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Feeling Scattered? How about Tabless Thursdays?

Posted September 4, 2014 by Lindsay Bosch in Life After Five
I get distracted.  I’ll be the first to admit it. This is an actual image of my computer screen today:Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.34.51 PM

I start my day with a clean slate, but as I manage two email addresses, work and personal Facebook feeds, Twitter, newsletters, and blogs, I end up jumping from topic to topic in the guise of multitasking. (I’m a classic perpetuator of the internet deep dive, I start with one thing and then accidentally read more and more.)  Its crucial for our work for us to be able to juggle a great deal of information while managing multiple projects and inquiries.  (At the same time, its crucial for our sanity to be able to take a break from all those things and read GoFugYourself.) These conflicting tasks add up to a distracting mass. My desktop it perpetually cluttered with multiple windows and hundreds of tabs as I make my way through my online day.

Enter the movement Tabless Thursdays:

Trying to do too many internet things at once makes it hard to get anything done at all. Tabless Thursday is a vacation from distraction.

The idea is just what it sounds like. One Browser Tab. All Day. In a recent viral video, Health Editor for The Atlantic, James Hamblin describes the detrimental effect of jumping from task to task on the internet. He share the National Academy of Sciences findings that “Heavy media multi-taskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli.”  Ever leave work kind of spent and feeling like you can’t concentrate?  Blame it on the the tabs.   Rather then multi-tasking, Hamblin pushes us to consider single-tasking.

Now I have tried Tabless Thursday.  I worked as hard as possible to keep only one window open at a time as I executed my work.  I’m going to admit that it was more like Tabless 9:00 AM to 11:30.  It was not easy.  We are wired by our online lives to be tuned in to multiple streams of information.  Though I was itching to click “Open in New Tab,” I (mostly) refrained and was pleased by how much I accomplished.  More importantly I did feel a little more focused, and less jittery by day’s end.  I certainly succeeded in using less tabs overall and was more mindful about my online engagement. Concentration is a crucial key to our success. In myself I see my ability to concentrate well as something I have to practice and protect.

For those who want to embrace the full tabless lifestyle there are a number of single tab browsers that keep you on track — including the OneTab extension for Chrome and TabZolo.  I’m not sure I’ll keep up with Tabless Thursday, myself, but I will try to cultivate it as a state of mind, taking the information I need, completing tasks as fully as possible and then moving on.

 “Tabs are a metaphor for life, right? And if you can just have one tab open and be doing it well, then you are fully present in the moment.” 


About the Author

Lindsay Bosch

Lindsay Bosch is an arts and nonprofit manager who has worked in cultural institutions for over decade including the American Library Association, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Film Festival. Lindsay is interested in the self-driven (and often self taught) trajectory of women’s careers in nonprofits and writes about issues related to leadership, branding and work culture. Lindsay holds a Bachelors degree in Film and Media from Northwestern Univ. and a Masters in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the coauthor of the art history textbook Icons of Beauty: Art, Culture and the Image of Women.