Multi-tab syndrome

Yet another perspective on multitasking

I am writing this article on a laptop that I have not given the freedom of rest for the last 10 days. I have given it several sleep sessions and open it up for quick use when needed. Well, is that bad for my laptop? You might have very well guessed that wrong: No!

I was going to write a yes but on doing some digging I discovered that our computer actually works the same when hibernated as it would have done if shut down — except that the former saves all works in progress. In fact, you could take our your battery, dust it a bit and put it back to find your files open and in the same state. How is that possible? you might ask. Apparently while hibernating, all states are stored in memory and system goes to a state similar to shut down. It is slower to resume when compared to sleep but is useful if you are like me — using your computer almost everyday.

Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

But that defeats the purpose of this article doesn’t it? Let us assume it is undesirable to leave your laptop on for extended durations. In that case, I am probably not doing a good dead by putting my laptop to perpetual sleep cycles.

Why am I doing this? Simple — I have too many open tabs that I do not wish to close. It is spontaneous curiosity of exploration that caused it but immediately I get terrified attempting to tackle all the tabs. As each icon gets tinier and tinier as more try to fit in, you stop to see the titles and all your mouse finds are the tempting close icons while hovering over it.

So what do I do? Procrastinate. Let me get to that later. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, my laptop does not get to take a break (not true technically) due to bad habit.

Not only that, after a few days I lose my interest in reading those tabs but it feels wrong to close it after keeping it on for so long — it is the way how I feel when I go for marketing and potential sponsors keep me waiting. With every delay I hope it meant money but eventually it ended at cold — hearted rejections.

Thankfully the tabs do not have such emotions, but still why am I avoiding the real question — that if I really wanted to get it done with the tabs, why am I not doing so?

It is for the same reason that my mailbox 99+ unread mails.

The same reason why my Watch Later playlist on YouTube has hit 200+ over the last two years.

The same reason why I have not read the bookmarks I have on Quora and medium

The very same reason why I have 50+ websites I wish to dive in.

It is because the size is daunting to bother starting. There are soooooooo many things to do in life and it is easier to follow a priority list manner of task execution where important or short tasks are easier to attend to rather than the long and rather un-pressurizing tabs on the browser. We find it daunting to get started and so put it off to an imaginary tomorrow.

But everytime I procrastinate, another system suffers. In most of the examples stated above, the system saves more states. My laptops lack of rest made me think about this problem and write further on this article.

So what might be the possible solution? There are two ways to approach this problem in my opinion:

  1. Try to solve the root problem — your mindset. Understand that a tiny step is one of the many taken for a long journey. Dealing one by one rather than dreading the many is the key.
  2. Modify your environment — create pressure. Having a driver to get work done helps as well. Maybe you can set deadlines with punishments that matter that urge you to get to it. It is not easy to trick your brain into working when you are designing the system so maybe you should take a friends help in developing such a system.

In my case, I decided that it is alright to let go of these as something better will eventually come. I decided to grade my great finds as junk and send it away back in the sea of internet information pool.

There are several other apps and hacks you can use that I would rightfully attribute to for you to refer and gain from. I finally shall shut down my laptop (though unnecessary as mentioned above) and prepare myself to tackle the other long to do lists.



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