Panic Button: Quickly Hide Time-Wasting Tabs From Your Boss [Chrome]

Justin Pot 10-10-2012

hide tabs in chromeQuickly hide the useless sites you’re looking at so your boss doesn’t know that you’re slacking off. It’s called Panic Button, it works in Google Chrome and it’s designed for full time workers who actually work part time.


If you’re reading this blog post at work, you probably shouldn’t be. And if you’re doing something at work you probably shouldn’t now, you probably do that with some frequency. Were this a productivity blog I’d tell you to shape up, fly right and install another todo list app on your smartphone.

It isn’t. Here’s a tool that lets you avoid doing work more effectively. It won’t protect you every time, but it might help.

Using The Panic Button

Let’s imagine that you’re wasting your time. We’ve already established that by the act of reading this article you’re wasting your time, so there’s really no need to imagine, but let’s imagine anyway. You’ve got your favorite time wasting sites open, and are about to search for the best videos earth has to offer.

hide tabs in chrome

Suddenly your boss appears. Panic! If only there was some kind of button…


Oh yeah. The panic button. That’ll do. Here it is, highlighted in yellow:

hide tabs browser

Click it and all of your time-wasting tabs will disappear. In their place is a blank page, or the work-related URL of your choice. Simple. Don’t worry, though. Your precious kitten videos aren’t gone. That would be terrible. No, your beloved distractions are merely hidden. Click the panic button again and they will return to you, just as adorable as ever.

You can even hide the panic button itself, if you fear your boss is catching on to this whole “technology” thing. All that and more is in the options:


hide tabs in chrome

As you can see it’s also possible to password-protect your distractions and pick a keyboard shortcut to use instead of the extension bar button.

Are you ready to install this anti-productivity tool? Find Panic Button in the Chrome Web Store. Can you not use Chrome at work because you can’t install it? Grab the portable version of Google Chrome, or keep reading for more tips.


We’ve written a shocking number of articles dedicated to helping you pretend that you’re working. Among my favorite is Can’t You See I’m Busy, a set of games that looks like actual work. From the Bejeweled clone that looks like a spreadsheet to the tiny rocket you help navigate through a graph, this suite of online games will make you look busy – especially when you’re not.


There’s also the Magic Boss Key, which hides what you’re doing in Windows Instantly Hide Active Program Windows & Disable Sound with Magic Boss Key Computers are great tools that we use for both work and play. Often it's hard to keep the two separate. So we end up researching the perfect birthday gift while the prospective recipient is watching... Read More . Great if you enjoy non-browser distractions, such as games.

If these don’t work for you, check out these other guides:

I know, I had no ideas ninjas were so adept at procrastinating. Learn something new every day.

Do you know of another way to avoid doing actual work at work? Share it in the comments below. Bonus points if you do so at work, instead of working.


Image Credit: Panic Button Image via Shutterstock

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  1. suneo nobi
    February 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Coolnovo browser(based on chrome) has this built in function already..............

    • Justin Pot
      February 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      And now you don't have to switch your browser to get it!

  2. Stew
    October 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Sorry, but although the concept is sound, the explanation of how to create it is poorly explained.

    Do you want to run this idea passed us again, only this time, explain it in understandable terms.

    Thanks, and regards from sunny Spain.

    Excellent website ...always get something out of it.


  3. Yash Desai
    October 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    this is the worst thing for my productivity since proxies and vpns

  4. Alex Perkins
    October 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    It would also be great for hiding" Questionable graphic tabs" from people.

  5. Kulwinder Rouri
    October 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    i am using it from a few months and thinking to post about @thetechshell

  6. Adrian Rea
    October 11, 2012 at 12:27 am

    At my work we use Ubuntu. Whilst I do not do this, you have 4 desktops by default with Ctrl+Alt+ArrowKey to slide to one of the four giving a number of productivity screens to one play screen, though audio still plays. Must go, boss is coming! LOL!

  7. Edwin Williams
    October 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    NICE! I'm going to use this right away!

  8. Joel Lee
    October 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    "Time-wasting websites." Sure. ;) Kidding aside, I'd look for an Opera counterpart but I don't ever need to quickly hide websites. Oh well. It's a useful plugin regardless!

  9. Alex Downs
    October 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I could definitely use this lol