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Opinion – Make sure to close mental tabs

I’m sure you know a coworker or family member who always seems to have 20 tabs open at the same time. We’ve got a lot of those people over here at The Herald.

Being able to have multiple tabs open at once is great for a multitasking job as it lets you quickly bounce back and forth from the different projects you are working on. I usually have a good eight to 10 tabs open on my screen at any time. Sometimes those tabs stay open and untouched for days just in case I need to go back and look at something again.

In college, there was no greater feeling than finishing a research paper and closing the numerous tabs open on my computer. It was a very similar feeling to taking your socks off after a long day.

We all know how great it feels to close the tabs on our computer, but some of us are forgetting to also close the tabs we have open in our heads.

The “tabs” in our heads can represent many things. A lot of our tabs come in the form of chores or tasks we need to do. You probably have a lot of tabs open in your brain reminding you that you need to check your oil, do the laundry and buy groceries.

You also have tabs open which have probably been sitting there for a long time. Those tabs come in the form of things that worry you and keep you up at night. How many more payments will it take to pay off that bill? What is the dentist going to say when I finally get this tooth looked at? What am I going to do about that big project at work?

The thing about people who have 20 tabs open at once, be it on their computer or in their head, is that sometimes they don’t close tabs because it feels better to keep them right up there where they’re easily accessible, just a click away, rather than closing them and just opening them up again when they’re needed.

Whenever I find myself with a lot to do at work and it feels like I’ve got a million different things I’m working on, I always give myself a moment to scan over those tabs at the top of my browser and ask myself which ones I really need in the moment and which ones I’m just keeping open because I don’t want to have to pull the page back up later.

What I find is that when I close those extra tabs, I’m left with only what I need in order to do the current task at hand. I’m not distracted. There’s not a dozen other little projects looming over, teasing me about how much more is on my plate. It’s just me and that one project, and when I’m done, I take a minute to pull up what I need for the next task, and I move forward.

If you’re an overthinker like me, if you hardly have a calm moment in your day, it’s time to close some of those tabs. There’s not enough time in the day for everything. Take one worry, one chore, and work on it undisturbed by your other thoughts. There’s no point in worrying about that tooth until you’re in the dentist’s chair. That big project at work will get done. Take a deep breath, do the laundry and then move on to the next thing.

So please, close all those unnecessary tabs. Your head will be clearer, your heart will feel lighter and your day will be better, guaranteed.