Boss Lady

Infographic: 27 Chrome extensions to streamline your workflow


There’s no place like Chrome, huh? Millions of us use Google’s internet browser for everyday work and play, and if it’s a bit heavy on the old processors, Chrome benefits from the connectivity and cutting-edge tech of its developers.

But what a lot of professionals fail to realize is that, in addition to its common or garden browsing facilities, Chrome possesses the potential to be something a little more… more. Plug-ins and extensions make for a modular browser that can do just about anything you want it to do – if you think to think of it!

So before you continue with your daily work, take a look at how these extensions from 3rd-party developers and Google themselves can make the most mundane of tasks just a little more achievable.

How to browse without getting lost

It all starts with browsing. Whether you’re doing in-depth research, fact-checking, or just dialing in to get a quick query answered, it’s pretty straightforward to tap your search query into the URL bar and get Google’s patented search engine on the job.

Well, that part is straightforward. But staying on the straight and narrow once you get online is notoriously difficult. Two-thirds of us admit to using non-work related websites during work hours. (It’s fair to say the other third just won’t admit it). Too many distractions. Too many alternatives. Too many temptations.

You can use an extension such as Stay Focusd to avoid the latter. It allows you to quarantine websites of your choice where you know you waste time. Add it to your browser, and you can set a pre-allotted limit for how long you spend on those website each day. After that, Stay Focusd shuts you out. (Hint: you can use another extension such as Toggl Button to figure out which websites you’re wasting the most time on in the first place.)

For those distractions for which your wandering mind is not to blame, you have Just Read and uBlock Origin.

Just Read is ideal for those who find a lot of today’s web design too noisy. If you want to get to the meat, install Just Read and click the icon whenever you arrive on a page where the content is being out-shouted by ads, links, and graphics. You’ll be presented, instead, with a page that you can… just read.

And uBlock is an ad blocker with clout. By collating some of the best filters on the web, it allows you to hide all manner of cunning distractions from the websites you visit. The unexpected bonus to this is not only does it clear your field of view, it makes your browser run faster. Win-win for productivity!

Next level internet: using your browser as a creative tool

More and more professionals are turning to their browser as their main office tool. With Google Drive, Docs, Sheets etc. at home in Chrome, there’s not much standard office work you can do outside of the browser that you wouldn’t be able to do within it.

But if you’re nervous of losing your work due to a fragile Wi-Fi connection or the capricious behavior of your internet window, worry no longer: Typio Form Recovery saves your form data locally as you type, which means you can restore it after a crash without anyone else’s servers getting their mitts on it in the meantime.

Online work is not just about filling in forms and dialogue windows, though. You’ll also want to making clippings, connections, and juxtapositions, just like in the good old days of magazines and Sellotape or books and Post-Its.

Extensions such as Evernote or Google’s own Keep make it easy to take notes, clip images, and create lists. ‘Keep’ overlaps a little – but just a little – with Writer, a stylish retro interface that harks back to the simplest days of computing: some time between the age of circuits-for-interfaces and that of overly-complex applications. With Writer, it’s just you and words, with no ads. You can change the color of your text and background, export pdfs, and set writing goals, but other than that it’s plain sailing.

And let’s not forget that titan of online text-smithery:  Grammarly. Regular users may be accustomed to using the Grammarly web portal or desktop app, but don’t forget there’s a browser extension version, too. Over ten million people use it to keep their typos and grammar blind spots to a minimum: with Grammarly’s help we might one day eliminate people writing ‘lose’ as ‘loose’ altogether.

Your email isn’t the boss of you

Every morning you hit the (virtual) office with the best of intentions to hit your productivity targets before lunch. Your first mistake is to open your inbox. Your second mistake is to leave it open. Like Pandora’s Box, all kinds of chaos will issue from that foul portal.

It takes fifteen minutes to get your focus back after responding to an incoming email. And people who check their email more than three times a day are more stressed than those who play hard-to-get. Are they checking their email because they have a stressful mail life, or are they stressed because they’re splitting their productivity in too many directions?

Your first step is to figure out what kind of email life you want, within the parameters of your job. Analyze how frequently you need to actually be aware of new emails – how urgent they are and how many you get. And then put the tools to work.

Snooze Email is a Gmail Inbox function that works quite wonderfully: click ‘snooze’ on an incoming message and Google will send it away into the abyss again, to return at a time that you deem reasonable. For those who can afford to leave their email unchecked for hours at a time, Inbox When Ready allows you to start batch processing your emails rather than dealing with them as-and-when. It simply locks your inbox for allotted periods so that you don’t get ‘refresh fever’ when you should be working on something else.

Now you’ve modded your Chrome browser, there’s little you can’t achieve – and in good time, too. For a few more tips on how extensions can help you get the best from Chrome, check out this new visual guide from OnStride.

About John Cole

John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.

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