The Slow Trudge to High Productivity
The Five Tab Limit The name is self-explanatory, but I’ll expand on the theory anyway. I’m talking about a maximum limit of five tabs at a time on your browser. Now, now — the rules say that opening another browser window is considered cheating, so don’t even think about it. The Five Tab Limit is a method I made up to deal with my dangerous Internet browsing habits. Once implemented, it yielded results almost immediately. Yes, it’s frustrating in the beginning. But it’s extremely pleasing to find yourself graduate from an embarassing number of tabs open (alright, it’s 16) to only three.
Houston, We Have a Problem Tell you how it all started. One day, I caught myself absolutely torn between watching a new episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and a New York Times article recommended by a trusted source from my work circle. As my fingers tapped alternately between tabs 10 and 11 thrice and my eyes stared at the screen a second too long, I knew there was a serious problem. And I needed to address it immediately, for the sake of my already low productivity levels.
The Black Hole The Right-Click-New-Tab (Ctrl+T) together with the ‘Open link in new tab’ option is where it all began, and never seemed to end. Honestly, I applaud the person who came up with this feature for Google Chrome. It saved so much time but I found myself misusing it very often. For many for us today, right-clicking comes naturally to our fingers, as we plough through the web to find information that satisfies our hungry minds and throws up solutions to our gazillion problems. Problems, mini-problems, random curiosities, Internet addictions… All of it, really.
The Age of The Multitasker Here’s the thing, though. It isn't just our browsers that have too many tabs open. It’s also our minds. We have glorified multitasking, a method that has become hygiene in today’s world where we all lead parallel lives. We juggle office with side projects, new friends with old friends, family time with weekend working, and so on. If we want to stay afloat, we need to multitask, right? But what happens when we multitask so much that we cannot fully give ourselves to one task, which is unfair because it probably deserves undivided attention?
RIP Relationships Ah, you see, the injustice doesn't stop at the way we get stuff done. Our lack of complete presence — also pointed out as, “body here, mind somewhere else” — is a common complaint with the people in our lives, too. We have couples going on dates, where he is casually scrolling through his Facebook Newsfeed on his phone while she is checking her own to see if the last photo she Instagrammed got any hearts. True story, folks. Later that night, these two would be using those very gadgets to text each other until one accidentally falls asleep, only to get startled when those “U there?” notifications get their chest vibrating. Maybe so, maybe not, but you see the irony here? Along with our work, relationships quickly take the hit because quality time loses out on, well, quality.
The Art of Self-Control So I now have The Five Tab Limit to control my potentially harmful computer browsing habits. It hasn’t been easy, by the way. I’ve made martyrs out of many great web pages to get there. The computer is one thing, but what of my phone? The smartphone itself is a world of its own, letting me toggle apps endlessly so that I can listen to music, read an article, reply to an email, spontaneously capture something on camera and much more, all in the same session. And then, what of my brain? Maybe I need to devise a system for that, too. In fact, looks like it’s finally time for me to give meditation a go.
[Opens new tab and begins typing search keywords]
[Curses and closes tab 6 promptly]