Finding yourself stressed at work? Your number of browser tabs could be to blame (at least partly).
A new study from Finland’s Aalto University has found that so-called ‘browser clutter’ is a problem for most people, causing not only stress but also leading them to feel disorganised or overwhelmed.
Researchers surveyed 400 participants online and conducted 16 in-person interviews, finding that 82% of workers see browser clutter as an issue (with 57% saying it’s a minor issue and 25% calling it a major concern).
Multi-taskers were found to not be the best adapted to such issues, but actually the most affected – with switching between tabs and keeping them open after use being singled out as a particular issue.
Unfortunately for anyone hoping for a quick fix and an ideal number of tabs to have open, the researchers weren’t so forthcoming. They did, however, provide insight into what everyone else was doing – and the figures varied enormously. Just one of the subject pool had fewer than three tabs open, whilst at the other end of the scale one had a whopping 400.
The average was given at five to ten tabs open across one to three windows.
Of course, there is something of a solution to this issue in the form of tab grouping. If you have multiple windows open for a specific theme (anything from project research to home decoration or even recipes), you can group them together – to make your overall outlook much neater and allow you to find tabs by topic a lot quicker.
On mobiles it couldn’t be simpler – just drag and drop your browser tiles onto one another to create a group. It’s similarly straightforward on desktop browsers, with Chrome, Edge and Safari all offering tab grouping functionality. Next, just give each group a relevant name and you’ll be able to find all the tabs you need in no time.
Offering another solution to the issue, Aalto researchers went surprisingly old school. Associate Professor and Head of Department, Janne Lindqvist, told aalto.fi: “We use computers every day, and it’s definitely not always ideal. “Many things would actually be much better handled only on paper.”