If you use a web browser newer than Internet Explorer 7, you probably use (and abuse) tabs on a daily basis. Whether you’re a tab hoarder (like myself) or a neat freak, everyone has their own unique system of dealing with tab overload.
In my quest for multi-tab perfection, I’ve tried everything. Here’s a list of my top five solutions, in descending order of madness:
Opening multiple browser windows in an attempt to pretend like you’re not a tab hoarder. Here’s the scenario: Your boss comes by for an impromptu meet to discuss the ticket you just closed. You currently have so many tabs open in Chrome that the favicons have all fled in favor of the first letter of each website’s title tag. In a panic, you open a brand new shiny Chrome window and drop your ticket there. Ah, that’s better. All I do is one thing! And I do it well. Your boss leaves (no doubt marking a note for your next review on your digital cleanliness and focus), and you have decided this is your new method. Too many tabs? BAM, new window. Problem(s): This works for a few days until your computer crashes from memory leakage.
Custom webpage. Yeah, this was one of my more moronic ideas. Slightly better than #1 as it actually requires a methodology other than panic. I designed a simple local html page and dropped hyperlinks into custom categories whenever my tabs got too large. I even had sections for “common links” (almost, like, FAVORITES, you might say). Why in the world would I do that? I genuinely believed that having a “fun” page to look at every day would help with productivity (I dropped in all sorts of fun images and attempted to change up the banner image periodically). Problem(s): All of them. Removing links was a pain, adding links was a pain. And it was just generally a bad idea.
Actually reading articles and closing tabs after completion. I know, super unrealistic, right? For a short (very short) period of time I attempted to enforce a rule of actually reading articles as they came to me and then closing them. Similarly, if I was working on several tickets at once, I would only leave open the ticket I was working on, and rely on my scrum board to keep tabs (get it?) on the rest. Problems: Some days I’d be bombarded with 10-15 articles on data best practices, Python goodies, and the best way to get your kids to go the f$%! to sleep.
Pocket. The first of two software solutions provided in this post, Pocket is a great tool for saving and organizing articles on the web. You click on the “Save To Pocket” bookmarklet, type in your tag(s), and your article is saved. When you want to read it later, just head over to the app and view the list of articles by category or tag. One thing I love about Pocket is its sleek design, which drops in thumbnails for each article into a gridded display. And each article defaults to a simplified, clean view, which also links to the original article. Problem(s): While this is great for articles, it is not so good with any other links, like your tickets, PRs, or Amazon Wish List items…
Probably the best idea… a tab manager. Yup, this is my ultimate solution. Tab managers are nothing new, but you may have missed them if you are overly organized already, or too lazy to change your behavior. There are tons out there. I am currently using OneTab, which isn’t filled with dazzling features, it just does what I need it to do. Too many tabs freaking me out? With the click of a button I get to watch them all disappear, one by one, to be magically transported to a single tab, where they are organized by date.
Other tab managers include: The Great Suspender, which suspends tabs that are not in use, saving valuable memory and allowing you to recall them later; Tabs Outliner, among the more complicated to get used to, allows you to group your tabs in a tree structure for later perusal and organization; Vivaldi, which is a full-fledged browser that just so happens to have amazing tab management baked in; and, about 1,000 more. Problem(s): I currently have 338 tabs saved in OneTab, and digging into a particular day to clean them up can be a chore. But that’s more of a human problem, isn’t it?
P.S. Just for fun, here’s the last thing I zapped away via OneTab.