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Can you survive on 5 tabs?

Years ago I took a course on Effective Time Management. There were quite a few productivity hacks that I adopted (some permanently). However, his most controversial hack was to declare war on post-its. Still remember his words “Every time you return to your desk, those colorful little squares that you neatly arrange all around your monitor and workspace are chiming in unison – look-at-me, no-no-look-at-ME.”

I’ve largely given up on my post-it fetish, although I occasionally succumb during truly hellish weeks with multiple hard deadlines.

But yesterday’s post-its are today’s zillion tabs on your Chrome browser.

Over on a Slack channel, PMs were going gaga about the Tab Suspender extension. I cleared my inner superiority British voice and snarked “Who needs Tab Suspender if you’ve switched to the Brave browser. Saved me 15+ hours on Mac and 17+ hours on Android.. See ya people!”

Lately I’ve been looking at the top of colleagues’ screens with more than a passing interest. I count the number of open tabs. And judge them.

40+ tabs is apparently routine. Some even have multiple windows – each window serving a certain type of tab or so they believe.

To be fair, multiple tabs serve not just as an unfinished todo but also as a bookmark. But surely you’ve hit some kind of a bookmark limit if it’ll take you 2-3 minutes to find that one open tab. I’ve actually seen this play out. It’s mesmerizing.. in an OMG what-kind-of-@#$% kinda way.

My open tab count tends to be in the 10-12 range usually. During OKR season, it will soar a bit.

I’m talking open tabs and Chrome because I’m about to confess to something. Every time I click Yes to those Do you want to install? system updates, I have a sickening¬†dread – what if Restore Tabs fails?

On Dec 20, exactly that happened.

If my life depended on it, I would be able to name & find those 12 tabs in a jiffy but I did suffer a few minutes of FOMO terror. But what exactly had I lost?

Nothing that I couldn’t locate with 1 or 2 clicks/searches. Voila! Time to unveil my newest experiment – I will have no more than 5 tabs open:

  • Three are permanently reserved for Gmail, Google Keep, and Calendar
  • Two shall be used for any of the collaboration tool(s) being used

Will share an update on this experiment in a few months.

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