Beeminder Forum

Please help with tab panic - 3020 firefox tabs are making me go insane

You can actually get the Personal tier for free with a .edu email address. Otherwise it’s only $4/month for unlimited storage and no upload limit (for now).

But I still don’t know what to do. Do I:

  • Just go through all the tabs seriatim (possibly first putting them all, or maybe just the relevant ones, into bookmarks with TabsAside), and clip the ones I want to save, putting them in notebooks by project,

or

  • Save them all as html files and import them into a note-taking program, or use that script to get them there, then go through them and sort them there?
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Ok, honestly, if I were in your shoes, here’s how I’d do it:

Set up repositories

I’d want places to track the four following categories of items:

Purpose Options
Todo items Todoist, a physical notebook, an Evernote note, …
Project material Evernote stack (1 notebook / project), Google Drive folder (1 doc / project), …
General reference Gitbook notebook, Evernote stack, Google Drive folder, …
Read later queue Pocket, Evernote notebook, Google Drive doc, …

What you decide to use for each category matters significantly less than that you simply have a place for each, so I’d do my best not to overthink it at this stage.

Prepare for processing

Use that extension you said you had to copy all the URLs from your tabs into a single place, whether that’s Evernote, a Google doc, a Google Keep note, or something else, doesn’t really matter.

Create a Beeminder goal to ensure you make steady progress working through the backlog.
You might be able to automate the goal using URLMinder if you used a Google Doc for your backlog and made the URL public…

Process the items

For each item I’d ask:

Question Action
Does it represent a task? Create task(s) in todo system
Is it related to a specific project? Save it (or just the link) to project material
Do I otherwise want access to this in the future? Save it (or just the link) to general reference material
Is this just something I want to read? Save it (or just the link) to read/review queue

Once I’d done the appropriate actions for the item, I’d check off or delete that item from the list.

:rocket:

That’s how I’d personally tackle the project.

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Ich feel if you just do a full import you just push the problem along. If you work through them, you know where the information is and what’s important. Going serial also means you can actually group appropriate information, making it valuable instead of a dump you will once again dread

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Seconding mufflon. Make sure you’re not sorting your garage by taking things one at a time and then moving them across town to a storage unit that ends up being exactly like your garage only in a different place. :slight_smile:

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Damn you guys just summed up my life! :open_mouth: :scream_cat:

Seriously I’ve done that “garage move” thing many times with different kinds of things, like also with my todo list.

The analogy is helpful thank you!

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And wow!!! @narthur thank you for the detailed map!!! :heart_eyes:

I was thinking of, rather than copying the URLs to a different application, using the Firefox TabsAside addon to move them to bookmarks. The addon has its own sidebar which gives me a numbered list of all the tabs I’ve moved into bookmarks.

Any particular reason you suggested using a different application?

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Glad to help! :smiley:

My reasoning was along the lines of what @adamwolf expressed:

But it sounds like TabsAside would be just as good as using a different application, since it would also free you up to start handling your tabs in a new way. :smile: The only reason I can think of that you still might want to choose another application is to be able to automate minding your progress.

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[[replying to the now deleted comment: “if you really needed them, you would have processed them”]] Nah, it’s not a matter of “needing” them or not. There are plenty of things that you don’t need per se, but still make your life a lot better if you have them.

I also have a long backlog of books I want to read but haven’t yet read. That’s a good thing: it means that every time I finish a book I have a large menu of options to choose from for what book to read next, ones that I have already decided are worthwhile for me to read. To discard that backlog of books would be absurd: what harm does it do to me that I have pre-selected some options for what to read next? Yes, I don’t need to read any specific one of those books, but all in all I like to read books, and keeping track of “books I want to read” means that always have available a large selection of them.

Of course, as with any backlog, it’s a good idea to not let that backlog of books grow too far out of control. But that’s not too hard: I’ve got good tools, like Beeminder, that can help me manage it.

Everything I just said about books also applies to web pages. All the more so, because a book will often get read over days or weeks, whereas a web page is generally short enough to be read in a single sitting.

So yes: I have a backlog of books, and separately a backlog of tabs (that is, web pages.) Both serve a similar purpose, and to discard either one of them would be a loss to me.

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Seems to me that that’s what bookmarks are for though. There is no need to use open tabs for this.

This may be excessive but it works for me, and could help someone (once the number of open tabs has been reduced sufficiently). My Firefox is configured to not store my session. When I close it all tabs are gone, unless it is bookmarked.

If there is something I really want to revisit later I will bookmark it, but I have noticed that very few things are actually worth the extra friction of bookmarking it.

My suggestion would be to go through each tab one at a time. For each you have two options: to bookmark it, or to close it. Repeat until you reach 0 open tabs.

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I personally find that tabs are a lot better at this, with much lower friction and a better interface. That might be largely because I use the Tree Style Tabs extension, which really is an amazing browser extension. Its variation on the tab interface is so incredibly powerful and easy to use that it’s hard to imagine using anything else.

But bookmarks, tabs, whatever. Potato, potato. There isn’t a substantial difference: either way, the backlog of pages still exists, and you manage and read from it through whatever interface you chose to use. The specific interface chosen, tabs or bookmarks or anything else, isn’t at all the important or interesting part: it’s all in service of making the list of webpages you choose to keep around be accessible. Choose whichever is your favorite. If the original post in this thread had been @zedmango writing about bookmark panic over his 3020 Firefox bookmarks that were making him go insane, all the relevant advice in this thread would have been substantially the same.

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I disagree, because:

The flip side of that is that with much lower friction and a better interface, they’re also right there, in your face, creating more distraction and anxiety. Exactly because of that lower friction.

I already have thousands of URLs in various documents, bookmarks, etc., which I need to go through at some point, and those aren’t anywhere near as much of a concern.

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@zedmango just wait until your browser‘s session management crashes and you lose all your tabs :wink:

I do actually want to read these web pages. Not that it would be a disaster if I couldn’t, but there is a reason I keep them around, and that is for the sake of actually reading them.

So I actually want low friction. If the friction was higher, I’d end up reading less of them, and that would be moderately sad.

But if it’s causing you panic, sure, it could make sense to do that. Part of the reason I don’t panic is that I know that I have things under control (with Beeminder), and I know that I eventually will get to most of them at some point or another.

And that is why you back up your browser tabs, the same way you backup every other piece of information you don’t want to lose. I use Tarsnap for my computer backups, but whatever tool or service you use I definitely recommend including your browser profile in it.

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I assume my browser tabs are backed up. But I know I wouldn’t bother to restore them out of a backup in case I lost them. Even though TimeMachine makes this very very easy.
Most of them I can research again rather quickly. Some of them won’t even be applicable anymore by the time I would get to actually read through them. Some I would read and then couple minutes later forget about again.
Sometimes, yes, there is a few tabs that took some effort to get to. Yes. But so far Safari has been good to me and I don’t remember when I last lost one of those.

Yes, in practice browsers usually don’t crash and eat your tabs. It’s nice to have backups anyway, both for piece of mind and to make it easy when you switch to a new computer.

It is true that many tabs aren’t that interesting or worthwhile when you actually get to them. Sure, so you close it and move on to the next one. That you’ve got something in your backlog to look at should never be treated as a commitment.

My Beeminder goal whose graphs I shared above is very intentionally a whittle-down goal measuring the number of open tabs I have. For each tab, it doesn’t matter if I read it deeply or realize that it’s not worth reading and close it, or anything in between.

This works really quite well: I get to read some really interesting things that would otherwise have fallen by the wayside, and I never have force myself to read things I don’t want to.

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Notion is good, but bloated. I’ve been using Roam since last year and loving it. I’m sure people here will dig it.

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Can you give me more info on Roam? I can’t tell much from that website. Is it only for macs?

Roam’s a web app. It’s pretty new, but there’s a lot to like about it. It’s kinda outliney, kinda “web of knowledge”-y.

@adamwolf @caffo

Anyone know if it has a web clipper?

not yet. its pretty beta-ish