The psychology behind all those open tabs
We are wired to seek out new and interesting things
Have you ever found yourself with so many open browser tabs that you can't even remember what you were doing in the first place? You're not alone. Most of us fall victim to the endless cycle of opening tabs without closing old ones.
Why this matters: Having a lot of tabs open not only uses more of your computer’s memory, it slows down your workflow and hinders productivity.
The psychology behind too many open tabs:
Having too many open browser tabs can be a manifestation of our innate desire for novelty and exploration. The internet provides us with an endless supply of information, and we are wired to seek out new and interesting things. Each new tab represents a potential opportunity to learn something new or discover an exciting piece of information.
This behavior can also be a result of our struggle with decision-making. Closing a tab means making a choice to prioritize one piece of information over another. This can be challenging for those of us who have a fear of missing out or a tendency towards perfectionism. We want to keep all of our options open, just in case we need to refer back to something later.
But having too many open browser tabs can contribute to feelings of overwhelm and distractibility. Our brains can only handle so much information at once, and having too many tabs open can make it difficult to focus on any one task.
So, what can we do to break the cycle of too many open browser tabs? One strategy is to practice mindfulness and intentionality when browsing the internet.
Before opening a new tab, ask yourself if it's truly necessary or if you can find the information you need in an existing tab.
Set a limit for the number of tabs you allow yourself to have open at once, and make a habit of regularly closing tabs that are no longer relevant.
I recommend fewer than five tabs, but definitely keep it below 10 at any time.
You can also use Chrome or Safari’s built-in reading list to keep track of pages you’d like to come back to at a later time. This will give you the freedom to close the tab.
The psychology behind too many open browser tabs is a complex interplay of our desire for novelty, fear of missing out (FOMO 💁♂️), and struggle with decision-making.
Be smart: By practicing mindfulness and intentional browsing habits, we can break the cycle of overwhelm and increase our productivity and focus.
“The best solution to tab addiction is probably to tame it with tab discipline — to make a habit of closing tabs and find a better way to keep track of research,” notes Vox writer David Roberts.