"Need to Know" OCD has been a giant time-suck in my life. My mind generates a lot of questions, and for many years I assumed I must therefore find the answer to these questions, even if it's totally irrelevant to what's important in my life. The compulsion is the search for the answer, because of the threat of feeling gnawing anxiety at not having found the answer, and fear that it will take up all available space in my head and that I'm missing something important.
Some people might blame this on the internet and smartphones, but all I needed was my mind. I'd forget someone's name, and wrack my brain trying to remember it, or dig through all my journals to find it. I'd go to the library and look at reference books. It didn't help that for 15 years I actually was a librarian, and I was trained to find things out! I was good at my job because of my honed skills of tracking information down, but got bogged down with finding too much information at times, because of not wanting to miss anything.
Yes, many folks have difficulty with getting sidetracked on the internet looking up random stuff, even without OCD, but OCD makes it feel dire if you don't hunt for an answer or find a missing link or recover a fragment of memory. I am learning to accept that my mind will be generating questions. That's what it does. Part of what makes me a writer is that I have a lot of questions and observations about the world. But if I follow every question down the path of finding an answer there isn't time for much else. It's hard to let some things go. I had the illusion that I really could find the answer to any question I had, but some can't be answered. But it is an illusion, and if I can remember that, and practicing letting some things go unaswered, it gets easier to let them pass.