Hardware

Closing tabs is the only way to keep Tabagotchi alive

I’m terrible at managing my browser tabs, and I blame partly on the nature of my job, and partly on my inability to banish distractions at work.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried a tab management tool or two, like those that made our list. I’m ashamed to report that I’ve thus far failed on that front – but I’m not giving up. In fact, I’m enlisting a friend to help me kick my tab addiction. Meet Tabagotchi.

Mimicking the electronic pets that took Japan – and eventually, the world – by storm in the 90s, this extension for Chrome and Opera puts a digital creature on your new tab page. The fewer tabs you have open, the happier and healthier it is.

Open too many tabs, and your Tabagotchi will get upset, fall ill and eventually die. That’s a fitting metaphor for my brain with several unread web pages, too.

If you can manage to keep your tab habit in check, your precious Tabagotchi will evolve. That’s the hard part of caring for this digital pet – you need to live with five or fewer tabs for 10 hours in order to have it grow into its next form. Given that I have about 35 tabs open at any given time, that’s not easy.

While it seems kinda silly, it is an interesting way to get yourself to focus on a single task, instead of lining up a bunch of things that you’ll eventually want to get to. While I can’t yet attest to fixing my habit in the long term, I did find myself thinking twice before clicking links in Twitter, now that a creature’s life was hanging in the balance. That means less memory hogging for Chrome, and fewer distractions while I’m trying to publish a piece.

Tabagotchi is perhaps best used in tandem with other extensions to keep your browser from getting cluttered; for example, you could use OneTab, which grabs the links to all your open tabs and funnels them into a list on a single page that you can save for later.

Try your hand at keeping your own Tabagotchi alive by grabbing the free extension from this page.

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