Ep. 209 Too Many Tabs Open On Your Laptop? Five Tips for Web Browser Efficiency

Our laptops are not only an extension of our physical workspace, but often an extension of our minds. Digital clutter in the form of tons of too many tabs and multiple windows can bog us down. But there are ways to increase your web browser efficiency—and just as with other key systems for independent retailers, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help you get the most out of your time on the web. 

Let’s look at what shopkeepers struggle with when it comes to using their browsers efficiently, along with my top tips for creating a useful system to help you work smarter. 

I recently asked our Master Shopkeepers members how many tabs they have open on their browsers. The responses varied from the median of 8-10 to 178. 

Honestly, I can’t even imagine having that many tabs open. My brain would shut down!

One group member said, “So many, but it doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s comforting to know I have quick access. It also kinda serves as a rolling to-do. My husband, on the other hand, refuses to use my laptop.”

Another group member joked, “How many can be open at once before you lose everything? Final answer.”

I also asked about their browser of choice. More than half (67%) use Chrome, like me, with Safari, and Firefox following. While I use a Macbook, I prefer Chrome over Safari. 

Even before my work with Savvy Shopkeeper, I spent a lot of time on my laptop doing work for my store. My sister Karen would joke that I was the cat in the meme you often see typing furiously on a laptop. And she was right! 

tips for web browser efficiency

When it comes to using a web browser on my laptop versus using apps on my phone, I prefer being on my laptop. My husband, on the other hand, can do so much on his phone and it doesn’t bother him. 

If I’m searching, reading articles, doing research, planning travel, or booking flights…I do NOT want to do this on my phone. I prefer a bigger screen and using a browser on my laptop. 

As I worked on this post and podcast episode, I realized one big reason that I can work efficiently is my use of the Chrome browser. You all know I love systems, and that’s what learning to use your web browser efficiently is—it’s creating a system for yourself.

If you prefer your phone, no problem! You do what works for you. But if you’re looking for web browser efficiency tips, let’s dive into my top five.

tips for web browser efficiency

#1. Learn Browser-Specific Keyboard Shortcuts

Knowing your browser’s keyboard commands will save you SO much time. 

Common keyboard shortcuts include: 

  • Ctrl/Cmd + T to open a new tab
  • Ctrl/Cmd + W to close a tab
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Tab to switch between tabs
  • Ctrl/Cmd + L to focus on the search bar

Using keyboard shortcuts is something I want to get better at. When I worked in the Crime Analysis Unit for the police department, I remember admiring the keyboard shortcut skills of a colleague. He was a master at using his keyboard to navigate his browser and other programs efficiently. He rarely touched his mouse to navigate all the open programs, browsers, and tabs on his multiple screens—and trust me, he had a LOT open. It was like magic!

I have some favorite keyboard commands, such as those I shared above, but I know I can learn and use many more. 

One that I’m working on integrating into my day-to-day computer use is Cmd + space bar to open Spotlight on my Mac. According to Timing App, this is “one of the most important Mac system keyboard shortcuts…This is an efficient way to open apps, find files, search the web, and even do calculations and conversions.”

Cmd +Z is also a common shortcut. This is the function to undo something you just did. But Cmd+Y is the one I forget, it will redo the undo.

Option + delete (or ctrl + backspace) will delete a full word at a time when you’re typing.

Cmd + down arrow is one I use often, especially when I work with 1:1 coaching clients. I take a lot of notes, and after a year of working with a client, that can be a lot to scroll through! Cmd + down arrow takes me to the bottom of the Google Doc quickly.

While all of the shortcuts I’ve mentioned here are Mac-specific, there are Windows keyboard shortcuts that can help you be more productive, too. 

#2. Manage Your Bookmarks

I will most likely do a whole episode on this topic at some point but my best tip for you is this: use the bookmark bar! 

The bookmark bar lives at the top of your Chrome browser. It’s the perfect place to have easy access to your most visited web pages. 

As you start to build a collection of bookmarks, use folders to keep them organized. 

If your bookmarks collection is overwhelming, give yourself a set amount of time to clean them up. I like to take 30 minutes of dedicated time to get them organized (or at least get started!) every few months.

But my best tip for the bookmarks bar? Shorten the title of the bookmark—or completely remove the title if you’re familiar with the logo! For example, do I need to see the word Facebook next to the logo? Nope, the logo icon is enough. You can keep WAY more bookmarks accessible on the bar when you shorten the title or remove it altogether.

#3. Group Up Your Tabs to Reduce Clutter

Another way to efficiently browse the web is to use tab grouping or extensions to manage multiple open tabs. You can group tabs by task or topic to reduce clutter.

When we chatted about browser usage in the Master Shopkeepers Facebook group, on member shared,

“I have them grouped: Shop tabs (tabs I use while I’m working the sales floor, streamlined), Biz tabs (linked to my work email and my current projects), Personal tabs (to manage my personal life).”

I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of grouping tabs! However, I tend to not have more than 12 tabs open at any given time. Over 12, and my brain becomes overwhelmed! 

However, I love the Tab Retitle Chrome extension. I like being able to rename what it says in the tab, especially the 5-7 tabs I tend to always have open.

That’s another good tip, actually: browse the Chrome web store. You never know what extension you’ll find that will make your web browsing life easier. While you’re there you can even customize your theme and color scheme for Chrome, which makes looking at your screen a bit easier and more enjoyable.

tips for web browser efficiency

#4. Use a Secure Password Manager

A password manager securely stores and manages your login credentials, eliminating the need to remember or type them repeatedly.

If you don’t use a password manager yet, I’m not sure how you function. Seriously! There’s NO WAY my brain could remember all the username and password combos for all the websites I log into, both personally and professionally.

My favorite password manager is LastPass. It has a Chrome extension, so it’s easy to access and navigate with just a click of an icon. 

LastPass stores all usernames and passwords specific to a URL. For example, if you go to Faire’s website and you’re on the login page, LastPass will auto-populate your details. You don’t have to think about what your username is and you don’t have to go somewhere else to FIND your login details. It’s incredibly helpful!

There is a free version of LastPass, along with affordable paid plans starting at $4/month.

#5. Limit Distracting Notifications

Disable unnecessary notifications to avoid interruptions while working. While this isn’t browser-specific, it will make focusing on your work so much easier. 

For me to be as efficient and focused as possible, I turn off almost all notifications. The only notification I can hear is from Google Calendar, but that’s to keep me on task and on schedule. My client and Zoom calls are a priority and showing up on time is extremely important to me, so those notifications keep me on track.

You can either turn off notifications in your computer’s settings, or you can use functions like the built-in Focus option on Mac. You can customize your Focus settings to your style, or just turn on Do Not Disturb and choose a time limit. I turn on Do Not Disturb for an hour when I have coaching calls.

Try These Tips to Maximize Your Browser Efficiency and Save Yourself Time!

We spend a lot of time on our devices, me included! For me to be effective with my time and efficient on my laptop or devices, it’s helpful for me to learn and utilize some of these tools and tricks. 

You might not think it makes that much of a difference, but it does. Seconds turn into minutes turn into hours of saved time each year—so be sure to try out some of the tips I’ve shared to maximize your efficiency while using the web!

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  • [04:11] #1. Learn Browser-Specific Keyboard Shortcuts
  • [08:33] #2. Manage Your Bookmarks
  • [12:09] #3. Group Up Your Tabs to Reduce Clutter
  • [14:18] #4. Use a Secure Password Manager
  • [16:12] #5. Limit Distracting Notifications
  • [17:58] Try These Tips to Maximize Your Browser Efficiency and Save Yourself Time!

Connect With Kathy

Kathy Cruz is an Independent Retail Coach who helps store owners work smarter, profit more, and grow their brick and mortar businesses. 

Connect with Kathy and learn more here:

Website: www.savvyshopkeeper.com 

Instagram: @savvyshopkeeper

Mastermind Group: Master Shopkeepers

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