The problem with too many tabs open in your browser

couch and computer

I have this bad habit. When I’m working on my computer, I have a bajillion tabs open in my browser. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. Maybe it’s only a million tabs.

I open up tabs as I’m researching an article. If there’s something interesting in an email, I’ll open the link in another tab so that I can delete the email and have the article I want to read. Sometimes I save it to Pocket but most of the time I don’t. I open up tabs for all the blogs that I want to read. I open up tabs as reminders of things I need to do.

Whenever I complain about how slow my computer runs, my husband (gently) suggests that it might be because I have a million tabs open on my browser. But I typically ignore him and continue on my multi-tab ways.

Until the hard drive on my computer crashed. Somehow, in the process of having my hard drive replaced and a new operating system installed, my computer started doing a funny thing. Normally, my computer puts itself to sleep after a period of inactivity.

But now, instead of going to sleep, my computer shuts itself down. When I try to wake up my computer, it has to reboot – enter password, reload programs. And you know what else? All the tabs close on my browser.

My default to-do list? Gone.

My reading list? Gone.

My research? Gone.

Me? Stressed.

rockaway beach_blog

My brain’s kind of like my browser. It’s a physical picture of what’s going on in my brain and the variety of different things I try to juggle in my head at the same time – family calendar, work calendar, research, writing, blog reading, social media, summer camp/plans, school reminders, emails to send and respond to, summer clothes I need to buy for the kids (because OMG it’s summer).

I imagine that I will methodically make my way through my tabs, completing task after task and closing the tabs one-by-one. But that never happens.

Instead, I read one thing and end up opening another tab before I’ve finished reading the first article. I remember another item on my to-do list and open another tab to remember to do that thing.

I never actually finish anything because it’s impossible to finish anything when your attention ping-pongs like a handball off a wall, never landing anywhere for enough time to focus.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.53.13 PM

I’ve realized that when I have too many tabs open at once, I slow down my operating system. I’m trying my best not to open so many tabs and to decrease the stress on me and my operating system…

To resist the impulse to open tabs as soon as a thought come to me {and instead write it down so I can take care of it later}.

To read, really read, what is in front of me {instead of skimming and speed reading just to close the tab}.

To focus on what I’m doing and follow-through {instead of multi-tasking and not really following through on anything}.

To close down my browser every once in a while to let it rest {instead of having my computer and my mind constantly on. Even if it’s a low hum in the background, it still drains energy}.

To step away from the computer like I did this weekend mostly {instead of feeling tethered to my computer and phone 24/7}.

To meditate because it stops the crazy swirling of thoughts and ideas in my head and slows them down so that I can calmly address each thought and idea.

It’s not perfect but it’s a start.

Do you have too many tabs open in your life?

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