The work problem that plagues us all & some clever ways to fix it

The problem: Too many tabs Why it’s hurting you: “Dozens of open tabs signifies either procrastination on a truly epic scale or a chronic inability to focus on an immediate task at hand. Either way, it’s not the sign of someone working efficiently,” Angus Kidman writes on LifeHacker. Kidman goes so far as to say that you should never have more than nine browser tabs open at once. While that is up for debate, there’s no doubt that the teeny, crowded icons become less useful and more distracting as they pile up. If you refuse to believe that, because you think you defy science and are some sort of master multitasker, know this: Tabs are even making your device inefficient. “Open enough browser tabs and it doesn’t matter whether you’re running Chrome or Firefox or IE or Safari or Opera: your system is going to slow down and eventually your browser will crash altogether, quite possibly bringing your entire environment down with it,” writes Kidman. The solutions: The simplest thing you can do is to stay on one tab until you are finished with it and then close that tab. I don’t know, try it some time. Other, more realistic things you can do: Find an app or extension that will save the sites open in your tabs for later. This will declutter your browser and give you more time to spend on what needs to be completed in the present moment. Pocket and Readability are two free options that allow you to bookmark or archive a website so you can revisit it when you have the leisure time. Another solution? Get an extension that’ll help control your tab behaviour. There are several that will organise your tabs into neat packages, but the point here is to spend less time away from the one tab you need open. Nerdy-sounding tools like Window and Tab Limiter (for Firefox) and Controlled multi-tab browsing (for Chrome) will limit the number of tabs you can have open at a time. A new tab won’t open once you’ve maxed out. This might help you consider what’s important to have on your screen, and what’s not worth the procrastination.
The problem: Email, email, email
Why it’s hurting you: Oh, there’s so much wrong with how we use email. We spend 28 percent of our workweek dealing with email in some way, according to a 2012 report from the McKinsey Global Institute. Let’s say you work 260 days a year. That means you spend nearly 73 days monkeying with email. Lord. First things first, we need to readjust our expectations of how email should work. Office culture has trained us to expect an email response within a matter of hours – and sometimes minutes. That effectively means we’re supposed to be responding to emails all day, while also completing tasks unrelated to email. But, as we’ve discussed, each pause we make to complete a different task drains efficiency. You think you’re “working”, but interrupting yourself to do email business is just as bad for you as interrupting yourself to drool over s’mores recipes. The solutions: To start, you should vow to stop using your inbox as a task list.

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Sunday Magazine
Aaj Kal