A process for clearing open tabs

What follows is a story from 2021-04-06 (the roots of this note). I revisit it and reapply the process it describes. I'm keeping the narrative style for now as it doesn't get in the way of the process it presents too much...

Mental tidying. I'm going through my open tabs and taking a note of anything worth keeping. It's my first day on the bench and this is helping me to take stock of different things I am interested in and make plans for what to do next

I have loads of tabs open. I have a few options for what to do with each one:

  1. Read now

  2. Close without reading

  3. Queue to read later

  4. Queue to work on later

  5. Bookmark for future reference

  6. Write about the contents here on this page

    • to enhance my comprehension
    • to recapture my related thoughts in the future

My intention

My intention is to clear my head. Originally I wrote this post at the end of an engagement. I work as a consultant and change engagements fairly frequently. Since then I've come back to it to read the list above as part of keeping my workspace a bit tidier.

Respecting this whole process is a way to nurture that self-trust where you say to yourself, "I'll come back to that later", and then you actually do.

Am I procrastinating?

I want to find some good stuff and decide what to focus on next. However, I already know what I want to do next...

There are some really good links about placing 3D assets on a world scale map. I want to turn those into a personal learning path. So am I wasting time by not getting straight down to that?

I don't think so. There's something restful and restorative about tidying up after the previous engagement, and something pleasing about preparing for the next focus with a tidy working environment.

How could it be done differently?

Potentially, I could keep a tidy environment all the time. I could apply one of the options above to each neglected tab more immediately, rather than letting them build up to the end of a project. I'd keep that clean environment continually available. But I like the tidy up and having a large number of tabs to go through helps to evaluate the relative importance of each one.

It's all a balance really.

Notes to enhance comprehension and future discoverability

In the end none of the tabs I had open ended up in this channel.

So, I considered deleting it but didn't because I think it's a valid option. Sometimes having an unused option makes decision making easier 🤔 If you don't have the full range of options in front of you it can be hard to get down to the decision making.

Observations while I did this

  1. The list at the top is good. Especially deciding what goes where and why
  2. With the timebox and the finite options I find it easier to close tabs that no longer grip me
  3. The difference between a truely gripping tab and one that has lost it's appeal is easier to spot when you put all the tabs in one big pile like some kind of Marie Kondo clothing sort-through

Spotted a typo? Edit on Github

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© 2023 Laurence Lord