Man sitting with a laptop working in the browser, making a peace sign

Replace Productivity Hacks with Browser Rituals in 2020

If your work in the browser doesn't feel as productive and satisfying as you’d like it to, your browser habits might be the problem. Fix those, and you won’t have to rely on short-lived productivity hacks to feel satisfied with your work. Keep reading for 5 ways to improve your browser habits right now.

We also recommend adding Workona to your browser. It'll help you get your work under control and finally feel organized.

5 browser rituals you can try today


Wait, what are browser rituals?

Browser rituals are purposeful ways of doing your work online. They’re the alternative to mindless or lazy habits that you may have developed (we’ll give you some examples in a moment). You can think of them as productivity hacks, but unlike most productivity tips, these are designed to be sustainable and fun.

The connection between fun and habits

As behavioral expert James Clear explains, “You can decide to design something to make your good behavior easier and your bad behaviors harder.” These browser rituals give you micro-rewards along the way, making it easier to continue.


Man opening a storage box for organization

Separate your projects

Your work is important, and each project (or meeting, or workflow) deserves its own space. But often, we crowd multiple projects into one browser window, and then waste time moving between tabs in an attempt to mentally categorize them.

Solution:

Workona gives you separate areas for each project, called workspaces. Use them to group your work by context. You can also try a lightweight solution like Chrome tab groups.

Reward:

By separating your projects, it’s easier to see and celebrate the incremental progress you make throughout the day.


Discard tabs if you’re not using them

Imagine someone walked by your computer and closed all of your tabs. Scary, right? We tend to keep tabs open because we don’t want to lose any work. But backing up your tabs will give you the confidence to close them as soon as you’re done with them.

What if you don’t need to keep a tab open at the moment, but you’ll need it in the future? See #4.

Solution:

Use your browser’s keyboard shortcuts to quickly close tabs (if you’re using Chrome, press Cmd + W or Ctrl + W). In Workona, you can press Shift + click to close multiple tabs, or simply close a workspace by clicking the X button. Your tabs are automatically saved — up to 10 sessions at a time — so you can restore them anytime.

Reward:

It just feels good to restore your browser to a state of cleanliness. Plus, it’s easier to focus in a clean environment.


Hit the reset button to start fresh

One moment you’re doing work, and the next, you have fifteen tabs open and are reading an obscure jazz singer’s discography on Wikipedia. Instead of banning every distracting site on the web, here’s a more realistic option: start over. Close everything and relaunch with just the essentials — tabs that bring you back to a calm, productive mindset.

Solution:

Workona simplifies this process with an option to replace your current tabs with a set of saved tabs (you decide which ones). If you prefer to use the browser’s built in tools, follow these steps:

  1. Shift + click to select all tabs
  2. Cmd + W or Ctrl + W to close them
  3. Select a bookmark folder and choose Open all

Reward:

The act of hitting the reset button rewards you with new information, which our brain loves.


Forget the past to focus on the present

Research shows that attention residue is left behind whenever we switch tasks. To clean up that residue, we need to stop thinking about one task when we move onto the next. An easy way to do this is to save future work separately from current work. Once you’re confident your future work is safe and sound, it’s easier to focus on the tasks at hand.

Solution:

Check out our list of the best bookmark managers for each browser. While all of these bookmark managers are handy, Workona is the only one with a side-by-side view of your current and future work. In other words, your open tabs are distinct from your saved tabs (and other important resources). And you can always hide one of these elements if it's distracting to you.

Reward:

Almost instantly, you’ll feel more focused and tasks will take less time to complete.


Woman with laptop surrounded by graphic elements

Leave room for creativity

When you’re exploring a new city, you check the map when you reach an intersection. Similarly, we pause and think deeply when encountering places of transition in the browser; for example, opening a new tab. Try to keep these places unconstrained so you can move freely into a new line of thinking.

Solution:

Momentum is a popular app for customizing the new tab with inspiring images and quotes, but there are other good options. Workona includes a customizable new tab to help you launch each new page with intention.

Reward:

According to children’s play researcher Peter Gray, people only learn how to be creative when they have access to unstructured environments. That's why overly structured systems of work feel like drudgery. Give yourself room to play so you have more fun — and solve more problems.


The takeaway? You can get stuff done and still enjoy yourself

We hope it’s clear that browser rituals can boost your productivity. In doing so, they give you permission to unplug when the workday is over — perhaps the biggest reward of all.