Compulsive hoarding is a behavioral disorder that consists of accumulating goods excessively without being able to get rid of them even if the things are no longer useful. This disorder can also relate to information, files, and digital documents. Far from being trivial, this habit can be harmful.
What are digital hoarders profiles?
There are several types of digital hoarders, each with their own characteristics and motivations:
- Collectors who collect information and documents without having specific criteria for doing so.
- The organizers strive to systematically and accurately classify and categorize each file.
- Curators who carefully select each file to build an accurate and consistent collection.
- Knowledge seekers who spend hours searching for and memorizing information, but never take the time to read or use it.
Are there risks of compulsive digital hoarding?
Far from being harmless, compulsive hoarding can have mental health consequences. In addition to the anxiety and stress caused by the amount of information stored and the difficulty of managing it, it affects social life and even work in some cases because of the time and mental burden allotted to it.
In some cases, it may be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which can progress to depression.
How do you overcome compulsive digital hoarding?
If you identify yourself as a compulsive hoarder, start by setting clear limits for yourself in terms of time and storage space. For example, you can decide to spend only 2 hours per day managing your files or use no more than 50% of your computer’s storage.
To reduce its impact on your mental health, remember to exercise regularly and spend time with friends and family to help reduce stress and improve your mood. Consulting a mental health professional can help you understand why you are developing this behavior and find strategies to overcome it.
Source: “There’s More Than One Kind of Hoarder: Collecting, Managing, and Storing Digital Data in the Workplace Getting Share Access” by Kerry McKellar et al. Interacting with Computers, Volume 32, Number 3, May 2020, Pages 209-220, Available here. https://doi.org/10.1093/iwc/iwaa015
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”