I am an extreme multitasker. I usually have at least fifteen windows open on my desktop at any given time, often as many as thirty. I usually have several Firefox windows open at once, too, each with a dozen or more active tabs with pages I either intend to read or need to use as a reference.
Of course, this degree of multitasking is unhealthy. For the most part, each window in front of me represents an unfinished task on my plate, taking up space on my desktop and nibbling away at CPU cycles. Some windows will just sit there for days, untouched and neglected.
At best, these piles of opened windows act as a kind of “to do” list for me, reminding me of my unfinished business. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that my goal each day is simply to close all the windows. Usually, however, the clutter just prevents me from finishing any one task by tempting me to revisit and make incremental changes to many other ones.
So whenever an application crashes on me and closes all of its windows or tabs, or even more dramatically when the whole computer crashes, it’s sometimes a blessing in disguise. It is like a splash of cold water to wake me up and force me to take stock of what was really important to get done — and to allow the less important stuff, and the wasteful stuff, to simply fall away and bubble to the top later on when it’s really important, according to a real plan.
I have over the years cultivated many good habits that make normal computer crashes (it’s sad that crashes can be considered “normal”) pretty harmless: I save often, and I save multiple versions of important documents. I even compose my comments for other peoples’ blogs using Outlook (which autosaves email drafts) before finally pasting them in the blog’s comment field. So when my computer crashes, it’s almost never disastrous for me at all. In fact, it’s usually quite nice. I usually gain more than I lose. Does that make me a sicko?