Feeling Scattered? How about Tabless Thursdays?
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.”