All Google Chromes are equal, but some are more equal than others. Is your browser just a browser, or can it do your work for you?
If you use Chrome for your online work, you can probably get by with just the standard-issue browser, but you don’t have to. There’s a huge number of extensions available to turn your Chrome browser into an all-purpose productivity tool.
These extensions are like apps but they don’t take up as much of your computer’s resources, so they won’t slow down your activity. They just give you all the tools you need for your work without having to leave your browser.
Check out these nine productivity extensions. They’ll help you get motivated, organize your projects, manage your email, plan your work day, figure out your priorities and stay focused.
Taco is like a one-stop shop for all your organizational needs. It’s a new tab dashboard extension that consolidates more than 40 other services, including Gmail, Google Tasks, Trello, Basecamp, Asana and Wunderlist.
It allows you to bring all your tasks onto your new tab, prioritize them and select which ones to focus on. You can work on them without having to open each app separately.
You can filter them by task, or have Taco block all but a few that are your top priority.
Plus, it actually loads faster than the default Chrome first page.
If you’re looking for an easy, simple and fast note-taking service, I recommend Google Keep’s Chrome extension.
With just one button on my browser, I can quickly and easily take my notes, without a clutter of extra features and formats to distract me.
You can also use it to save web pages and images, along with notes and labels, and sync them across all your platforms.
Do you often find yourself with 20 different tabs open and you can’t find the one you want?
If you’re a chronic multitasker, first maybe you should try to change your habits. There’s a lot of scientific research showing that multitasking actually slows down brain function. You might feel at the time like you’re getting a lot done, but it’s usually just an illusion caused by excess stimulation.
In the long run, it will even decrease your memory and concentration.
But if you have to keep a lot of tabs open, you can still clean up your act and stay more focused with OneTab. It converts all your tabs into a list of bookmarks, so you can easily look through them.
In the process, it saves up to 95% of memory that your computer is using. Good for your gray matter and your RAM!
Mercury Reader is designed to make your online reading easier and more efficient.
Most webpages are packed with extra stuff that pulls you away from the actual content. Ads, social media buttons, search bars, subscription widgets, recommendations… Even if you don’t interact with them, they clutter up the page, making it harder to stay focused on what you’re there for.
Mercury Reader clears up the page with one click, leaving you with a clean page of only text and images.
The first time I used it, it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, I can relax and just read the article! Without the bells and whistles, you can enjoy reading more and absorb the information better.
Limestone is my favorite new tab dashboard extension for Chrome. It combines aesthetics with functionality, elegant design with an array of useful organizational and time-management tools.
The most striking feature is definitely the gorgeous wallpaper images. In terms of beauty, creativity and wide selection, Limestone’s backgrounds are a step up from most other apps.
The design is clean and relatively sparse, but for that it’s surprisingly customizable.
- Search bar that accesses all the major search engines, plus YouTube, Amazon, eBay and many other sites
- Personal greeting
- New motivational quote every day
- Top links
- To-do list
- Local time and weather
It also gives the option of receiving Gmail notifications as a pop-up box on the top right corner of your screen. These will appear even when you’re not using Chrome.
Limestone is both useful and motivational. The extension is free but there’s no putting a price on moments of inspiration!
There are plenty of apps and extensions for blocking distracting websites, but StayFocusd might be the most flexible and customizable.
With this extension, you allot a certain amount of time to a website, over a set time period, and once you pass that limit StayFocusd will block the site for the rest of the day (or however long you specify).
You can also block the sites starting immediately or at a set time, or block everything except specific allowed sites.
It allows you to block entire sites or just specific subdomains, pages, or even parts of a page, like videos or images.
And in case you chicken out and want to disable the system, it will force you to complete some annoying tasks first.
This extension is based on the Pomodoro Technique, a popular productivity method developed by Francesco Cirillo.
It’s a neat hack for two types of people: those who have trouble staying focused on a single task, or those who tend to get too caught up, forget their breaks and burn out.
The idea is simple. Work single-mindedly on your chosen task for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. After four sessions, take a longer break for 15 or 20 minutes.
Strict Workflow is basically a timer for this system, but it combines it with a blacklist or whitelist to keep you off distracting sites.
It’s easy to use and impossible to stop the timer once it’s started, so you’re committed to staying focused.
Noisli is a beautiful solution if you’re working in a loud environment or you just get easily distracted by sounds.
It plays a selection of sounds like rain, thunder and other nature sounds. The white noise is soothing and helps you focus in any environment.
Todoist is a compact, versatile to-do list manager with a bunch of useful features. It’s incorporated right into your browser toolbar. It synchs across multiple devices and pairs with several apps, including Zapier, Google Calendar and Slack.
Some of what you can do with Todoist:
- Save websites as tasks for later
- Set priorities and manage your schedule for the next seven days
- Manage your tasks offline
- Organize your tasks by project, sub-category, priority, etc.
- Visualize your progress with colorful graphs
The interface is clean, simple and straightforward. It might not be complicated enough for elaborate projects, but for day-to-day tasks it’s probably one of the best.
Here is an infographics to express the data in this articales:
I’m just scratching the surface here. These are a few of my favorite productivity extensions, but there are plenty more for you to explore.
Remember that at the end of the day, all of these tools are just, well, tools. The deciding factor in how productive you are is you. When you develop the right habits and concentration, more efficiency will come naturally.
Still, these will all point you in the right direction.