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Tabs are KILLING your productivity! Here’s why...

Last Updated 2022/04/12

Updated 03/06/2020

Breaking a habit is hard. You might bite your nails, smoke cigarettes or indulge in one too many soft drinks throughout the day. Me? I’m a tab addict, and if your browser regularly looks anything like this: A browser with too many tabs open ...then you may find that you have a bad tab habit too. When tabs were first implemented into browsers, the ability to consolidate multiple windows into manageable tabs (that we could easily switch between) made us believe we could get more done. But it wasn’t until recently that I found this was hindering my productivity… not helping it.

Why does it affect my productivity?

In short, too many tabs reduce your focus and concentration. Studies have found that untidy screens decreased response times amongst doctors in hospitals and increased their stress levels - this is exactly what a large number of browser tabs do to us. Not only do they affect us mentally, but they can also significantly impact the performance of your computer, tablet or smartphone. This is particularly true when you’ve got multiple web apps, such as Google Docs, Netflix and Spotify open in your browser. According to Lifehacker; Nine is the maximum number of tabs you should have open at any one time, as it means we can easily access each tab by using the CTRL (or CMD for Mac users) and a number key (CTRL + 2 would open the second tab, for example).

So, how do I break the tab habit?

Tabs can be a super-useful tool if used correctly, but to stop them from spiralling out of control, we need to assess the different ways we are using them: 1. Regularly used apps and services The great thing about tabs, is it allows your browser to become the all-in-one app to manage cloud services such as email, documents, availability, to-do lists, etc. However, if you find you aren’t using these services regularly, consider closing the tab! I usually bookmark these sites instead, to keep everything clean and tidy. 2. Interesting pages for later If your tabs are full of interesting posts, useful information or looking like a shopping cart, consider using some handy tools to save these tabs for later. Pocket is a fantastic app that allows you to save stories to be read later when you have time for it. TabWrangler is a great extension for Chrome that moves unused tabs into a queue of up to 100, so you can access it later. This is handy for weeding out the tabs you don’t need without even thinking about it. I don’t advise using bookmarks for storing these particular tabs, as they tend to be one-use or completely forgotten about. You don’t want to move all your unused tabs into bookmarks, as you will just end up with another unruly list. This means you can close the tabs, focus on your work and get round to it when the time is right! 3. Social media Social media is a huge productivity killer for staff - my advice here is to simply cut it out of your day or set particular times to check it, perhaps during your lunch? If your work involves managing social media, then there are a number of great tools, such as Hootsuite, which allows you to centralise your social media management into one easy to use app, where you can monitor your different accounts all in one place. Handy! 4. To-do list Much like our previous article on email management, don’t let your browser turn into a to-do list! If you’re storing your tabs as a list of items to attend to later, consider using a workflow management tool such as SwiftCase to simply store or delegate your tasks to avoid distraction. So, there you have it. Four ways to break the habit and regain your productivity. SwiftCase helps thriving businesses, swamped by growing demand, automate and organise, to focus on what matters - loved by 100,000s of users across Insurance, Finance, Legal, Service & Contractor sectors.

Adam Sykes