Start Decluttering Your Browser

Is your browser cluttered with lots of tabs? Annoying, isn’t it?

Just like emails, each tab represents a to-do item. When you have over 20 tabs open filled with blog articles to read, work related tabs, Facebook friends you have with chats open, Twitter… important tabs or tasks will get lost in the mess. Not to mention trying to find that tab with Google Hangouts on live in that pile.

When the favicon disappears… well then you know that you’ve definitely got too many tabs open. Instead of clearing the non-essential stuff, you open a new browser and start all over again. Sooner or later, you’ve got a total of 100 tabs open and no idea where what is. Not only is it inefficient but it also clutters your mind trying to keep track of all of those tabs.

I know. It’s hard. Especially when some of the tabs require a few hours of work which you’re procrastinating instead of dealing with them on the spot, so you start browsing Hacker News which has interesting links which leads to more links and then you find a recommendation for a product you’d like to purchase on Amazon. So of course you need to checkout the reviews and competitor products to see which one you want. Maybe you’ll also open some bloggers and youtubers that have reviewed the product.

It happens so easily that it really is difficult to control unless you start becoming conscious of it and start managing it.

To help me manage tabs, I use the following:

  • When the favicon starts disappearing, instead of opening a new window, force yourself to start closing tabs.
  • Tabs that can be dealt with in under 5 minutes should be dealt with. Don’t leave it open
  • Articles that are long which you don’t need to read now — put them onto a to read list. If you read lots of articles, categorise your to read list. I like to use Workflowy for this but anything will do. If it’s a really good article that I think I’ll refer to again, then I’ll save it into Evernote with additional notes.
  • When you’re researching a problem or issue, you’ll typically have at least 5-10 links which you’ll want to save as reference. For those, it depends on whether it’s a once-off problem (e.g. how to fix a cracked iPhone screen) or a more permanent one that I’ll need to refer to again (e.g. how to increase my website speed or increase my SEO ranking).
  • For the more temporary issues, I’ll put them into Workflowy. For the more permanent ones, I’ll organize them in PBWorks so that it’s not only easily accessible to me but also all of my team members can view them. In cases where I want only certain people (e.g. external freelancers) to view the information but not everyone, then I’ll put the information on a Google Drive Document which will be linked to from the appropriate place in PBWorks.
  • For the important tasks which have to be dealt with (each task can have one or multiple tabs), and they will take longer than 5 minutes and cannot be dealt with currently, then I’ll put them all into Asana or I’ll email my virtual assistant to do it. Sometimes, I’ll have additional thoughts surrounding the links which will also be added.
  • Most of my work involves marketing so whenever I see good ads or something I want to reference later, I’ll use Skitch to take a screenshot and saved to categorised Dropbox folders. In some cases, I’ll also put it in PBWorks too with the Evernote link that Skitch saved.

Once you get into the habit of keeping only the necessary tabs you need while you work, you’ll be much more focused.

Tools Mentioned:

Asana
Skitch
Workflow
PBWorks
Google Drive

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