My laptop was running very slow last night and I thought, “It used to be so fast, I wonder what happened?” Then I thought, "It must be time to get a new computer..."
Now my laptop is only about two years old. It's really doing everything I could ask of it and more, and yet I was completely ready to throw it out and get a new one. Luckily, I was not that hasty.
Instead, I went to my settings and saw that I was running about 40 applications, including a Chrome browser that hadn’t been closed in two weeks (see image!). My computer wasn’t too old, it was just being overworked at the moment!
Like a computer’s hard drive, my mind carries a log of all the open files, programs, and tasks I have running. And every so often, I can feel that I start to get bogged down. Just like overloading the RAM on my computer, carrying too many unfinished tasks takes its toll and seems to slow my mind, burdening me with a general sense of anxiety, and increasing my stress level.
The way to fix a slow laptop is to close everything down and restart the machine. This principle works the same for the mental computers we all carry. In order to combat the drain on my mental and physical energy of too many open tasks, I need to close projects and unfinished to-do items that I’m stressing over so that I can feel the psychological release of being “done.”
Our bodies crave this feeling. In fact, we’re wired to NEED the endorphin release that comes from checking items off that list. And when I have closed projects, at least for now, I can feel the mental freedom to look at my to do list and see what I need to do next. That way, I keep my energy high, my work pace fast, and my mental and physical state from getting bogged down like my poor laptop does every couple of weeks.