Browser Tabs Might Be Killing Your Productivity

The day browsers added tabbing capabilities everyone thought they would see so much productivity gained through the technology. No longer did you have a ton of different windows open with various web pages. This innovation has changed our browsing habits so much that now, instead of boosting our productivity, having too many browser tabs open can actually hinder our productivity!

Not only can several tabs hinder your productivity by offering too many distractions and a lack of organization, it can literally slow your computer down. Each tab can tie up resources and memory on the machine and cause other applications to perform slowly. At most you should only have 5-7 tabs open at any given time, and less is even better.

There are several reasons people have for having several tabs open. Once you understand why you are keeping each tab open, you can change the way you manage your tabs and work more efficiently.

Why users keep multiple tabs open:

You want to read it later

As you browse social media or look through results on Google, you may start opening articles in new tabs. You don’t want to lose your place on the page you are currently browsing, but you want to read the new page. As you continue to browse, you may not get around to reading the article right now, and so the browser tab sits.

A great way to combat this is to use a utility like Pocket, Evernote or Google Keep. You can install a browser plugin that will allow you to just click a button in your browser window to save the URL to the service. When you are ready to read the articles you can open the service, click on the article and read it. Through mobile versions of the service, you can even read the articles on your mobile device when you have some downtime.

Tools you use frequently

Most people leave browser tabs open to quickly access cloud-based services like email, calendar, task lists, and more. This is probably the best use of tabs since you can quickly access the programs you use frequently. If you subscribe to a lot of these utilities, you may end up keeping some of them open even when they aren’t frequently used. A good rule of thumb here is if you use the website at least once every hour you can keep it open. Anything more than that, and you should just create a bookmark for the utility and only open it when you need it.

Social media networks

Another tab that people usually keep open is websites to social media networks like Facebook. Social networks are one of the biggest productivity killers for employees. Keeping this tab open will send visual and audio notifications to your computer, which will keep distracting you throughout the day. It is best to just close the social networks as soon as you are done looking at it.

Tabs as tasks

When you get an email that has a form you need to fill out, or something to print, or any other things that require action on your part, you open them in a new tab and say you will get to it later. If the task takes less than 2 minutes, just get it done and close the tab. If it is a longer task, you can share the URL to your favorite task list. This way, you can close the tab and then when you are ready to tackle the task just open it again from your task list.

Now that you understand why you have so many tabs open, you can start to process the tabs and close them to gain productivity from the tabs instead of losing it.