Could you be a Mac abuser?

Ever heard the saying that how you treat others reflects how you treat yourself? Well, it turns out this applies not only to people, but also your computer.

Chances are that you are doing at least one of these abusive things to your computer, and most likely, also to yourself.

Here are five common ways you may be abusing your computer:

1. Never restarting
What? These machines can’t go just go and go and go?

Nope! Like you, every now and again your computer needs to reset and reboot. Recommendations vary, but many tech support guides say that you should try to turn your computer off every night if for no other reason than to save on your electricity bill.

The good news is that unlike you, your computer doesn’t need 8 hours of shut eye. But it does need a few minutes at least a few times a week.

2. A million tabs! I have so much to do!
As I am writing this I am looking up at my browser bar in horror. I think I have 20 tabs open. Are they all really necessary right this second?

Most of the tabs are for small projects that I started and haven’t finished but want to get back to. And frankly, a good chunk of my time is wasted hopping between the tabs remembering all the unfinished tasks.

How many tabs is too many? Well, for your computer, about five. After that you are asking your web browser to simultaneously run JavaScript in too many places and you will see it slow waaaay down.

But the bigger question is: how many responsibilities is too many? We all take on too much and never leave time to just be. You are so busy! But are you? Really are you?

3. “Update later”
Unfortunately, Apple is totally enabling our bad behavior yet with their “update later” option.

Do you always shove aside your system updates to later, maybe in the same way you’re putting off personal maintenance? “I’ll start working out NEXT week! I will start eating healthy, tomorrow.”

The way I like to think about it is like this: make the first step really small and manageable. Update ONE piece of software today. And then take 10 minutes to do some yoga. Heck! Do the yoga while you update. Sometimes it IS possible to multitask.

Look, no, ten minutes a day won’t turn you into a yoga bunny (at least not overnight) but ten is a whole lot better than nothing!

4. Who cleans and organizes?
As in real life, as in digital life.

Right now I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 files on my desktop. And another set of “clean up” folders where I have stuffed random files when I needed to do a quick desktop clean up.

Sustainable? I don’t think so.

And unsurprisingly, when I look at my real world desktop it basically looks the same.

I’ve owned my own home for over 2 years now and I still have half a dozen boxes of random “stuff”. The hallway closet is a disaster, and my clothes closet could use some serious editing.

My point is, it’s important to declutter and simplify your life, including your computer – it’s key for focus, stability and overall happiness of your machine, I mean, life.

5. Neutral? What does THAT even look like?
The Japanese, who are famous for their organizational capacity, have a wonderful saying called: clear to neutral.

The idea is that we often procrastinate because we have created too many obstacles for getting started. For example, how easy is it to make dinner when your sink is full of dishes?

Tonight, when you finish working, rather than leaving everything up, close down all of your applications.

Then, when you start work on Monday you will start with a fresh slate.

What other ways do you find yourself mistreating your computer? And what have you done to combat your bad behavior? Tell us in the comments!

Deepina Kapila

Dee is a fun-loving instructor with diverse tech experience across Fortune 500 companies, early-stage start-ups, government agencies & non-profits. Dee works at mobile product design studio Funsize, in Austin Texas where she lives with her husband, 2 border collie mixes, & 2 cats.

In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, reading on her Kindle & scuba diving in her hometown (Curaçao - an island in the Caribbean!).

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  1. 1.) Restarting is really only necessary when updating the underlying operating system itself, and the updater will prompt the user to do so when necessary.

    2.) Depending on what other programs are running, one could have dozens of tabs open without a problem. I once opened some 600 tabs before I was getting out of memory errors.

    3.) Most Apple updates are not security updates. It’s vital to update ASAP when there are security updates, such as Safari updates (or Java updates for older Macs still using Apple Java). It’s actually more important to update browsers such as Firefox or Chrome or Safari, because security vulnerabilities in the browser are significantly easier to exploit and more often exploited than operating system vulnerabilities.

    4.) Organizing documents is good. Never storing anything non-volatile on the desktop is a great way to start. Everyone once in a while, I select everything on my desktop and delete it all! Likewise for my Downloads folder, cleared primarily when I get a “low on space” notification. Silly video editing.

    5.) This is a fantastic zen habit.

  2. Magda Replied

    Was the Mac name-dropping really necessary for this article? Everything you wrote is true of any computer. Also, if you want to encourage more women to grow their tech skills, it’s important to let them understand that they don’t need the most expensive computer around to do it. Seriously, settle down with the Apple fawning.

  3. Vitamin W Replied

    yes, but what happens when you abuse the mac, besides that its slower with LOTSA tabs open

  4. michelleglauser Replied

    Are you telling me that you want me to close all my Skillcrush tabs? ;)

  5. stefanih Replied

    EXCELLENT post! I am definitely an abuser! I’m headed to clean my house (and by that, I mean my computer!) up!! :)

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