Productivity July 12, 2020

My many tabs lie heavily on my soul (and brain)

Yarduza

I have a very complex relationship with my browser tabs. I keep them because they help me remember things I need to get to, but even though I do take care of many of them daily, their number just seems to grow!

There are the work tabs, the enrichment tabs, the "things I want to learn to do a better job" tabs, and the all so famous "awesome things I will surely get into... one day, maybe, but for sure" tabs.

Because of the web development, I work both with Chrome and Safari. And I also need incognito windows to test anonymous users. So basically I have 5-6 windows that look like the image I uploaded.

The problem is that they really distract me, so many tabs, just seeing so many of them, is a psychological difficulty. It also sometimes takes me time to find the right tab.

Or oh my dear god if a video starts playing somewhere. Restarting the computer is easier than finding where it comes from (I don't really restart it, don't worry).

I have tried bookmarking services before and I wasn't impressed with the results. I'm open to new suggestions in this area though.

So! I'm coming to you fellow indie hackers, do any of you know what I'm talking about? How do you deal with this? Do you have any advice for a tired and cluttered brain?

  1. 4

    I think that we all know how this feels - if it is any consolation, you are not alone. It is very common for developers and other professionals to have 40+ tabs opened at one time in the browser. It is a phenomena even described in Urban dictionary.

    Here is my take on tackling the problem:

    1. Develop a habit of aggressively closing tabs that you do not need at the moment. If you think you will somehow need it later (up to a week later), you can still find it in history (CMD+Y). This is the treshold for "urgent necessity".

    2. You said you have 5-6 windows opened. Are the tabs inside windows grouped by a theme ("work", "email", "project research #1")? If they are not, group them into "workspaces".

    3. Once you have them force yourself to not open additional "trash tabs" inside workspaces that are unrelated to the workspace - Youtube has no place in "work" window :)

    4. The pain of having multiple YouTube videos open is real, especially when you reopen a window and autoplay starts. What you need is a cool overview of opened windows that enable you to see what tabs are emitting sound (also Spotify, videoconferences etc.). Then you can pause them or close them.

    Here is an example of my research window where you can see what is going on:
    How to spot opened Youtube videos on Tablerone

    1. Also develop a habit of closing workspaces you do not need at the moment. You can always open them later.

    ---

    The screenshot is from the extension me and my team created a while ago and is also published on Indie Hackers. It was created to hep you tackle the exact problems described above. You can create workspaces, manage them, export them to multiple formats (including JSON) and much much more. It also provides easy search for any opened tabs (across all windows and tabs) which comes handy if you are a heavy tabhoarder in the process of healing like I am :)

    It is called Tablerone and you can use it freely here Tablerone extension. It is currently available for Chrome (also Brave, Edge and other Chromium).

  2. 4

    45 TABS?!!??!

    1. 1

      You counted! 😂
      In defense of my reputation and good name, I had 4 more windows like it.

      Also, how does one include a photo in the comments?!

      1. 2

        There should be a chrome extension that counts tabs and throws up memes past a certain threshold :)

        Inline images work like so:

        Kind of meta to have to use an image for this. Apparently IH markdown doesn't support escape characters.

        1. 1

          Thanks!
          I would install such a chrome extension...

  3. 2

    A very similar scenario here. I've taken to using services like Pocket or Google Keep to stow away interesting 'might read it later' stuff. Also been experimenting with Notion to offload tabs that I would normally keep open.

    But another technique is to simply force close any tabs that I haven't visited in over a week (without clicking on them as that could lead to further excuses to "Oh, why don't I just leave this here for later...").

    Lastly, using Chrome's 'pinned tabs' has helped a lot. I tend to pin about 10 tabs that I use all the time (SaaS dashboards etc.) and never want to shut down. That way I can mentally treat all other tabs as 'throwaway' ones and feel less bad about closing them arbitrarily.

    1. 2

      The pins are a great idea!

      About closing unused windows, It's definitely the more mature way of handling it. But it's also harder :D I just can't send my "babies" to oblivion. It's like I'm running a pokemon gym here. Gotta catch read them all!

  4. 1

    sounds like adhd to me ;)
    You got to check out Workona. https://workona.com/
    Workspaces of tabs/bookmarks + web clipper extension + dashboard with integration of productivity apps in a sidebar (gsuite, trello, git, notion, etc...) it's pretty awesome.

  5. 1

    For content-related stuff (i.e. articles) I find Pocket works for me. I always send them there so I know nothing is lost.

    For more task related stuff, I always try to save them in an artifact related to their topic (in my current case, a Trello card). This way, when/if you eventually wanna go back to it, it's there! (but not on your screen at all times).

  6. 1

    You could build an extension with all the links you need, then, open it on the empty.

    1. 2

      How do I do that?

      1. 1

        Have you not done an extension before?
        Is super easy to do this kind, it was my first.

        Let me het home, and to ight I drop you a linkor i give you some code tjat i have on how to do it.

        You can also do tje same extension ut opening in as a dropdown.

  7. 1

    I found this today on PH: https://www.tabbs.pro/

    I know you said you've tried similar services but, who knows, maybe this one is different 🤷‍♂️

  8. 1

    I've had the same problem, but I found a good way around it.

    It's a browser extension to separate my tabs in groups, and I have one group for things to read in the near future.
    One for daily browsing, when I don't work on anything specific and one for each project I work on currently. If a project is big and I'm stuck trying to solve a single issue, I may create a new group just for that issue.

    With this I usually end up with 10-30 tabs, that's still a lot, but it's manageable and also I use another extension that amoung other things allows me to search through my tabs and navigate to them without using my mouse (among other things)

    PS: if anyone is curious about the extensions I can link them when I get on my computer.

    1. 1

      Sure, I'm curious.

      1. 1

        I use firefox, here are the links to the extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/simple-tab-groups/
        I think this chrome extension does something similar: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tab-group/gjgjkhbmehogehkdnoooeihkipifimme
        And
        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tridactyl-vim/
        Unfortunately there is no version for Chrome as far as I know, something similar is: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/vimium/dbepggeogbaibhgnhhndojpepiihcmeb?hl=en
        But it isn't so advanced.

  9. 1

    Have you tried OneTab? It's a browser extension that helps you easily store tabs that you don't currently need open. You can get back to them in a click.

    1. 1

      Do you use it?

      1. 1

        Yes I do. Pretty helpful. Though now I have 100+ tabs saved!

        1. 1

          I use OneTab too and it's a much needed tool for me

  10. 1

    Hey @Yarduza! I know your pain, that picture actually gave me anxiety haha.

    I'm building https://www.partizion.io/ because of this exact problem.

    Like you, I like to develop apps, design things, write, read, and more in the browser. This eventually results in many windows with wayyy too many tabs. Then you're scared of closing them because they basically represent the work you need to do + what you're currently working on.

    Partizion is still in its early stages (and I have big plans for more productivity features) but right now you can create workspaces (To separate what you work on ex. Work, personal, side project 1, daily habit, etc.) and collections within workspaces. Collections are groups of tabs that you can open in one click.

    Let your soul and brain rest - focus on the task at hand - try out Partizion and let me know what you think. I'm open to all suggestions + feedback!

    1. 1

      Hey @Matthewbf, Thanks for the tip. Is Partizion cross-browsers? For my use case I need something that works with both Safari and Chrome.

      1. 1

        @Yarduza right now its just for Chrome (Safari does not support web extensions) but I plan on porting it over to other browsers as well.

        In fact, Safari just announced that they will be supporting web extensions in the near future, and therefore I'll be able to make Partizion available for Safari. Hope this helps!

  11. 1

    Yup, once a week I try my best to go through them, close them down. Bookmark (Pinboard.in, a bit old school) them or log them into my Notion space if it is relevant.

    1. 1

      This! I saw it a while ago and remembered it looked like a very good solution although it seems like it comes from the stone age, and I didn't find it when I searched this time, and then you came recommending this very thing! Thanks.

      1. 1

        It does exactly what it needs to do, and I paid a one off fee in the early days, so it's essentially free now.

        It's super cool for discovery too, if you want to find excuses to open more tabs :)

        1. 1

          More tabs?! oh no