Does it feel like you just don’t as much done as you could? Too many systems, too many distractions, and too much information to track can make it difficult to really accomplish anything. But with a little fine tuning and the right plugins, you can turn your Web browser into a surprisingly efficient assistant-in-waiting. This is small business software worth downloading.
10 Productivity-boosting Browser Plugins
1. Site blockers
We list three plugins for one category, since the plugin you choose depends on which browser you use.
If you find yourself checking Facebook or surfing Twitter just a little too much, one of these site-blocking plugins can help you keep your habits in check and your productivity on the up-and-up.
Each plugin offers similar functionality: you can identify which sites you want to block (helpful if part of your job entails posting to social media networks or running price checks on competing shopping sites), and you can also schedule when to either allow or deny access to selected sites.
2. AdBlock Plus (multiple)
With some tweaking, many browsers do a decent job of blocking pop ups and other distracting content. But they don’t come close to the streamlined experience offered by AdBlock Plus, a plugin that takes care of banners and video ads, even those lurking within social media platforms.
3. LastPass (multiple)
Stop digging through piles of Post-its looking for the password to your business Twitter feed or your online bank account. LastPass not only takes care of tracking and entering passwords for the various sites you visit, it also generates stronger, more secure passwords so you can ditch any easily guessed login credentials or those you share across multiple sites.
4. Hootlet (multiple)
If keeping up with social media efforts in your business is a challenge, check out Hootsuite’s Hootlet plugin. It lets you quickly share online content with followers on multiple social networks. You can even schedule future posts right from the plugin.
5. Pocket (multiple)
There’s a lot of great stuff to read on the Web, but you can’t get through it all at once. The Pocket plugin gives you aa way to save articles and other online content for later perusal. No more emailing Web links to yourself. Pocket syncs across multiple desktop and mobile platforms, letting you quickly save pages in a Web browser and then read them later on your device of choice.
6. Taco (Chrome)
The Taco extension brings your scattered tasks into one easy-to-review place. View data from an extensive list of services—including Todoist, Google, Evernote, Basecamp—for a quick glance at what you need to do next.
7. ScribeFire (multiple)
Rather than firing up your blog, save some time and fire up ScribeFire. With APIs for a variety of blogging platforms, including LiveJournal and WordPress, the ScribeFire plugin lets small businesses go to one place to create and post content to all of their blogs. You can even edit previous posts and schedule content for later posting.
8. Save File To (Firefox)
Don’t waste any more time scrounging around for a file you downloaded off the Web. Did you save it to your desktop? Is it still sitting in the default download folder? The Save File To plugin lets you guide downloaded files and links straight into your preferred location.
9. Pushbullet (multiple)
Like Pavlov’s dog, we react whenever we hear our smartphones make a noise. The Pushbullet plugin makes that response more efficient by letting you view your phone’s notifications—phone calls, text messages, etc.—right on your computer. Pushbullet also lets you send links from your computer straight to your phone, eliminating the need to send yourself a bunch of emails.
10. RescueTime (multiple)
Not sure how productive your day has actually been? RescueTime has a plugin that can answer the question for you. It monitors how much time you spend on each site, categorizes each location visited and then provides a rating that shows how productive or distracting your day turned out to be.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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