Raise your hand if you would like to be a little less productive. Anyone?
It is logical to think that most of us would like to be able to get more work done in less time. Maybe your web browser can help. The Google Chrome Web Store contains hundreds of apps categorized under Productivity. It would not be a very efficient use of your time to sort through all those apps, trying to find the ones that would be most helpful to you. In fact, that could wreck several hours of your time. It would be more productive to read on and learn about the 10 Best Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Productivity:
When you are on your business’s Facebook account responding to customer comments, and you scroll by a link to an interesting article that has the potential to take you off-course, you can put it in your “pocket” for later. This app allows you to easily save articles, videos, recipes, web pages, and other online content all in one place. You do not have to text yourself a link or clutter-up your Bookmarks. The contents of your pocket can be viewed on any device, even without internet connectivity, so you can view it on a plane, at your kid’s soccer practice, or anywhere at your convenience, and you can stay on track now by saving distractions for later. Pocket is free, and there is a paid Pocket Premium version that creates a tag-enabled library for all the content you save.
Clutter is distracting and annoying. Evernote’s Clearly app removes the sidebars and flashy ads from blog posts and articles and makes them tidy and easy to read. It turns multi-page articles into a lovely, seamless, single scroll. And, you can tag articles and highlight text so you can easily find the important stuff later. When you connect Clearly with your Evernote account, you can sync content with all your computers and mobile devices. This app can clearly help you maintain focus.
The traditional to-do list is the beacon of productivity. The Todoist plug-in takes the list off the pad of paper or the marker board, and brings it online to Chrome to keep you organized and on-task across all your devices. It lets you manage your tasks from your browser toolbar, has a built-in calendar, and sends you reminders. Your tasks can have subtasks, and your projects can have sub-projects. Free Todoist does a fantastic job of managing what needs to get done; Todoist Premium ($29/year) also enables you to assign tasks to others, receive location alerts when arriving at or leaving a location, search the task list by keyword, add emails as tasks, and much more. Consider adding ‘download & install Todoist’ to your to-do list.
Do you plan to have a super-productive work day, right after you check and answer your personal emails, Tweet a deep thought, look at your friend’s latest selfies on Instagram, check airline prices for your upcoming trip, and catch-up on your Facebook newsfeed? StayFocusd is a highly configurable Chrome app that lets you set time limits for entire sites or parts of sites, including in-page content such as videos or games. You will still need to exercise self-discipline to not open a different browser, but this is a helpful step in the right direction of staying focused.
It’s like an awesome mixing board for ambient sounds, which can help you block out distracting noises (or deafening silence) in your work environment and stay productive. You can design a custom combination of wind, rain, thunderstorm, crackling fire, running water, blowing fans, or even the familiar sounds of a busy coffee shop. Noisli also lets you set a timer to keep track of your work time. The ambient sound machine can be run from their website, but as a Chrome extension, it is quick, convenient, and does not require an extra tab which might accidentally get closed.
It is an exhilarating feeling to check off a completed task. iDoneThis turns your to-do list into a daily sharable “done list.” At the end of each work day, iDoneThis will email you to ask what you got done that day. Reply with quick bullet points of your accomplishments, and the following morning you and your team will get an email summarizing everyone’s progress. What better way kickstart a new, productive day than to review the previous day’s successes? You can then ‘like’ and comment on your teammates’ accomplishments in real-time, which is great for team-building. iDoneThis helps with self-accountability, team accountability, and can drastically decrease time spent in status meetings.
Would you like not to type ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’? OK! Shortcut it to ‘mrle’ and Auto Text Expander will do the rest for you. This Chrome extension lets you define keyboard shortcuts that will expand and replace text as you type. Your shortcuts are synced across all the Chrome browsers to which you sign-in. While the time-savings of a few keystrokes may not seem like much, it can speed up your workflow and help you avoid typos.
When your browser is your main workspace, it is easy to open so many tabs that everything slows to the speed of molasses. OneTab can keep Chrome running faster, reduce clutter, and save up to 95% of working memory. By clicking on the OneTab icon, all your tabs are condensed into a list. When you need them, you can re-open them individually or all at once. The list can be exported as a list of URLs so that you can share with other people or devices. And if you accidentally close the OneTab window, or your browser or computer must be restarted unexpectedly, the OneTab window is easily restored.
Here is the reality check to shame you into focusing on your work. Time Stats tracks the sites you visit and the time that you spend on each site. You can view graphs of daily and monthly statistics, most visited domains, and days that you spend the most time browsing the web. You can also make custom groups of frequently visited sites, such as ‘blogs’ and ‘social media’ so you can learn exactly how you spend your time. If you are a web surfer or social media fan, this might be a better tool for self-assessment than for sharing with your manager.
Waste less time checking notifications on your various devices by connecting them with your Chrome browser using PushBullet. This app displays notifications on your computer screen when you get a call on your smartphone, or a message via SMS, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger. It will also let you reply to text messages from your browser. Not having to type or swype and correct the autocorrect on your touchscreen device can certainly save you a bit of time and aggravation. PushBullet also enables you to wirelessly send images, links, music, and other files from your browser to your own and your friends’ mobile devices.
These download and install in a quick minute, so you will not lose much productivity by getting them setup, and then you may see your focus and efficiency improve by using them. What is your favorite Chrome extension in the Productivity category? Have you tried any of these and found them helpful?