Randomness as Tool
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“I discovered a browser extension that solved my problem of opening too many tabs. It’s called OneTab. It saves all open tabs into one page, and allows you to organize them.”
“How do you organize them?”
“80/20 style. I actually have two categories, one named ’20’, the other ’80’.”
“How many tabs have you got saved in there?”
“Over one hundred now.”
“The purpose I presume is to save them for later reading.
Are you reading them later?”
“Why do you think that is?”
“I think it’s because there’s too many of them, which makes the perceived effort of going through them seem overwhelming.”
“Then it seems to me that you haven’t really solved your problem. Tucking them away is a non-solution.”
“How would you optimize it?”
“Create a better system.
I see it as a two-phase process: organization and retrieval.
From what I understand, your system looks like this:
Organization: You save the pages in OnePage, and you organize them 80/20 style.
Retrieval: Despite the organization, due to the amount of data, you freeze.
So the failure-point is in the retrieval phase. More specifically, it has to do with decision-making.
What if, instead of deciding what to read from the list of saved items, you randomly selected one?
This way, you completely bypass the failure-point. Moreover, it creates a nice little surprise every time, because you never know what to expect.
In terms of specifics, the system is simplicity embodied:
– Install a browser extension that can randomly extract a bookmark from a folder (eg Random Bookmark From Folder [<link]).
– Save all bookmarks in two folders: one titled ’20’, the other ’80’.
– Whenever you want to explore some of the saved resources, randomly extract one from any of the folders.
– Once read, remove it from the folder.”