How many tabs are open in your brain?

How many tabs are open in your brain?

Let’s start with a quick example.  You open up your email first thing in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee, we see a response from a college asking if you had read this new fascinating article, of course you automatically click the link and now we have open two tabs.  You glance over the article to find its completely relevant to what your friend was talking to you about yesterday, and you open a new tab in order to send it to her.  When you open your messenger to send it to her, you find 5 new unread messages.  Now we have four open tabs and according to Tristan Harris, it will take the average person 20 minutes to eventually return to the main focus of their task.

If we were to look at your computer screen right now, approximately how many tabs would be opened? Lately, this has been a repetitive question I ask the audience at my lectures.  The average response was around 10 tabs, although there were always a few people who raised their hands to having more than 20 tabs open at time on their computer.  Two or three people raised their hand that they work with 30 -40 tabs at a time spread across two screens.   I ask the question, what/if any is the effects of having multiple tables open affecting us and our efficiency and attention.

According to Cognitive research, the answer is yes.  Multiple tabs has proved to have the potential to abuse our ability to effectively hold attention on one task.

When it comes to Tech Control, we don’t need research to prove this theory, it’s written out in front of us.  When we want to be as productive as possible, we must limit our temptations.  By having multiple tabs open, the temptation to jump from task to task is effortless and impossible to ignore.  I call this the ‘Tab Culture’.  The idea of tabs reflects our daily lives, and the eagerness and accessibility to juggle many things at a time, which brings us to ask ourselves what is the right healthy average number? Until we reach these conclusions, I advise you to minimize the amount of tabs used at a time and most importantly to remove social media tabs which hold the highest distraction points for all of us.

According to Tristan Harris, it will take us 20 minutes to return our task.  This is extremely important to outline, as we only see the positive efficiency of “multi-tasking”, while instead we are harming our ability to monotask.  Throughout research we can draw the conclusions that without the ability to monotask we are harming our very ability to effectively work, study and therefore harming our grades, and work results.

Overall, the idea of Tech Control for me is to minimize the Tab Culture on the computer, and as well in our daily lives.  Try to limit the amount of open tabs we work with on a daily basis and when you are in the middle of a conversation with a friend, and something you forgot to do in the morning pops into your head, write it down on a piece of paper or even on your hand in order to hold the focus with your friend and to remember to get to this task once you have finished.


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