In one her blogs, Lauren Moon summarizes the scientific evidence that multitasking negatively affects the brain. She points to a study by the University of Sussex that shows multitasking actually reduces the gray matter in our brains- making us less focused and less able to retain information.
For those of us who do most of our jobs on a pc- multitasking between tabs is common practice. Fittingly called multi-tabbing. Multi-tabbing is a word used for multitasking between tabs in browsers yet no less harmful to our brains.
That’s not all.
The other problem with having too many tabs open is it slows down a pc. So not only are we retaining less information on each tab, tasks can take longer by having to wait for our machine to catch up with our hands.
In spite of all the information out there- developers, researchers and administrative professionals will argue it’s nearly impossible to do their jobs one tab at a time. Much of this is due to work tools that aren’t integrated, workflows that span across multiple tools and complex intranets- all of which are mostly in the cloud.
For the Ostriches.
Multi-tabbing is a habit we should all get away from, nevertheless, most of us won’t. In fact, some of us still firmly believe we are more productive when we multitask. For those of us tab hoarders and ostriches, there’s some things we can do to manage the fallout of multi-tabbing.
- Chunking Workload Breakdown the workload into larger chunks like projects or department specific tasks. Work on those chunks one at a time. This will help you stay focused on one broader subject and assist in retaining some of the information.
- Reduce Distractions While you may insist on having 50 tabs open in your browser, reduce outside distractions. Turn off email notifications, turn your phone on silent, close the office door, clear your desk of paperwork and reports.
- X Out Once in awhile, just x out of everything and go back in. Most of the time you’ll find you only need a couple of those tabs to do the task at hand. Sometimes we keep tabs open out of laziness or procrastination.
- Use bookmarks and other tools Our team at Workbea uses One Tab. This is a FREE Google Chrome extension that converts all tabs in the browser into a list. Similar to bookmarks, but better. The sessions can be labeled and categorized for easy call up.Once you parse up a set of tabs, you can call them up one at a time or restore the whole session. One of our developers said using One Tab “Sometimes it’s like the “reset” button for the brain.”
There are a few other technology tools out there to help minimize the effect of this behavior and Lauren’s blog list some. Below is the link on Trello.
- OneTab is available for free on the Google Apps Marketplace.
- Workbea provides custom, mobile company intranets powered by Google Apps.
- Here is Lauren’s blog on Trello.