The one thing common with all bad habits is the fact that they are resilient. You give them the tiniest opening, and they will creep their way back into your lives faster than you can realize something just went horribly horribly wrong.
The last year or so have been rough. Went through some health issues, had to take a long sabbatical off of practically everything, and in this time, things went awry. One day, I am just mindlessly doing something on my computer, and I notice an endless number of tabs open on my Chrome.
Oh no, it is back!
That was the first thought in my head.
I had a really bad habit of having countless tabs open — things that I would find interesting and wanted to get back to. Needless to say, that did not happen most of the times. It had taken some work, and some strict discipline to rid me of that habit, and it had now crept back in my life.
WHY WAS I SO BOTHERED ABOUT IT?
The way I see it, a screen that looks like that represents your inability to focus more than anything else. And if you can’t focus, you won’t be productive. It was that simple.
So, if I needed to get out of the rut I had gotten myself into, I needed to get productive and to be that, I needed to regain my focus. So I started with the clear and simple objective of sticking to a screen that had no more than10 tabs at any point of time.
Even as I started writing this, I noticed the number of tabs I had open, and it was an exact ten. Good enough, isn't it? After all, I was sticking to the plan. But were even those 10 necessary was the question I asked myself. Took a break from writing and went through them. Two mins and one email response later, I am back to writing this with 4 open tabs. Yay!
A LONG TO-DO LIST IS WHERE ACTION-ITEMS GO TO DIE
And similarly an endless array of open tabs always leads to archiving them to Opentab — and that is where all those ‘interesting’ tabs go. Never to be opened again.
Just think about it. We all agree that making a list of things you need to do is a great habit. It helps you stay on task, be aware of all the things you need to do, and ensures that things don’t slip through the cracks.
The irony is, the longer your to-do list gets, the likelihood of items on it getting ignored increases exponentially.
Either your tasks will keep on getting delayed to an extent that you simply give up on getting to them, or they get delayed to the point where they have lost the relevance and value they once had.
So, keep your to-do list short, simple and powerful. And the tabs on my browser were in a way a to-do list only.
BUT, AS ENTREPRENEURS, THERE IS ALWAYS A LOT ON OUR PLATES
No one can deny the truth behind that statement, but there are a few things that are noteworthy here:
- It is better to solve one or two problems at a time rather than trying to solve 10 different things, and not getting any of them done.
- As more and more items keep on joining your “WIP” list, the pileup will get overwhelming and your chances of being able to solve even one of those challenges optimally will drastically reduce.
- Entrepreneurs are best known for their ability to work smarter than the rest, and one of the smartest things to do when facing astronomical odds is to pick your battles and keep on winning those — one by one. It gives a boost to your confidence and you will be pumped when you take on the next challenge.
So, what should I do, if I find myself in such a scenario? I should look at all that I seemingly have on my plate, and rid myself of everything that is not mission-critical. And then I need to repeat the process over and over again, till I am left with just a couple of things I absolutely must focus on. And that needs to be my starting point of the day, week and month.
SO WHAT’S THIS GOT TO DO WITH MY TABS?
Because it is all intertwined with each other. The reason I have multiple tabs open on my browser is the myriad of things that have been on my mind, and because of that, I hate to admit that I have not been able to do jackshit done.
So, starting now, let us change that. Starting with closing down on the Tier-2 and Tier-3 segment tabs cluttering up my browser.