So you have nine million browser tabs open on your computer. Some of them are for projects you’re in the middle of, other tabs are for articles you want to read, or information you need to grab to use later. I would bet some of your open tabs are active tabs – email, calendar, CRM – all of which are great to have open so you can easily check them. But is open tab practice really the best way to manage your information? What happens if your computer suddenly restarts? Windows users, you know what I am talking about! Or what if you accidentally close your browser? I’ve done that more often than I’d like and I bet you have too.
But how do you take care of all these open tabs? The first step is to figure out what you are using the open tabs for. Is this your version of a to-do list? A visual reminder of what you want to work on? Are you unsure where to put the information so you can reference it later? Do you just not have time to read those articles you’ve opened? There are better options for all of these issues!
Open browser tabs are not the way to manage a to-do list or to maintain a visual reminder of projects. If you don’t already have a to-do list app, I would encourage you to start using one. Yes, paper is an option, but if you are going digital I would look into Trello
. Both of these have web extensions. This means that when you are on a webpage that you’re using to remind you of a pending task, you can click the extension or button and have that webpage information sent directly to your to-do list.
No time to read the article or blog post you’ve found? Try Pocket
. Pocket is an online app that was specifically designed to capture information to be read later. You can even use Pocket when you are off line – perfect for catching up on those long flights or road trips! Both Pocket and Evernote have browser extensions that allow you to capture either the webpage you are viewing or just the article without the distractions.
Another option for managing your online information is to use the bookmarks option on your browser to capture the webpage you are interested in so you can go back and view it later. But just like with Evernote and Pocket, you run the risk of just cluttering up another area/app. Regardless of how you choose to manage your open tabs, keep in mind that sometimes it is easier to take 2 minutes to read an article now rather than putting it aside and revisiting it later.
So how does an organizer manage her open tabs? I usually just have my standard working tabs open – calendar, CRM, and email. When I find something on the web that I want to read later I use Evernote to ‘clip’ the information off the web. If I am reviewing a lot of information about a project I will save the pages to my bookmarks, but once the project is over I go through and either delete the links I don’t want or save the information to Evernote. There are a handful of web pages I keep in my bookmarks since I reference them frequently. Other than that, most of what is in my bookmarks is stuff I haven’t dealt with yet. Every week or two I will go into my bookmarks and clean them out, doing the same thing in Evernote.
There’s nothing wrong with having open tabs in your browser. It does become a problem when you can’t keep track of what you’re dealing with when, and instead of being helpful, the open tabs become distractions and delayed decisions. The first step? Figure out why those tabs are open, then you can start implementing a fix.
**Need help organizing your online information? Just let me know
and we’ll get together!