Are you having trouble maintaining your focus at work? Do you find yourself looking back at the end of the day wondering where all the hours melted away? This can become especially challenging when you’re working from home or otherwise away from the office, because you are presented with infinite opportunities for procrastination and distraction.
Seeing how so much of what we do happens through the cloud and in a web browser these days, it only makes sense that some of the best solutions around happen to be productivity Chrome extensions. They’re all free to download, integrate seamlessly into your workflow, and guide you back on the straight and narrow to keep you on track to get the job done.
The “new tab” page in Google Chrome can be very useful, highlighting some of your most visited or recently visited websites, as well as a Google search bar and access to a variety of Google shortcuts. But what if you could leverage that “new tab” as a productivity hack too? The Momentum extension replaces the “new tab” with a page that shows your to-do list, as well as words of inspiration and a “daily focus.” This way, every time you think about visiting another website, you’re reminded of what it is you really should be doing today instead of veering off on some tangent on Facebook or Reddit. It’s like having a daily vision board front and center.
The basic premise behind Be Limitless is very similar to that of Momentum in that it replaces the default “new tab” page in Google Chrome. It can also provide you with a to-do list, as well as a smart notepad. What makes it different is that it can also track where you are spending your time. How many minutes were spent reading news sites, watching videos, or editing inside of Google Docs? These analytics can be referenced on for today, the week, month, year, or overall. You might be surprised how much of your day was spent on Facebook or YouTube. And like Momentum, the beautiful pictures help keep you motivated and inspired too.
The notion of a customized homepage isn’t new, but its popularity has seemingly fallen to the wayside in recent years. Not as many people are using the Yahoo! start page and the iGoogle homepage discontinued a few years ago. You can still leverage that utility through handle productivity Chrome extensions like the suitably named iChrome. It borrows a lot of its design and functionality inspiration from the defunct iGoogle, including the ability to implement widgets for your RSS reader, calendar, weather, news, stocks, bookmarks and more. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to get done.
Harvest Time Tracker
If you want to take your time tracking to another level, consider the Harvest Time Tracker extension for Chrome. As its name implies, it ties into the existing Harvest application that is already being used by teams all around the world. What’s great is that it integrates into project management and other apps that you might already be using, including Basecamp, Trello, and GitHub. Using the extension, you can start and end timers at will, diving into your analytics to see how much time is spent doing what. If you’re looking for a slightly different approach, you might want to look at the third-party Hayfever for Harvest plugin that is also used for time tracking via the Harvest API.
Self-control and self-discipline can be elusive at the best of times. You might start your day with the best of intentions, only to fall down the bottomless pit of Twitter flame wars and funny cat videos on YouTube. Protect yourself from yourself with Block Site, a Chrome extension that does exactly what its name indicates. You simply add the site that you’d like to block, including the ability to set when such a block should and should not be enabled, and that’s it. The next time you try to visit YouTube, it’ll say you blocked the site from yourself. And if you think you’re going to outsmart yourself with Incognito mode, Block Site is enabled there too.
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