Browser optimization for autodidacts

Between various projects and autodidacting, I spend a lot of time online. This covers some of the browser optimizations I’ve found. I welcome suggestions in the comments.

Partitioning browsers

This helps deal with tab overload, makes it easier to switch windows than using multiple windows, and allows me to split off habits.

  • Chrome for Arbital and currently-in-progress work.

  • Opera for Facebook and links I open from there.

  • Firefox for reading longer things and general browsing.

I’d suggest partitioning entertainment if that’s part of your browsing habits.

Fixing Facebook

Facebook is highly addictive and optimized mostly for things I don’t want to spend my life on. However, it is also brilliantly designed in many ways and is an amazing and diverse source of fresh insight if you follow the right sources (and are ruthless about unfollowing people who post things which you prefer not to spend time on).

My Chrome has timeline blocker which mostly cuts the addictive part out and stops me getting distracted when I’m working, while letting me reply to messages and open specific links. Opera has Facebook Purity, to remove adblock-resistant adverts and fix a handful of other annoyances. Keep notifications off and have no fb tabs in your working window to reduce interruptions.

Tab management

  • Reopen past sessions—This browser setting is vital to my workflow, letting me pick up where I leave off. This does leave me with a lot of tabs (currently 52, but 100+ is not uncommon), the next three extensions try to mitigate this.

  • Tab Snooze—Lets you pass tabs to a future version of yourself.

  • The Great Suspender—Dramatically reduces memory use of non-active tabs, automatically (set it to reload on switching to the tab).

  • Too Many Tabs—Gives a holding area for currently unwanted tabs. Better than tab snooze for things that I may or may not want to come back to.

Other extensions


Faster pageloads, ability to remove annoying non-ad elements, and reducing my exposure to marketing.


No more fumbling around for old passwords, no more password reuse.


Accelerate your reading by a large factor, similar to Spritz.

Playback Rate

Play videos faster. Save time, keep attention.


Icon bookmarks are neat. Just put them in the bookmarks bar and set the name to blank.

Have an organizational system. If you don’t stick to it, give yourself a while every few weeks to sort the recent ones.



If a site has a decent app and is part of my habit, I tend to use the app rather than keeping it in my browser. Currently this list is just Workflowy and [Slack](https://​​​​).%%