It is so hard for me to close my internet browser. In fact, Google’s Chrome web browser has been running on my desktop for over a week. It would have been open much longer, but while distracted, I accidentally pressed Command + Q, which closes the program, rather than Command + W, which closes the individual window. I quickly recovered with Restore Closed Tabs, but for a few moments, I feared the loss of my internet history!
So why is closing the browser such a challenge for an internet junkie such as myself? Simply because I feel like my online job is never finished. There is always an article I haven’t read, a post I haven’t written, and of course, a little fleck of inspiration that I haven’t yet utilized.
What makes it even harder, is I am officially a tab obsessed internet user. Just a simple Command + T and I’ve opened a whole new portal into the never-ending tunnel into the Net. When people share articles with links, I’m opening everything that piques my interest in a new tab. Click, click, click. I even keep different browser screens open in order to organize by topic: one for articles to read, one for recipes, one for inspiration I’m considering, and another for things I’m purchasing. It’s an illness, and when Jon sees all the tabs open on my browser, his eyes roll into the back of his head, overwhelmed with all the bandwidth I’m consuming just to keep the pages running.
With the accumulation of so many tabs, it’s normal for me to end the day without completely finishing my turn on the internet. It rolls over into the next day, and I pick up where I left off, adding more and more things to read, do, and study all over again. It’s an endless turnover of information that I’m never entirely done with, leaving me feeling a little bit more incomplete.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I struggle with decision making, finding myself overwhelmed by too many choices and too much information. Well, it’s as if my internet use is a mirror image of that. What good is having a list of recipes open if you can’t choose to make one? When am I ready to decide on a new bedside table lamp for the bedroom? And more importantly: when can I ever shut down my browser and give my brain a rest?
It’s not possible to accumulate everything I love in one browser window, it’s true, but why am I even trying? Months ago, I read an article about this guy taking time offline, and he put my frustration into words. Mainly, the internet has no edges. In the time before personal computers, you could pick up a newspaper or two, read them all in a few hours, and have all the information that was important to know that day. But now there is no end to the knowledge you can find online, and as humans, we yearn to complete things. So to combat this, we have to create our own information edges. That’s why I’ve slowly been paring down my tabs, reducing browser clutter, and trying my best not to let that lingering article hang over into the next day.
To combat this challenge, I’ve instilled a few rules for myself: do not open more than one article/blog at a time; if you don’t want to lose it (like a recipe), save it to Pinterest, or print it out; and, don’t take on too many projects at once. I’ve also opted to scribble notes in a cute pink journal in order to remember ideas, rather than keep a looming number of tabs in front of my face. With the paring down, my head is clearer and more focused. I’m able to read one thing at a time well, rather than many things poorly, and I’ve finally started to get a hold on all the tabs.
While I’m not quite at the point of closing my browser every day, I’m looking forward to the moment that I stow the internet away each night and open it up with a jaunty double click in the morning!
Guys, I wish I was joking, but while illustrating the image for this post, Google Chrome sent my computer into a crash spiral and I lost my work, having to redraw everything! Just another reason to close your browser regularly. Also, I tried to find that great article I reference, but after 40 minutes of searching, no luck! Do you use a lot of tabs when you browse the internet? Do you close them all, or do they stay open for a few days? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!