July 12, 2019

Three Ways to Deal With Tab Overload

I’m always impressed by people who can have dozens of browser tabs open and still get things done. For me, more tabs means more distraction and anxiety, a slower browser, and a high chance of losing something important.

There are tons of options for managing tab overload, from saving them all as bookmarks to forcing them all to reopen if you close your browser. The problem is, a lot of them are just ways to ignore the problem rather than deal with it. Here are three methods I’ve actually found helpful — I use Chrome but I suspect there are similar options for other browsers!

  1. Use a browser extension to save tabs for later reading, and then close them. For articles, I recommend Feedly, Pocket, or Instapaper. For tabs that you need to take some action on, most task managers provide a Chrome extension that will save the current page as a task. For general reference material, Google Keep, Notion, and Evernote are good options. Whatever you use, make sure it’s something you’ll check regularly!
  2. Snooze your tabs so that they reappear at a more convenient time. Rather than just haphazardly dismissing them for your future self to deal with, try to actually choose a time that makes sense for them to reappear. Got work stuff open? Snooze it until you’re next in the office. Got a recipe open? Snooze it for when you’re about to cook dinner.
  3. Pin tabs you keep open all the time so that they take up less space. This is great if you have a load of tabs that you keep open all the time. In Chrome, simply right click on the tab and choose Pin Tab’. The tab will become smaller and snap to the left. You can pin multiple tabs, and whenever you start your browser your pinned tabs will open automatically. It also helps to differentiate at a glance between your regular tabs and the tabs you’re just using temporarily.

One final tip: Only save a tab if you are actually going to read/use it. Your time is limited: if it’s not that important, save yourself the anxiety and just close it!