doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Tidying up

Logging in to my computer this morning was my inspiration for finally getting serious about groups in my browser. Everything that I had done yesterday was open and spread across the two monitors that form my desktop setup. Where does one start?

Staying organized and yet neat has long been a challenge around here. I’ve tried various things like bookmarks, multiple windows, etc. All seemed like the solution at the time and I manage to mess it up as I go.

When Grouping came out for browsers based on Chromium, I tried it just to see if it flipped a switch for me and it didn’t. This morning, I made more of a commitment and I think I might have a workable solution.

My first group

This was actually quite easy to do. I just selected one of the tabs that I wanted in a group and right clicked on it. The second item from the top lets you add a tab to a group or to create a new group.

Of course, you can add colour to your group. I’m torn whether it looks nicer with different colours or if it looks better with them all having the same colour. It’s a nice problem to solve.

If one group is good, a bunch is better so I created a few more groups based upon the type of page it might be.

My groups

Using them is dead simple. If I want something to do with my blog, I just click the “My Blog” group and it flies open in the browser.

Inside a group

When I’m done and it’s time to move on, clicking on the group title again collapses it and I move on.

It’s very fast and does seem to give me a tidier look to my desktop. It’s possible to drag the entire group to a second monitor should I feel the need. An immediate distraction-saving feature is that I’m no longer distracted by notifications from an application. Since it’s inside a group, it isn’t there to bug me.

Anyway, I’ve configured it here – on my incidence of Brave – and it seems to be working nicely. I hope that it continues and that I have the strength to keep things in check.

I’m always looking for tips to make things better. If you’ve gone the route with groups and have some to share, please do so.


6 responses to “Tidying up”

  1. Doug, this is really interesting, as yesterday I reflected on and blogged about tabs open during Communication of Learning writing. Looking at your nice sorted options here, I wonder if I could have done the same. Now the big question is would it have been as easy to navigate through these group as it was through the tabs? Might they work at different times? Hmmm … You have me wondering.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You might want to devote a bit of time to trying it and seeing if it works for you, Aviva. I’m notorious (at least in my own mind) of trying things and abandoning. However, I’m still using it this morning and it seems to be making a difference. At least, I’m finding things easier and I’m not distracted by other tabs.

      As they say, “whatever works…”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Andrew Forgrave Avatar
    Andrew Forgrave

    Good morning Doug! Good morning Aviva

    Doug, when you mention trying things and abandoning them, that’s the secret to learning – – the stuff that doesn’t work becomes grist for the learning mail as you move forward. The stuff that sticks is what you continue with until something better comes along!

    In recent days I have lamented the fact that because it can be so easy to open a new browser tab when you need to get access to something, that has become the norm for me. Rather than chasing through the existing tabs that are already open, spawning a new one works just as well, except for the fact that you can wind up with multiple tabs open for the same document – – the result being multiple browser windows with multiple tabs.


  3. Andrew Forgrave Avatar
    Andrew Forgrave

    Ack. Second time in two days!

    I will have to investigate this groups option that you mention. I have not encountered it before.

    I have taken to using Chrome browser themes to differentiate one Google account from another. That has gone along way to help me keep track of where a task belongs and managing multiple chrome windows at the same time. I’m trying really hard to close down the windows that aren’t germane to what I am currently working on.

    Having more than one monitor is both a blessing and a curse, as it becomes easier to lose existing windows of tabs. The worst of all is losing a Chrome window that has an active Google meet running in it. I hate it when that happens.

    Many years ago in the pre-OS X days, I had a wonderful utility on macOS 9 that would remember the locations and window sizes for a whole set of folders. With one keystroke it would open all of the necessary folders and zoom their windows into the proper locations and sizes so that they were always ready. It was super important to my workflow while preparing the Planner files for the OCUP website/CDs. I mention this because it is just this past week that I implemented something similar to help manage window creep in my current workflow. Now, with one keystroke, my setup of Chrome, Photoshop, Slack, Mail, Podcasts, Music, Things, DayOne, and Chrome snap to the appropriate spots so they are always where I expect to find them — the big challenge remains the continuous overflow of newly-spawned tabs within Chrome. I wonder if there is an extension for Chrome that automatically dismisses a Chrome tab if it hasn’t been visited for 30 minutes? Something like that would probably go along way to solving my challenge.


  4. […] Tidying up – doug — off the record […]


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