You are researching travel to a conference and you find yourself with browser tabs open for price quotes on your flight, hotel, ground transportation, event schedule, event registration, and the places you’d like to visit while spending time in a different city. You are researching material for a lesson plan and you find yourself with browser tabs open for numerous research articles, blog posts, and other sources of ideas.
If you ever spend time gathering information from several sources, this has to sound familiar to you. Ken Colburn, the founder of Data Doctors, writes in Tech Q&A: Tips for browser ‘tabaholics’:
Every tab you open consumes working memory (aka RAM), which can eventually lead to significant performance issues, so keeping the number of open tabs to a minimum is always in your best interest.
Laura Moon of Trello has compiled some research that suggests habitual browser tab pile-up, addition to not being great for your computer’s performance, may actually be altering your brain chemistry, and not in a good way.
My new favorite solution to “tab-itis” is the TabCopy Chrome extension. With a couple quick clicks, I can copy the page titles and URLs of every open tab in my browser and paste them somewhere, like a shared Google Doc. When I need to put a project aside because something else comes up, this extension allows me to keep the research I’ve done, but get rid of the open tabs so that I can focus on something else until I’m ready to return to the research project.
TabCopy is only one of many similar browser extensions and add-ons, so you should be able to find something that works for you even if you prefer Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer to Chrome.
Consider this part of your Organizing Your Digital Self arsenal of tricks. (You could also share this tip with students.) Lose the tabs! Take back your browser, and your focus.