During enjoyable pursuits, time seems fleeting, but when waiting for a computer to respond (a less enjoyable enterprise), seconds become minutes, and minutes become hours, causing patience to wear thin. The subsequent frustration can lead to problems that create an even longer wait, resulting in even more frustration. For example, when a web page doesn’t instantly load, it’s tempting to try again and again, until 14 instances of the browser are loading simultaneously, increasing the load time and the accompanying irritation. Since staring at a computer screen slows time to a crawl, when confronted with a lethargic web page or some other reluctant process, you may want to just walk away (advice I habitually ignore).
My own patience was recently tested while trying to bring an old laptop back to life that, by today’s standards, is hopelessly outdated (of course, a computer purchased last week is likewise hopelessly outdated by today’s standards). Fortunately, other distractions provided the luxury of time (and patience) necessary for this agonizingly slow process; one that included simple, basic procedures that took–in actual time–several hours to complete. However, after updating software, cleaning out unnecessary junk, defragmenting, and uninstalling all but the most essential programs, the brick wall that had once blocked those processes became molasses. The computer still ran slow, but was no longer stopped. If my attention hadn’t been otherwise occupied, it’s likely that this device would have suffered a different fate.
Patience doesn’t solve problems, it just allows problems time to solve themselves. Also, it’s easier to preach it than to practice it, but it’s one of the most effective tools in a computer toolbox. While it may seem to take forever, a sluggish process often costs less time than was squandered reading this computer tip (one that didn’t address a single computer problem). So, when an unresponsive PC arouses the temptation to use that hammer in your other toolbox for something besides driving nails, read this again. In the time that takes, your computer may have responded (hopefully), or you will have been bored into a state of serenity. Either way is good.