Today’s Contributor: Carlos Lopez
Hello. I am Carlos Lopez and I am a Spanish teacher at LBJ Early College High School. When I am not opening browser tabs or working hard for the AISD, you can usually find me trying to sneak in Austin, TX adventures and fun. I am pretty much that Austin transplant archetype so guessing my hobbies and interests is actually pretty easy. Happy Tabbing!
A fellow teacher once told me, “Show me how many tabs someone has open and I can tell you how dark their soul is.” I quickly opened my 45th tab and googled “don’t judge me quotes”.
Kidding aside, regardless of your open tab anxiety threshold, working in the cloud makes it impossible to work without a couple tabs open at all times. With this blog post I want to help anyone who wants to attempt to wrangle in their tab usage with hopes of adding more ‘lesson planning’ and ‘PLC’ time to their day and workflow (kidding, not kidding?).
Firstly, to tame the beasts, you have to know the beasts. We all leave tabs open for different reasons. Personally, I litter the top shelf of my browser with endless ‘to do tabs’. And just like my to-do-lists, these ‘to-do-tabs’ tabs never, ever get revisited and definitely never become ‘done-tabs’. I am past therapy, hypnosis or getting tab shamed. Instead of playing whack-a-mole with my tabs, I am now focusing my energy on organizing my tab madness. In 5 Easy Steps you can set yourselves up for tab tango mastery as well.
Before you do anything— Download The Great Suspender extension. I could have made this Step 1 but I think it is such a Chrome game changer that everyone should set it up regardless of how they feel about tab organization. Aside from being annoying, tabs also drain your computer’s resources. That is where tab hating originated. Forget what tabs say about about you as a person. The true problem is that they can be computer memory hogs. Opening up too many tabs can freeze or lock up your computer. The Great Suspender is helpful because it ‘suspends’ all open tabs when they are left idle and frees up resources to prevent computer slow downs. If you take at least one thing from this blog post, let it be The Great Suspender.
UPDATE (2-2021): The Great Suspender was sold and is now showing up on lists as extensions containing malware. If you have the extension install, please remove it as soon as possible.
THE GREAT SUSPENDER
Step 1: CREATE SEPARATE CHROME PROFILES ON SEPARATE BROWSERS.
Utilizing Chrome’s profile manager it is pretty simple to create multiple browser profiles. Click here to learn how to set them up. You should definitely start off with an AISD profile and a PERSONAL profile. After both are set up, you essentially created 2 separate desktops. The next challenge is to make sure you only do schoolwork on your AISD profile browser and keep personal business and email on your PERSONAL profile browser. When you’re comfortable managing two profiles move on to adding PROJECT profiles to split PROJECT tabs from PERSONAL and AISD work tabs. It’s really handy that each individual profile manages its own sets of bookmarks, passwords, and internet history as well. Master this and closing that 1 random lost tab playing that YouTube video from 2 weeks ago should be easy peasy.
Step 2: CHANGE PROFILE BROWSER THEMES
AISD PROFILE BROWSER
PERSONAL PROFILE BROWSER
PROJECT 1 PROFILE BROWSER
Changing each browser profile’s theme will help visually identify which profile you are working on. Click here to browse all the chrome themes. You should choose themes that are strikingly different from each other. This quick customization will totally help you keep your ‘classroom design’ and ‘home bathroom ideas’ separate and just a little bit more easilly accessible.
Pro Tip: Keep your AISD browser default Chrome grey and change your other profile themes to darker or brighter colors.
Step 3: LEARN KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS AND TOUCHPAD GESTURES
Improving your screen and desktop navigation skills using keyboard shortcuts and laptop touchpad gestures will remarkably help all your workflows. Mouse withdrawal will hurt in the beginning but it is so worth the pain when gestures and shortcuts become second nature. PUT. THAT. MOUSE. DOWN. Don’t get me wrong. Mice are amazing and so useful. But they are a crutch during the transition process. Plus, when the shortcuts are committed to memory you officially become part of the Mickey Roll Your Eyes at People Who Still Use Their Mouse Club. Click here to find your Windows machine’s desktop navigation shortcuts. Mac users, click here.
Pro tip: I would tell you to print the shortcuts out and tape them on your desk but what else will you use open tab #65 for?
STEP 4: USE A VISUAL TAB WORKSPACE
Choose a visual tab workspace that best suits you. There are lots of them out there. I have tried many and my choice is Toby. Mainly because it’s the prettiest, simplest and easiest to learn. I also appreciate that I can log each Chrome profile into its own Toby account and make tab groups that are specifically useful to the intended purpose of each individual browser. I also love that I can make teams and share tabs with colleagues or teammates. My personal favorite feature, however, is being able to open a group of frequently opened tabs with 1 click. Every morning I open AISD email, TEAMS, Breakfast Roster, and my fav ‘productivity’ websites with 1 click!
TOBY OPENING 8 TABS WITH ONE CLICK
STEP 5: TABS ARE FEATURES NOT BUGS
The only tab you should be worried about is your dinner or happy hour tab. Too many browser tabs are just a fact of life these days. Zero inbox and 1 tab people are a myth. I hear they live on NoGrammarMistakesEver Island. Do not let yourself be tab shamed. Tabs are not chains and you now have tools to freely close and open your tabs to your heart’s content. Tab away, dear fellow tabbers. Tab away!
Well there you have it. It may not be perfect, but it’s something. These unique profiles seem to be working pretty well for me at the moment. My tab struggle is still real and definitely day to day. I would love to hear how everyone else manages their browser tabs and anxieties. I would also love to hear how you deal with tab haters. Share bad tab puns even. We’re all in this together and we can get through it together. I think we could all appreciate a little help with our tabs.
If your tribal allegiance to another browser does not allow you to use Chrome, I am totally sorry. This blog post only helps Chrome users. I would still love to hear your experiences with your browser. Who knows, you may just be the one that finally gets me to defect from my Google Chrome overlords.