So I have a lot of tabs open on firefox now. Three thousand and twenty, to be precise. And they keep coming in and I just start panicking and don’t know how to deal with them. (I use Tree Style Tabs to facilitate viewing them.)
I started trying to get them off my phone by syncing my phone firefox with the computer and opening the phone tabs on my computer. So I keep growing my collection by a few hundred every few days.
Help! They’re just breeding so fast and overwhelming me. I feel so out of control! They are like hydras because each one has other links that must be clicked, so each time I go to one to process and get rid of it, more links end up getting opened.
How do I fight them off?
My ideal would be some kind of program that does the following:
Takes all tabs and places them in a queue.
Takes over my whole screen blocking everything else out.
Presents the tabs to me one at a time but does NOT allow me to open any new links! That “feature” would be disabled.
I could then process each one GTD-style.
I am so behind and so ADD and depressed and I can’t deal with life! Argh!
Many pertain to current projects and contain information that must be stored in some way. Others are news articles I opened up and wanted to read at the time but probably don’t need to anymore. Still others are forum comments I want to respond to.
Unfortunately, guys, I’m actually telling the truth when I say this is actually stuff that I need to process and deal with and can’t just disregard. It’s not particularly helpful to tell me I’m wrong about this.
OneTab is for Chrome, but as far as I know it just makes a list of the tabs, right? There are similar extensions for firefox - one which I already have installed just creates a text list of URLs to copypaste somewhere. The problem is processing them once I get them in a list.
Could you use CSS to make links unclickable? There’s a Firefox/Chrome extension called Stylish that allows you to easily add style sheet functionality to your browser, so a bit of fiddling with that might yield at least part of the answer for you.
Important tabs will re-appear if it is actually relevant.
If you’re growing your tab collection by a hundred a day, there is an underlying problem you have to tackle.
I’d kill it with fire. People will be fine without your comment on the forum, or it’ll reappear. Articles will reappear some day. The project stuff might be the most important. But is it really worth it?
If you say it is, there is no automated way. You sit down and work through every single tab and file it to your new system.
New system? Well…
Articles to read? Pocket App or something like readitlater if that still exists.
Project work? Evernote or Notion, which have web clippers and store information for contexts.
Forum? To-do list.
Either way, this or a similar system should be used from now on. If a tab is not worth it to put in any of these systems… Why are you keeping it?
Your tabs cannot be your to-do list, because obviously your tablist is writing checks that your brain can’t cash in. So stop using it in that way and create a system that will actually accommodate information flow to places where you can adequately process them.
I want to get a little meta here. @zedmango I think you’ve done a really great job with this post. You’ve taken something that’s probably a big anxiety ball, identified it, found some people to ask about it, and wrote a really clear and straightforward post.
(Quick meta: Questioning assumptions can be helpful but it’s not being done very well here! Huge kudos to @zedmango for patiently steering us back to the question at hand…)
I think this is a super legit question and I think @adamwolf touched on the right solution: isolate that backlog and make sure that you can keep tabs from further accumulating starting now. This is the thesis of my recent blog post on redqueening.
Then the next question is how to set up a Beeminder goal to steadily whittle that backlog down. Eager to hear more thoughts on that from people!
I really want to say this is my absolutely biggest pet peeve when it comes to asking for help online. It gets seriously frustrating. After asking once if the problem, as stated, really is a problem, please stop. If I was @zedmango here I would have completely just gave up on trying to get a useful
@zedmango, have you tried a whittle down goal? What if you give yourself the goal of reducing the number of tabs by some small number every day? If you have to open links, so be it, you’ll have to do extra work to get to a lower number. Always keep in mind that’s your goal; maybe find tabs with the least amount of links to click; anything to meet the small decrease from whittle down.