Random Musing: On keeping tabs

I have 25 tabs open on my main Chrome window right now. It might not sound like much, but I am told very often when sending screenshots on my laptop that I have a lot of tabs. I don’t think it’s an exorbitant amount—I’ve had five windows open with forty-plus tabs each before—but I get it; 25 does look like a lot spread across the thin toolbar at the top of your screen.

Tabs are easy to open and hard to close. Each one is a little voice that screams for me to click. Once I open it and find something of interest, a voice tells me to save immediately, so I don’t forget. And then once I bookmark it or download a tab management Chrome extension and save the tab for future reference, soon I find myself with 680 saved tabs and no recollection of ever going back and needing a tab.

I have an extremely bad obsession with saving everything I see as to not let things fall through the cracks. I’m perpetually scared of closing a small (browser) window of opportunity, so for me closing a tab is a heavy, decisive act.

Calling myself a perfectionist is most definitely pretentious. I feel like calling someone a perfectionist implies that they will work hard to achieve nothing short of that. My brand of procrastinating perfectionism results in me avoiding all my responsibilities, duties, and assignments that I am even slightly afraid of doing incorrectly, besides simple busywork—basically, I don’t attempt anything hard and stay within my comfort zone. Now that I think about it, that’s not really perfectionism.

Tabs are a very direct application of that philosophy. My tabs are basically my to-do list. Sure, I avoid things because they require effort, but it’s much more that I avoid them out of fear I won’t do a good job. So the tabs pile up and up—technically sideways—until there are so many that I can’t click the little “x” on a tab unless I go to that page.

A question I ask myself a lot is how I managed to work myself into my current state of procrastination, as indicated by my tab management habits. I can clearly remember as a younger child opening Google search links one at a time, fully perusing the web page open, and then pressing the back button on the upper left and going through all the search options one by one. I don’t know where I departed from that and started to accumulate tabs.

Often I like to blame Ctrl-T for letting me open new tabs, though falling into procrastination is probably a consequence of adolescence; I don’t remember ever procrastinating as a child. Another possible reason is because for most of my childhood I owned a Dell Inspiron from the early 2000’s that ran Windows XP, and my dad would not let me upgrade it. I got a new, speedy laptop in middle school and quickly fell into the habit of opening a bunch of tabs.

But no more excuses. Today I’m going to go for a run, walk home, and take a nap. I’ll set the alarm for 30 minutes, but I’ll snooze it and wake up in an hour. Then I’ll snap open my laptop. And then, for the first time in months, I’ll concentrate and work, until I have one tab left.

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