource links you found are out-dated, but somehow you feel a calm that if nothing else you collected them!
It’s a sickness.
You could call it a unique form of procrastination I guess…but it’s something more insidious…it’s mental hoarding…minus the smell of cat urine.
So-o-o-o-o-o, I’m resolving today to stop the hoarding, or actually READ all I’ve collected or both. Here’s the problem…and one of the reasons I’ve failed before: stopping to actually absorb the information takes time, and I’d rather defer.
My answer to that is my new maxim: “…it’s better to lose a few minutes of my day absorbing valuable information…than save a few minutes, and never read anything…”
Sure, with this new motto I’m not going to get to as many resources, ’cause my time will be absorbed actually taking in information instead of skating to the next link. I will miss things. But at least I’ll get SOME information, instead of no information and a full hard-drive.