How Browser Extensions Can Help You Be Productive and Have Fun
This is not the title of a new Michael Crichton novel, even though it sounds like it should be. This is an overview of the importance of browser extensions and how they can help you be more efficient and productive — and there is a list of my favorite fun and practical extensions.
With Britton Marketing & Design Group’s content strategy, content aggregation is part of the mix, and I will show how these tools — the ones that are almost only used by power users and developers — can be used in discovering content, refining content, collaborating on content, communicating, and helping you be more productive and healthy.
First, here’s the disclaimer. This list will cover only Chrome browser extensions. Chrome is the browser of choice for me. I‘ve dabbled in Safari, but I’m not a fan of its walled gardens. I’ve experimented with Firefox, but despite its robust developer tools, I can’t seem to move back to this past favorite. Edge? Are you kidding me? Opera? More like Nopera. One of the reasons why I am a Chromephile is that I am pretty much married to Google’s ecosystem. That helps.
So how can extensions help you be more productive? Well, since there’s about a million different ones out there, I will give you a little bit of a peek behind the curtain of how extensions help us collaborate and be productive. And I will share some fun ways we use extensions, too.
But first things first. What in the dang heck is a browser extension?
The Browser Extension Unearthed
What are browser extensions (which are also referred to as plug-ins, bookmarklets, and just plain extensions)? Well, they’re ways to enhance your browsing experience using native functionalities and added features of other applications.
Here’s how HowToGeek explains them: “Browser extensions extend your web browser with additional features, modify web pages, and integrate your browser with the other services you use.”
Trust the geeks. They know what they’re talking about. If you have any further questions about said browser extensions, the link above will explain it all 10 times better than I ever could.
Our Most Used Productivity and Practical Browser Extensions
Have you always dreamed of having your own little personal editor on staff? Someone who makes all of your little social posts, emails, and web-based interactions more grammatically accurate and eliminates those pesky spelling errors? If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, go ahead and create a Grammarly account and download this Grammarly extension. Enjoy an increase of 47 percent accuracy in all online interactions. (Ninety-five percent of the aforementioned stat was made up.)
Do you use web-based apps? Platforms? Social networks? Well, if you do (and literally almost everyone does), chances are that your favorite platform has a browser extension. Pinterest does. It makes it very easy to pin web pages directly to your boards. But there are about 50 more Pinterest-related extensions and apps. Just search Pinterest and take a look at what works for you.
Maybe you have a team of friends and coworkers that you work with. Maybe this small team isn’t as integrated as you would hope. Check out Dayboard for a clean, minimal to-do list that allows for a small team to stay up-to-date on each other’s tasks and workload.
Or maybe you have a team that focuses on content aggregation and discovery, and it’s imperative that everyone is on the same page. Enter Linky Dink. Not only is it a wonderful name but it is also a nice, quick way to curate web-based news and information into a daily automated email that is sent to the rest of your team. Linky Dink. Say it five times. You smiling?
For digital designers everywhere, this is your must-have extension. With Fontface Ninja you can find out what font is being used on any web page. It’s super handy and makes your typography life easier.
If you’re like me, every day is a challenge to beat your previous score of how many tabs you can have open in Chrome. If you’re like me, you also know what this does to the performance of your machine. Cue the Great Suspender (great name, btw) extension. It’s an extension that automatically suspends tabs that aren’t currently in use. It frees up some of the beautiful RAM, and it keeps your tab count high.
For my friends out there who manage social media for a living, this extension is definitely for you. TweetFired will repeatedly tell you that you’re only one tweet away from being fired. This is what it does. It gives you assistance when you need it. It gives you guidance in your darkest hour. TweetFired may be our only hope.
Another way to keep a team in the loop is to use the Flipboard Flip It extension to aggregate content into a specific (secret) magazine for your team. It’s a great way to collaborate and share actionable and targeted content that needs to be disseminated by a number of people.
Here’s one for the people that have various eye ailments, myself included. EyeCare is an extension that manages the health of your eyes by interrupting your work day with targeted messages and exercises to help your eyes recover and be as healthy as they can be in a world where all we do is stare at screens all day.
A good way to be aware and limit your online digital footprint is to use the app Ghostery. It’s an easy way to keep track of the websites that are keeping track of you. Turn the tables on those pesky cookie counters.
Do you travel internationally and get extremely bummed out when you can’t binge-watch your shows from abroad? Well, use this Netflix proxy extension to watch your Netflix anywhere in the world.
Maybe you’re just looking for some work-time motivation. If so, look no further. All you need to do is install this extension, and the next thing you know, you will have the world’s best motivational speaker, Shia LaBeouf, urging you that you can do it. You just have to do it. JUST DO IT! It’s super helpful.
The whole ad blocker thingie is big right now. And you know what? There’s an extension for that as well. Actually, there are a lot of them. AdRemover is one of the highest-rated ones. So go forth and eliminate the intrusions.
Product Hunt has a extension that opens a new tab right into its trending list. For those of you who are trend watchers and want to have the pulse on the new app, tech, meme, and more, this is a must install.
I’d be remiss if I skipped over telling you about Google Analytics Page Analytics (say that fast five times in a row!) extension. It’s great way to get a quick look at your various websites and their successes.
Our Favorite Fun Browser Extensions
For those of you who are so tired of hearing about the millennial generation, there’s a way that you can erase the word millennial from your web experience. Just use this extension that converts all of your millennial references into Snake People. I’m not really sure why, but it might be something you like.
Hey, girl! This one is for you. If you’re a Ryan Gosling fan (and really, who isn’t?), you can use this extension to serve up an image of Ryan Gosling instead of every other image on every other website you visit.
Many Donald “Drumpf” Extensions
Or if you’re tired of hearing about Donald Trump this and Donald Trump that, here’s a way to eliminate Trump from your web experience. There are a number of different extensions that allow you to change Trump to “my drunk uncle,” “Horsey McSnuffles,” “Donald Chump,” and a plethora of other variations that are too salty to mention.
Emoji. The newest true global language. Give it about 15 years, and we’ll be teaching proper emoji sentence structure in schools. Maybe. Either way, if you’re a power user of emojis, or want to become one, here’s the extension you need. Access to all the emojis, right in your browser. Voila!
There’s even one for you Game of Thrones fans! Install this extension to turn all the copy on your favorite websites into the language of our most lovable big oaf from the show. Hodor. Hodor! HODOR!
Spoiler alert: Hold the freaking door. Sad emoji-crying face.
Now, you might ask, How are any of these going to increase my productivity or my collaborative spirit? Well, they won’t. At least not the fun ones. Those were mere examples of fun things you can do to “funnerize” your dark and dreary work day. You remember fun, don’t you? Good.
But there’s absolutely a way to harness some of these other extensions, especially from a collaboration or productivity standpoint. The main thing is to try them out and see if they fit your workflow.
If not, deactivate, remove, and carry on.
Photos/Screenshots: The Great Suspender, Do It!, Product Hunt, Hey Girl!, Shutterstock, Evan Lorne for Shutterstock
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Originally published at /the-britton-blog/best-browser-extensions-for-productivity.