Some of the greatest productivity hacks cost nothing more than a small moment of implementation and a little repetition.
In this post, I want to show one such method; how to leverage the power of pinned tabs on your internet browser for improved focus.
Pinned Tabs Are More Than Just a Time Saver
You'll save a few seconds here and there by no longer retyping the same URLs into your search browser everyday, but that is just a smaller byproduct of the method rather than its main purpose.
The power of pinned tabs is that they serve as a constant reminder of our top priorities.
The power of pinned tabs is that they serve as a constant reminder of our top priorities...
I do this by organizing my pins from left to right with the most important tasks first (to the far left) and things of lesser importance or that remain static like tools and resources last (to the far right).
For example, here is what my pinned tabs currently look like...
Everything to the far left is what I need to work on first. This might be just one item or it could be several, but they are always in order of importance. Once I complete them, they are unpinned and closed. The left will always be my temporary pins. Everything to the right of these is a pin to something I will use nearly everyday for the foreseeable future.
At the time of this writing, my top priority is to write a minimum of 1,000 words per day in Google Docs for a book I've been working on for a long time.
Since the tab stays on my browser all day, choosing to not write becomes an ongoing decision rather than an easy to write off passive decision to skip.
It would be like seeing a puppy on the side of the road and not rescuing it and then having a picture of it crying pinned to your desktop while "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan plays in the background.
Ok, maybe the guilt would be less, but you see the point.
Next to the Google Doc tab, I have my second priority. A PDF that I've been putting off reading. It has some very important information about new GDPR updates I need to educate myself on so I can keep my blogging students properly informed. I don't want to let myself forget, so I am forcing it onto the forefront of where I devote a majority of my workday's attention.
For it to go away, I have to actively choose to close it which means admitting, "this isn't important enough to me to read." That won't happen, so it will stay there until it's read. At that point, I'll close the tab and it's off the browser bar permanently.
I group my pins as best as possible. Yours will look different, but mine are as follows.
- Web Analytics Tools - Google Analytics, AHREFs and Google Search Console
- Paid Ad Tools -Google Ads dashboard and Adespresso
- Communities I Manage - These are my Facebook and Google Groups that I need to stay up to date with. I mute these so I don't receive notifications until I'm ready.
- My Main Blog WordPress Dashboard - Easy access to this site your on right now.
- Email Inboxes - I could consolidate these into one but for some reason, I like having them separate here.
- Bench.Co Bookkeeping - I regularly upload invoices, receipts etc. here to keep my finances in order.
Anything that I'm using temporarily, I keep unpinned.
Anything that I want to save for future reference, I bookmark. I try to only pin things that are either used everyday or that need immediate attention.
Too many pinned tabs might cause you to ignore them all. Pin with discretion.
Get creative with your tabs. Do what works best for you.
I've learned that productivity isn't always a "one size fits all" solution so tweak your pins to the way that best works for you.
How to Pin a Tab
I suppose I should take the 3 seconds to show you how to do this.
Simply right click on the tab of the URL you want to pin and select "Pin" from the drop down.
I use Google Chrome exclusively but this process is the same for Safari, Firefox and probably any other weird browser you can think of.
Bonus Tip: Prevent Tabs from Slowing Down Your Browser
One of the issues that can arise when you have a lot of pinned taps is that your browser can get a bit sluggish.
Fortunately, there is a free Chrome extension called The Great Suspender that allows you to suspend tabs that aren't being used.
Make sure that you edit the settings to suspend pinned tabs. That is turned off by default and you'll need to turn it back on.
If you want to never suspend certain URLs, you can add those to a whitelist and keep them active at all times.