In the past few days I noticed my laptop was performing slowly. Applications loaded slowly, and browsing the web on Chrome came with a noticeable lag. My laptop is a year old and equipped with fast hardware. Bothered by the performance, I began to troubleshoot.
I checked Task Manager for any unwanted applications/processes, updated Google Chrome, and restarted my laptop several times. The problem persisted.
What's interesting is the psychological effect this had. For every noticeable lag (while opening Chrome, a new tab, or loading an application like Gmail or Trello) I would get agitated. The delay could have been a millisecond, but because it was there, and because I could not figure out what was causing it, I was getting upset by it.
I depend on my laptop. It's my gateway to the internet, TV, and the tool I use to write. I paid a premium for the product because I needed something that was fast. So when the product fails to deliver on the key feature I paid a premium to have, it's upsetting. But why?
Psychologically I felt slower. The laptop was impacting my productivity on the device. And this carried over to tasks done outside of the device. I felt slower around the house, because I had this lingering slow laptop problem looming over me. The frustration of not being able to figure it out became over bearing.
I struggle with isolating challenges. My will pushes me to figure something out before I move on to the next thing. It's not a scalable process because many challenges are not immediately solvable. Priorities (aka life) require leaving tasks unfinished so others can be addressed. Ideally, each task is treated in isolation with a fresh mindset. Feelings (e.g. frustration) from one task should not carry over to another. For when they do, you haven't really transitioned from one task to another. You may be doing a new task, but your head is still in the previous one.
This is why psychologically I felt slower away from my laptop. My mindset was still with the task of trying to figure out my laptop. The frustration associated with it not working as expected. And these feelings carried over to other tasks.
The will power to disconnect needs to be practiced. Part of it is recognizing when your carrying feelings from one task to another. Acknowledging the carry over, taking a pause, and proceeding.
The other part is mindset. "Think positively". Cliché aside, this is a powerful phrase. Knowing that you will figure out the problem you postponed will ease the anxiety felt by not solving it immediately. This should help clear your mind for the task at hand as it receives unbiased focus.
Although my situation is trivial (slow laptop, big deal...), the ability to disconnect feelings associated with one task/event from another is important to develop. It can impact professional and social relationships, your focus, and overall happiness. It's not easy to do, but with practice it can be done.
And I did figure out why my laptop was performing slowly. It wasn't a virus or some unwanted background process eating up my memory. During a recent trip I had changed my battery profile to "Power Saver". This profile limits the performance of the laptop in order to preserve power. Once I switched the profile to "High performance" the performance issue went away. I've felt much faster since.