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The Reading List Hoarding Problem

entrptaher profile image Md. Abu Taher πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» ・8 min read

Do you like to click that shiny [SAVE] button all the time? This post might be for you.

Here is the current situation of reading list on dev.to,
Dev.to

Note: When I first started writing this article, it was 328, now it's 356 😱, how can I write a post that I myself cannot get rid of? Well friend, I have a reading list hoarding issue at this moment of writing that I want to get rid of. This article is dedicated to me. I just want to share my experience.

Same goes to my bookmark tab, there are at least 2k+ bookmarks there.
Bookmark tab

Here is current situation of pocket,
Pocket

Hashnode also has overused bookmark feature:
Hashnode

I have had feeds, pinterest, medium, facebook saved posts, and hundreds of other solutions just to save something for later.

If I remember, I bought books, courses, tutorials, collected them in hundreds of folders, just like the reading list hoarding, and the time I finish my reading list? It doesn't come ever. I simply forget to read them later because I have a busy life.

Anywhere from 2% to 6% of adults have hoarding disorder. Yes, this is a disorder and it exists even on the internet in my opinion.

Thus, we need to talk about it.

Types of hoarders

There are few types of hoarders and you might be one of them.

"I might read it later" Hoarder

Some reader has a good collection, all sorted out properly consisting of titles they have been dying to read. However, some of these readers completely forget the existence of their previous list as soon as they see another awesome/popular post/media.

Once they save it, they begin thinking how they don't have time to read it right now, and vow to read it someday soon, and forget their vow pretty soon.

The cycle continues as they find more awesome posts that they might read later.

"I love this writer, I will read it later" Hoarder

They bookmark all/any video posted by linustechtips (or insert popular tech name), any post written by Molly Struve or Emma Wedekind or (insert your favorite/popular writer).

It shows love and appreciation to the writer. It's alright and encourage them to produce more valuable content.

But as a hoarder, the reading list grows and most simply forgets to read it. They end up in a mental breakdown once someone says something opposing their favorite writer or if they cannot find the content on their saved list.

"This post changed my life" Hoarder

They read the post, start relating their life with the content, they read it with so much passion that it end up having a huge impact on their life.

After that, no other post seems as important as that one. They might bookmark some other post, but end up reading same post over and over.

They save a post just for sake of saving, they read a post only to change their life.

"I will read this again" Hoarder

Sometimes they are not fanatic as "Impacting Hoarder" mentioned above, however they might read the post again just to refresh their brain once in a while.

They will use the content in good use, sometimes in research, sometimes in their content.

However they do not get rid of the bookmark once it's done processing one/few times. They do not love it, but they do not delete it either.

"I disagree and I must prove it properly" Hoarder

Usually the above others might save and read the content in a while. These are few others, who spend time to analyse the posts, line by line, and share their reviews with others.

Some shares short reviews, tweets or videos, but the kind of hoarder on this section are not them.

They form a very decided opinion of the post, read it few times, compile a list of reasons to justify their feelings. With a clever use of bullet points and respectful words, they present their case with other readers in a very persuasive manner.

They read the content and always end up finding a fault somewhere. No matter how much you reason with them, they will not budge.

It's not always negative though, sometimes these kind of hoarder brings very useful information and conversation. You will learn a lot from their opinion and have chance to rethink something from a completely different angle.

What kind of hoarder are you? Does it matter?

There are other types of hoarder outside this list, but it does not matter. At least they are hoarding links, and doing something that might bring value at some point. They are just trying to escape reality every now and then, having some peace in mind.

Once they acknowledge their problem, they will end up bringing more than others who actually does not take any action at all.

Bad sides of hoarding

  • You are increasing junk usage. The more you do useless stuff, the more server space is gonna be used, more energy usage, more global warming. Just because you saved something useless.
  • It's hard to find important stuff. If you want to find something you saved at beginning, most of time you will have a hard time scrolling down and pick the important one.
  • It makes you lose focus. You do not know what to learn anymore. You want to learn web development, mobile development, project management, server management and everything else all at once.
  • It gives you anxiety. When will you read that huge list? What about the new things you want to learn? Who is going to filter out things you do not want to learn anymore?
  • It causes you impostor syndrome. You feel there is so much left to learn. Everyone knows a lot more than you and sharing a lot of valuable information. Do you even belong here?

Getting rid of hoarding

This is going to be a long journey just like having an inbox zero. You will need solid proof that you are a hoarder, you will have to convince yourself. (Just like I accepted myself that I hoard links).

Get motivation

Overcoming hoarding will take some impressive commitment. So before you start, you first need to get really motivated about doing so. Getting motivated will help you stay consistent in your plans.

  • Make a list of strong reasons why you want to stop hoarding. For example, "I want to be able to understand this writer better", "I want to learn JavaScript as soon as possible". I don't know, your list, your reasoning.
  • Review the list whenever you feel your decision is changing. It will remind you of yourself.

Understand the difference between hoarding and collecting

A hoarder saves links/items in excess and has difficulty discarding or reading them later. It's hard to find and they mostly do not know what they are bookmarking and where it goes. Sometimes they will remember that they have this bookmarked somewhere near 1000th bookmark, but not the actual name anywhere. It just goes there and does nothing.

Collectors have a passion for gathering things as a side interest. Many things can be collected. It is totally up to them what they want to collect. They organize and display the links. They help others with their content, "Top 10 Books I have read last week", "Top 10 public speaking tips" etc.

Start Slow

Do not go and remove all links from every single place. Do not throw out all books at once, do not throw out all junks in dumpster, do not remove all piece of code and start from scratch just randomly.

Open one or collection each week/month. First week go through one writer/category, second week another, and so on.

Handle one post at a time

Stop keeping things "For Now", it won't help much. Handle this one thing just only once so you do not end up handling same link over and over.

If it's a post, read it properly. If it's a video, watch it properly. Decide whether you should watch/read fully at that moment.

One post at a time.

Scale down and organize it

One big glob of thousand line of messy code vs thousand small glob of messy code. Yeah, both are terrible. Messy is terrible.

However, consider one small piece of code at a time, organize it. It might take time, but by end of the day/week, you will end up with some satisfaction.

Same goes for links, if you try to organize all of the links at once, you will get frustrated. Just handle it smoothly and slowly. Just focus on processing and making it shorter.

Scale down when needed, but don't force it.

Make use of the organizing features

On dev.to, you can see the saved posts by category/tags, pocket and other tools also lets you do that.

It's best to make the best use of this. If you are learning javascript, go through that, if you are a beginner or trying to help a beginner, go through that, if you are having problem with testing, go to #testing tag. And the list will clean up, you will end up with a positive and healthy mind.

Toss uninteresting saves

You wanted to learn devOps (just saying for example) and saved a bunch of links. But now you are not interested in it.

  • Toss it away. Remove it from your list.
  • Send it to people who will actually benefit from the post. It will increase communication, make you much more helpful to community.

Don't procrastinate

If you do not put a deadline, whatever you left on the reading list will be there forever. Set a note on your calendar, whiteboard or sticky. If you do not read the post by that time, remove it unconditionally.

Keep it simple

You do not need to learn everything at once. Just because you might want to learn kotlin, rust, c, java, php, python, machine learning in future does not mean you should just collect links for them. It will stay there, do not collect it if you do not need it.

Do not leave it there, if you clean this up, it will make you a better you. Cleaning out reading list will help you understand the bad points of hoarding and you can apply it in real life, getting rid of book, course and many other hoarding habit.

Kindly do not save this post for later. Love it and share it with your friends instead to make sure they also benefit from this.

Prevent hoarding

Do not jump into reading just random posts. Do not click save button just yet. Try to understand the point and go through the post quickly for a bit.

Stay focused and organize. Your list will have much more quality. This habit will help you in other areas of your life.

If you ever feel you have this problem out of control. Seek professional help. This is especially true if it is affecting your life in a significant manner. Extreme hoarding is a sign that you have other underlying issues.

Read, Engage and Share instead of Saving. That's one way to contribute and taking action.

Gathering courses, links and books only to never read it again? That's some serious problem. You should take action now!

Maybe I am wrong, maybe this was never an issue. Let me know in the comments what you think about it.

EDIT: It's funny the first reaction this post gets is also a [SAVE] reaction.

Posted on Mar 20 '19 by:

entrptaher profile

Md. Abu Taher πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

@entrptaher

Full Stack Developer, focused on web automation, open source enthusiast and contributor. Passionate about programming, specializing in JavaScript.

Discussion

markdown guide
 

Heh, I'm over 900 articles in my saved right now, but it's entirely To Read. Anything actually save worthy I put in Pocket (used to keep a Gitlab snippet, but that was getting annoying to update). Pocket has maybe a few dozen things but from multiple sites, so it's not too much of a hoarding issue.

I do need to get around to reading all that stuff, though. After I finish grad school in May.

 

Good luck reading 900+ articles after May. :D

 

I use Habitica to remind me to read/consume something I bookmarked daily. Of course, I also bookmark a ton for that one I read so I'm thinking of increasing my daily reading.

 

Can you share your experience with Habitica so far? :D

 

How do you mean? I use it as a daily to-do and to remind me things I should be doing (for example, I have a checklist to follow on there for every single developer project). The motivation is not killing my character, haha.

That's not a hoarding problem. The problem is when you save for later but never take care of it.

The motivation is important.

Not sure what you're talking about. I commented how I solved my problem, not saying the app was a problem.

Yes, I am saying you do not have a hoarding problem since you track this properly.

 

I am a digital hoarder as well. But I came to love it. I love my bookmarks collection. I only had a problem: it was devided in somany places. GitHub Stars, Google Bookmarks, Chrome Bookmarks, Firefox Bookmarks.. I eventually created my own opensource application just to manage it. github.com/IvoLimmen/mystart. I also use RRS a LOT. I have around 150 different sites I keep track of. Plus I also store a lot of article to Pocket.

 
 

I definitely have an issue with this, right now my reading list on here is 422 articles. Most of them I had a real interest in, opened in a new tab to read it then ran out of time or became overwhelmed by tabs so saved each one. Then I also have a whole bunch of bookmarks saved on Twitter... It's overwhelming to say the least. 😩

It's a real problem and I think this is one of the first articles I've seen that addresses it. I'll definitely be trying some of the solutions you mentioned!

Thank you for the quality post! (Also in all irony, I'm pretty sure I'm the one who saved it first πŸ˜‚)

 

It's actually called Digital hoarding :D, and is underrated.

 

There's also the "It's there so I have to bookmark it" hoarder.

 

Absolutely πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ ...

Clicking the Save button almost became a habit.