March 26, 2024

Link Docs - a simple solution to tab overload

The problem with tabs

Tab overload is when you end up with hundreds or thousands of open tabs because you don’t want to lose track of those pages. You remember more or less what’s where and the tab serves as a reminder about the page.

The problem is that tabs are the easiest way of keeping track of pages, but not a good way. Although browsers have released features meant to help you organize tabs, like tab groups, tabs are not well-suited to organizing large numbers of documents.

Bookmarks, the would-be solution

Browser bookmarks are meant to solve the problem, but the UX is clunky and outdated. The web app replaced the native desktop app, and of all places the browser is where we except a web app – so there’s cognitive dissonance in using the native app bookmarks feature to oragnize your web pages and web apps.

These days bookmarks can also live on the cloud, but again we are accustomed to the conventions of the web, like pages and URLs.

A link doc is a Google doc containing a list of links, including links to other link docs.

I like to have three sections in my link docs: Pinned, Recent, and Archive. The Pinned section is for important links that will always be at the top. The Recent section is ordered by newest links first, serving as a recent history. The Archive section is for links that you probably don’t need anymore but may be useful to keep for long-term history.

You can have many link docs, but you should have one root link doc that links off to all others. As long as you keep your root link doc open or easy to pull up, you can close all other tabs and still quickly get back to any page you saved.

It takes a little bit of active upkeep, but frees you from tab overload without requiring you to lose all those pages.

Thank you,