Too Many Tabs open? The Ultimate guide to taming your tab hoarding

April 28, 2024
what to do when you have too many tabs open

Learn how to manage your tabs like a Pro — Having too many tabs open slows us down (and our computers), but it’s hard to control. In this guide we dive into why we accumulate too many tabs and how to mitigate it. Ultimately, it’s a guide on how to be productive in the browser and have less tabs open.

Increasingly, we use our browser for everything we do online. We waste up to 60 minutes a day toggling between apps and tabs — that’s 32 days a year.

There is an asymmetry between how we use our browsers (tabbed browsing) and the complexity and scope of our online activities. We accumulate more and more tabs as more and more of our work and personal life moves to the browser, but we have no tools or strategies to organize our tabs. Eventually, we reach tab overload. We have so many tabs open from so many different disciplines, tasks, sessions, and whims that its impossible to keep track of anything. We feel stressed and disorganized and worst of all, we’re too afraid to close tabs because they’re our reminders and bookmarks.

We’ll show you how you can manage your tabs like a pro, get your work done and still get to all the things you want to do; that includes personal shopping, reading lists, personal projects, and more.

Why we have too many tabs open

We’re all guilty — we have too many tabs open. That doesn’t mean we’re to blame, first we shape our tools and then our tools shape us. Modern browsers were designed to browse the web, and it’s exactly what we’re doing. If we want to be more organized and have less tabs open, we have to use methodologies and tools that are designed to help us with this.

So how do we all end up with 100s of tabs open in multiple windows, way too many tabs to ever manage, read through, reference, or remember?

We browse the web. When a friend or colleague sends us a link we open it. When we’re on reddit, twitter, or any news sites we open links. When we search google we click on multiple websites. When we’re researching we open many links to read and reference. When we’re working on a project we need multiple tabs open for project tracking, communication/messaging, project apps, and doing the actual work. You get the point: we’re inclined at every step to open more and more tabs.

The problem is right around 10 tabs we start to slow down and have issues managing our work. We have constant feelings of stress caused by the distraction and clutter of having too many tabs open, harming our productivity.

The reasons we keep too many tabs open

We tend to hoard tabs and keep them open for one of three main reasons

1. Reminders — We’re keeping the tab open to remind us to do something

ex. a reminder to read something, a reminder to buy something, or a reminder to do something. As long as the tab sits there we know we can come back to it later and complete the thing.

2. Fear of losing the tab — We’re keeping the tab open because we might want to reference it later and we’re afraid that we won’t be able to find the tab again if we close it.

3. Uncertainty — We’re uncertain if we need the tab.

“Should I close this tab?” “Should I keep it open?” “Should I just ignore it so I don’t have to think about it?”

Once you understand why you keep tabs open, keeping less tabs open and getting organized becomes much easier.

How to keep less tabs open

Keeping less tabs open is a matter of addressing the three main causes of too many tabs: Keeping tabs open as reminders, fear of losing tabs, and uncertainty.

Reminders: If you keep tabs open as reminders to do something — buy more batteries, read a blog, send a message, or complete a task — you need to learn how to save these tabs somewhere you can find them again and use other forms of reminding.

→ Fix to hoarding “reminder” tabs: Save or bookmark your reminder tabs into a safe place like a tab manager or cloud storage.

We recommend Partizion’s Tab Collections. They’re flexible folders/groups of tabs that let you organize your work in the browser.

Fear of losing tabs: If you’re afraid that you’ll never be able to find a tab again if you close it, the simplest solution is a session manager extension. Session manager extensions save your tabs for you so that you don’t have to worry about losing them.

→ Fix to hoarding tabs we’re afraid of losing: Use a session manager extension.  They are life savers (and tab savers)! Its such a no brainer to install a session manager extension; they save your tabs and sessions for you so that you don’t have to worry about losing tabs. Just restore any tab or session from your session manager extension.

Uncertainty: If you’re uncertain whether or not you need to have a certain tab or set of tabs open, you need to adopt a methodology for triaging and organizing tabs. See below for some helpful tab management methodologies.

→ Fix to hoarding tabs you’re uncertain what to do with: Use a simple organization or tab management methodology like Separate Windows methodology, The Project/Reference/Archive methodology,  Session methodology, or Tab Search methodology.

Methods for keeping Less tabs open

Using a simple method or strategy to keep less tabs open is an effective way to get more organized in the browser. Tame your tabs and get more work done!

The Separate Window Methodology

A great way to organize your tabs is with Windows. Put all related tabs in a single window, move tabs that don’t belong to their own window, and close windows that don’t need to be open right now.

This sounds scary and complicated but it really isn’t. Partizion’s sessions manager backs up all your sessions (windows) to the cloud so you never have to worry about losing tabs. Simply drag tabs to a new window that don’t belong in the current window. From here you can flip back and forth between windows as needed or just close all the other windows that you don’t need open right now.

When you split up your work into windows, you can restore the sessions or save them as a Tab Collection in Partizion. If you frequently open that set of tabs, you’re just one click away from restoring (reopening) that set of tabs to jump back into your work, project, or personal browsing session.

The Separate Window Methodology — Organizing Tabs into related windows can help you stay productive in the browser
The Separate Window Methodology — Organizing Tabs into related windows can help you stay productive in the browser

The Session Methodology

Save and close. Save and close. Save and close. Saving and closing tabs is your new best friend.

Partizion’s session manager extension automatically creates, saves, and syncs your sessions to the cloud so you can restore them at anytime.

How to keep less tabs open: Use Partizion Session Manager
Partizion saves sessions so you don't have to — you can always rely on Partizion to restore any session or tab

Restoring tabs is as easy as clicking open in your session manager. Try Partizion's chrome session manager extension to start backing up your tabs and sessions today.

The Project, Reference, Archive methodology

You can think of every tab as either

A Project tab — belongs with a group of tabs that represents a task, project, or task

A Reference tab — an individual tab that serves as a reminder to do something later: something you’d like to read later, access later, reference, or share later

An Archive tab — a piece of information, a website, blog, recipe, or anything else that you’d just like to be able to find later. Something like a library item.

With this you can get rid of all uncertainty about whether a tab needs to be open or not. Simply follow the simple logic to decide what to do with a tab:

Is the tab part of a task or project?

Is this tab helpful, related, or relevant to a project? For example, if you’re working on a website redesign put all the tabs related to that project in a single tab collection.

IF yes: Save the tab to your project tab collection.

IF not:

Is the tab something you want to remind yourself of?

For example, does it belong on your reading list? Is it an online form that you have to submit? Does the tab represent a single todo item that you have to do?

IF yes: Save the tab to the relevant todo collection / list.

IF not:

Is it something you want in your “Digital Library”? — aka something you’d like to be able to find or reference later.

IF yes: Archive the tab (save and close it)

IF not: please, close the dang tab.

Here’s a helpful visualization:

Does this tab need to be open? A helpful visualization of the Project/Reference/Archive Tab Management Methodology
Does this tab need to be open? Visualizing the Project/Reference/Archive Tab Management Methodology

If you follow this tab organizing methodology, you’ll eventually have Tab Collections for every area of your life and work. You’ll be able to easily and quickly jump between groups of tabs and focus on the thing you need to do at that moment.

Tab Collections are great for organizing tabs into restorable “folders” — Think of them like a group of bookmarks that you can click to open at any time.

Tab Collections in Partizion — Helpful tab management "folders" that you can re-open in one click
An example Tab Collection in Partizion

The Tab Search Methodology

If you can search for it, you can find it. If you can find it, you can close it now and reopen it later. Stop hoarding tabs, use tab search instead.

While Chrome’s native tab search and history search are great tools, they’re not designed to be a searchable ‘Library’ of tabs and links. Partizion allows you to search all of your tabs and links, making it easy to find anything and restore any session or tab.

Tab Search in Partizion — Too Many Tabs? Try Tab search instead
Finding a tab or Link in Partizion is just a search away

Imagine if you could just type “Sheets” and find your most recent google sheets tabs. Search by domain, url, tab title and more.

If you can search for a tab and find it later, it means you don’t need to worry about losing it — you can safely close the tab and come back to it later. Keep less tabs open and navigate your browser faster with tab search.

Partizion’s quick context-switch feature

In addition to having auto-synced sessions and tab collections, one of Partizion’s most powerful features is the quick “switch to” button.

Clicking “switch to” on a session or tab collection in Partizion closes your currently open tabs and opens the tabs in that session or collection, all in one click! This means that you can switch contexts at light speed! Making changing from one task to another as easy as clicking a button.

Switching your currently open tabs with a saved set of tabs is super fast in Partizion
Just click "Switch to" to completely change contexts in Chrome — no more filing away tabs or opening them one by one

What to do when you have too many tab open

We’ve gone over some methodologies and tools for mitigating too many tabs, but If you’re already overwhelmed and have too many tabs open heres what you can do:

Organizing too many tabs in Chrome — How to categorize your tabs in a window to be less distracted and keep less tabs open
How to categorize and organize your tabs in Chrome

1. Start by triaging the situation

How many windows do you have open? What do the tabs in those windows represent? Use the Project, Reference, Archive methodology to triage and partition your tabs.

2. Categorize, save, and close

Identify any tabs or groups of tabs that belong in a project, archive, or collection that doesn’t need to be open right now: Save them to that collection and close the tabs.

3. Return to the task at hand

Return to what you were doing in the first place. The task, project, or shopping spree you were on. Just focus on one thing at time, knowing that you can return or switch to any other task (group of tabs) later and continue where you left off. Remember, with a tab session manager extension, all your tabs and sessions are safe no matter what.

We are naturally inclined, and the browser is designed, to open too many tabs. We can mitigate this by be diligent with our tab management. The easiest strategy is just opening a new window whenever you need to perform another task or just want to browse. You can restore a session or tab collection if it’s a group of tabs you’ve visited before, if it’s something brand new, just rely on your session manager extension or create a tab collection if you think you’ll return to this set of tabs again.

Tools to mitigate having too many tabs open

We’ve covered the best tab managers and session managers for chrome, but there are plenty of tools that can help you stay focused in the browser and keep the number of tabs you have open manageable.

Start with project tracking and/or a todo list app. Pick your favourite project management software and then stick by your daily goals and tasks. Once you know what you have to focus on, it’s much easier to be certain about which tabs you have open.

We recommend Notion, Todoist, Linear, and Cron, but there are so many great project management tools out there.

Conclusion: Too Many Tabs is for tab hoarders, you’re now equipped to get to Tab Zero

Keeping too many tabs open can be a constant battle. However, understanding why you keep tabs open, using a tab management methodology, and utilizing tools such as tab and session managers can help prevent tab overload and keep you productive when using your browser.

Good luck! and let us know how many tabs you had open before you tried these tab management strategies (we’re keeping score 😉).

An Essential Tool for
Essentially Anything

Partizion is the most advance Tab and Session Manager extension for Chrome
Partizion the most advanced tab and session manager extension for Chrome. Manage Tabs, Save Session, and find any link or tab with search! Combat too many tabs with Partizion