People look for productivity in odd places. They time themselves driving to work to save 20 seconds on their morning commute. Sometimes they skip lunch, which only serves to make them more distracted when 4:00 p.m. rolls around.
But are you in front of a web browser 8 hours a day? Then the place to really save time is right in your browser. With a few strategic downloads, you can get some cute 'lil plug-ins that'll save your life!
Here are some life-saving plugins and extensions you can use to save real time—whether you’re running Chrome or Firefox.
They might not cure diseases, but they'll definitely cure ailments in your business life.
1. Minimizing Distractions - StayFocusd and LeechBlock
Perhaps the gold standard in Google Chrome productivity suites, StayFocusd allows you to set limits on time-wasting websites, keeping you to minimal Facebook and Twitter time. You can also activate the “nuclear option,” which blocks all distracting websites for a pre-determined period you set yourself. If you need to concentrate for an hour, you set StayFocusd to the “nuclear option” and hunker down.
Firefox’s version of StayFocusd, LeechBlock, is just as effective at minimizing your favorite distractions. LeechBlock allows you entirely block certain websites at only specific hours of the day—so if it’s 10 a.m. and you know you should be doing work, you can prevent yourself from checking Instagram.
2. Managing Your Time - Google Calendar
Sure, you already know about Google Calendar, an easy, cloud-based method of keeping your appointments straight. But if you’ve always been a little annoyed with opening a new tab and typing in the Google Calendar address, logging in, and then being able to access your appointments, you can use a Chrome extension for a handy shortcut that integrates your calendar right in to your browser.
If you prefer Firefox, use Integrated Google Calendar.
Not only will you save a little time each day, but having your calendar handy will make it easier for you to mark down appointments and deadlines that you might have otherwise forgotten to track.
3. Checking Gmail - Mail Checker Plus and Gmail Manager
If you must—absolutely must—check your email a lot, then don’t let it become a distraction that leads to more distractions. Utilize Mail Checker Plus on Google Chrome so that your Gmail account is just a click away. This way, it won’t take longer than five seconds to realize that you have absolutely no reason to visit your Gmail.
You don’t have to be on Chrome to keep tabs on your email, either: Gmail Manager for Firefox is smooth and even lets you manage multiple accounts.
4. Save Articles for Later- Evernote
One errant click on a fascinating link on Yahoo! News will distract you far longer than you realize. It’s better to save your “free time” browsing for later, which you can do with Evernote.
But you can enhance your Evernote experience with Evernote Web Clipper, a Firefox extension that lets you save to Evernote without visiting the site itself. Evernote Clearly also lets you view long, multi-page links in one clear space, giving you the freedom to bunch your work together.
Don’t worry, Chrome users: you can have it too by connecting “Clearly” to Evernote.
5. Twitter Accessibility - Notifier, Twitbin, and Buffer
It’s easy to waste time on Twitter, which is why you’ll want to keep your time on it to a minimum. Even if using social media is part of your job, these extensions for Firefox and Chrome will help you use the platform more smoothly.
Buffer is an awesome one-- it allows you to save articles on the internet into a 'sharing dashboard' so they can automatically be shared from Twitter and Facebook.
Notifier for Twitter on Chrome allows you to keep tabs on your Twitter page without logging in, opening new tabs, and logging out. For Firefox, try Twitbin, a Twitter sidebar with many of the same functionality.
Extensions to help you out
So much of what you do is on the 'net, so take advantage of extensions that enhance your productivity, reduce distractions, and send you on your way to a more fruitful business life.
What Chrome and Firefox plug-ins do you find the most helpful? Have you tried any of these? Please share in the comments below!