How to Use Google Chrome to Boost Your Productivity

When you think of productivity enhancers, fancy planners, calendars, and task management systems probably come to your mind.

Nicole Peery
May 31, 2019 · 5 min read
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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

But what if you could use a tool we usually see as a distraction machine to boost your productivity? I want to show you how I use my web browser of choice, Google Chrome, to stay organized and on point with the things on my to-do list.

Open Your Most Used Sites Automatically

To resist the temptation of clicking over to Pinterest or lolcats.com as soon as you open your browser, set Chrome up so it opens the sites and apps that make you most productive.

To do this, go to Settings and under On Startup, choose Open a specific page or set of pages. You can add which pages you’d like to open by clicking Set pages.

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Set up Google Chrome to open your productivity promoting websites automatically

I have mine set to open my calendar, an extension called Momentum (which we’ll get to next), Asana for my daily to-do list, and my favorite background noise generator (more about that later, too).

Use A Start Page

Chrome is a powerful browser, but if we’re being honest the new tab page is a borefest. I like to use an extension called Momentum instead of the default new tab page.

Momentum shows you a nice photo, the current weather, an inspirational quote, and it calls you by name.

Also, you can search the web from Momentum and add your favorite links. There’s even an option for a simple to-do list and cross-device syncing.

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Momentum start page. Search, weather, bookmarks, and to-do list in a non-distracting interface

Limit Distractions

Productivity Owl

Despite your best efforts, sometimes the urge to check Twitter or reddit will creep up on you while you’re trying to work. To keep the time suck from distracting websites at a minimum, check out Productivity Owl.

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Productivity Owl says “no!” to me browsing reddit during focus time

Set up your free hours in this extension and when it’s time to work, the owl will give you a certain number of seconds at a no-no site before it closes the tab on you.

Productivity Owl comes with a lot of customization options and even a page saver so you can go back to the article or cute cat picture you were trying to look at when the owl scolded you.

Pocket

Has anyone ever sent you a link that’s way more interesting than whatever you’re trying to get done at the time? With the Pocket extension, you can save those links to read later.

From your pocket account, you can view your saved links on any device. It even comes with tagging and sharing options so you can find and share content.

uBlock

Keep your web browsing and working experience clutter and distraction free with this ad blocking extension. uBlock makes it easy to block and unblock sites and it isn’t a huge resource user like some of the other ad blocking programs available.

Stay Organized

OneTab

Do you have 102 tabs open at any given time? Does it make you feel lost and overwhelmed?

Use the OneTab extension to wrangle your tabs and still keep them accessible. When you click the OneTab button, it condenses all of your open tabs into a less distracting and more organized list.

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Use the OneTab extension for Chrome to keep an organized list of tabs at hand

Clean Up The Bookmarks Bar

Chrome has a helpful bookmarks bar on the main interface so you can access your favorite bookmarks quickly, but it can get cluttered and confusing if you’ve got a lot of sites on it.

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Simple icons in my bookmarks bar

One way you can clean up your bookmarks bar is by removing the site titles. You can remove titles by right-clicking each bookmark and choosing edit or by opening the bookmarks manager in the settings menu.

You can also create folders in your bookmarks bar by right clicking on the bar and choosing Add Folder. Move your bookmarks into the folders and enjoy a more organized web browsing experience.

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Bookmarks bar with organized folders

Set The Mood And Implement The Structure

Noisli

I love music, but there are times when it can distract me rather than help me get work done. That’s why instead of Spotify or Pandora, I ask Chrome to open Noisli and start playing my favorite saved sounds automatically each morning.

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To create a favorite in Noisli, click on the icons for the sounds you’d like to hear. Then click the star icon on the left-hand menu. Click Save Combo and you can name it anything you’d like.

To make your favorite sounds play when you open your browser, click the share arrow on the right side of your favorites. Choose get combo by link and add the link to your Chrome startup pages.

TimeDoser

This app gives you a Pomodoro-like timer that allows you to break your work time into manageable chunks. Unlike some other timers, TimeDoser is nice to look at and doesn’t get in your way.

TimeDoser allows you to customize your work and break times to intervals that work best for you and the work you’re doing. I use it not only to keep me on task, but also to remind me to get up and walk away from my desk once in a while.

While I use Google Chrome for my work on the web, many of the things I mentioned above are available for other browsers as well. I hope this post gave you some ideas for tools and extensions you can work into your current routine. Thanks for reading!

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Nicole Peery

Written by

Front-end web developer | Desert dweller | Artist | Small space live-r | I write about web development, outdoor adventures, remote work, & more. www.nicolep.me

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +755K people. Follow to join our community.

Nicole Peery

Written by

Front-end web developer | Desert dweller | Artist | Small space live-r | I write about web development, outdoor adventures, remote work, & more. www.nicolep.me

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +755K people. Follow to join our community.

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