Take a break from distraction when working online. Trying to do too many things at once makes it hard to get anything done at all. A single-minded focus enables you to produce better work in less time, with more retention, and less stress. “Go Tabless.” 

James’ Story

man-1633667_960_720One Wednesday evening James, the creator of Tabless Thursdays, sat down to finish a rough draft of his research project on meerkats. He went online, opened Google Docs, and started. After checking what he had, James decided it would be a good idea to do more research. A quick search revealed many sites he hadn’t thought of earlier. Scanning through a few of the articles, he learned some intriguing information. “Are the facts true?” he wondered. He wandered further online to check. Then he stumbled on those useful videos, videos which provided a link to the three-toed sloth. “Hmm, interesting.”

Continuous click-streaming and meandering found James upset to discover that meerkats are sometimes traded inhumanely. He immediately alerted and texted his friends about the plight of the kats. Next, he thought he might find enough friends to start a ‘Save-the-Meerkat’ group. Messages and texts came flying back at him (on his mobile as well). Three hours later, with 32 opened tabs, and his mobile lit up like Times Square, James checked the time. Yikes! He was no closer to finishing than when he started. The project had not been completed, he couldn’t remember most of the information, and he was tired, hungry, and stressed. 

The next morning—Thursday—and still frustrated with his lack of progress the previous night, James tried to think about the last time he did only one thing, while not trying to do something else. He couldn’t remember such a time. And when he was online, doing one thing was definitely rare. Something needed to change. Then James came up with the brilliant idea to narrow his focus when working online. He decided to Go Tabless, or as he called it Tabless Thursday. He had nothing to lose.

Go Tabless

Open a tab and use only that single tab. If you want to click away, ask yourself if you want to finish what you’re doing or if you want to do something else. Before opening a new tab, close the one you have open. There, it’s done. It’s closed. It’s behind you. When you want to focus on your online work, use the Internet in a more focused way.

tabs3Single-Tasking is the New Multitasking

Going Tabless is definitely a simple focus strategy that produces positive results:

  1. We gather the appropriate information more quickly and efficiently.
  2. Our brain stores the information in the correct compartment for better future retention and recall.
  3. We are less exhausted at the end of the process.

So Go Tabless, and while you’re at it, turn off the cell phone too!

Adapted from Single Tasking is the New Multitasking by James Hamblin



Linda Jones is a teacher in The Arts department at Virtual High School. She enjoys teaching music online and says that the technology available today is what makes learning and teaching music online so effective. Learn more about Ms. Jones here.

  • Stephen Armitage

    Irony: I opened this article in a new tab 🙂

  • Stephen Armitage

    Thanks for sharing Linda! I notice a significant decrease in my productivity when I leave my email open in a tab.