No web browser on Earth is as popular as Google Chrome! While some grumble about it slowing down their computer or gobbling up data and standardizing the online experience, we all end up using it now and then even if it’s not our main browser. But if Chrome is the browser that you use for work everyday then you’ll want it to work as hard as possible for you. For many professionals, their browser is cockpit, dashboard, coalface, and telecommunications hub. Clearly, souping it up with awesome Chrome Extensions is going to have positive effects on your productivity.
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It’s taking people a while to realize that their browser is really just a foundation on which you can build an elaborate and fully-functioning workstation. We’re talking here about the addition of plug-ins and Chrome extensions that expand the capabilities of your web window.
Streamlining Your Email Experience
Web-based email is pretty common in business these days, especially up-and-coming independent businesses. It just seems to function a lot better with the way we lead our professional lives.
But accessing your email through your web browser does have its drawbacks. For one, your email is always calling out to you from an adjacent tab. It’s pretty easy to get distracted by an email task and totally lose the thread of what you were doing.
In fact, researchers found that it takes around a quarter of an hour to get your mind back on track after processing an incoming email. That’s a lot of wasted brain-power in a day.
Snooze Email can help: it’s like an auto-redial for your emails (sort of). If you’re using Google’s Inbox, just open your email when it comes in, then click Snooze and pick a time period. When this time has elapsed, the email will be sent to you anew – meaning you don’t have to deal with it the moment it originally appears, but you won’t forget about it, either.
Inbox When Ready is a Gmail function for those who want a hardcore solution to the problem of distracting emails. It lockboxes your email according to a schedule that you set, so your inbox is only visible when you want it to be. This can significantly lower your stress levels, and clear the path to achieving the tasks you set out to achieve.
But if email is actually at the heart of your work, hushing it for an hour or two might not be an option. In this case, you’re looking for something a bit more like Sortd For Gmail. This 3rd-party extension is described as “the first ever smart skin for Gmail” (eugh!) and it gives you power over the layout, structure, and workflow of your Google inbox. Finally, you have control over your mail tray again.
Chrome Extensions – Surfing Without Resistance
If your working day is more web -than email-centered, you’ll have a whole different type of distraction to cope with: ads, pop-ups, and comments. An extension such as Just Read or uBlock Origin will not only prevent these nuisances from popping up in your line of vision; by suppressing them altogether, they can make the websites you visit function more smoothly.
StayFocusd turns the tables on you. Sure, you get distracted by those ads and pop-ups – but aren’t we each our own worst enemy when it comes to wasting time on the internet? This Chrome extension allows you to identify the sites that you know you waste time on, and restrict the amount of time you can spend on them each day.
Keep A Track Of Your Research
The problem with the world wide web is… it’s a web. And once you get caught in it, it’s pretty hard to get out. One thread leads to another, and all that networked information does not lend itself to keeping a linear record of your research.
But before you get snowed-under with Post-Its or countless untitled .txt files, try an app like Evernote Web Clipper. Functioning within Chrome, it allows you to screenshot, annotate, and file the parts you need of the webpages you visit.
An alternative is Google’s own note-taking plugin, Keep. It’s like a scrapbook within your own browser, allowing you to make notes, lists, and even voice memos as you go. Handy if you’re working across different devices and wish to reconnect with what you noted while away from your desktop.
And just in case you think that note-taking doesn’t work for you, do bear in mind that you have a 34% chance of remembering something if you note it; just 5% if you don’t!
Work Together, Better
Everyone knows our species is in a pretty rotten place right now and we’ve got a lot of work to do to save our home planet and our society. It all begins with working together, and your professional business is no exception to that. If the internet can be isolating, separating remote workers across borders, it can also bring us together when used in the right spirit – and with the right tools.
One of these is Ziteboard, an online whiteboard that you can sync up and share in realtime across the internet. It’s a fantastic alternative to Skype, Slack, or email if you’re collaborating remotely, particularly since it takes the emphasis off the verbal and allows all kinds of minds to shine. And unlike a real whiteboard, you can export a pdf at the end!
Working more efficiently doesn’t need to mean squashing the life out of your daily practice. Browse, communicate, and collaborate with the right tools, and work can become both a creative and profitable enterprise.
See more of the top chrome extensions in the infographic below.