First off, download Google Chrome and try it out. I’m not even going to explain why because by the time you’ve read all the reasons you could’ve installed it already.
So! I’m incredibly organised (I’ll just throw that out there) and the internet and I get along. I should really say software and I get along but we kind of don’t. Mainly because I’m never satisfied with the tech I have and am always searching for more more more (and I’m not afraid to pay for the convenience of such but all these extension in this post are free free free). And knowing that the biggest obstacle with working online is time management, I thought I’d share with you what makes my day tick along smoothly – which invariably comes down to the Chrome extensions that I use.
Entertainment – Ex.Fm
I need to work to music, but I’m very particular about what I can and cannot listen to which is why I’ve created an Ex.Fm station with over 900 songs that range from chiptune to shoegaze and ambient rock to plain ol’ techno. It’s the first extension I turn on in the morning and the last one I turn off at night (when the wife comes home and wants glorious silence). I’m not saying you should listen to my songs or that you’ll like any of them, but curating what goes into your aural passageways can be the difference between distraction and motivation to work (for those of you that work in offices, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones are a wise investment and serves the duel purpose of stopping people bothering you every five minutes with an anecdote that they saw on television the night before).
Screen captures – Pixlr Grabber
You’re going to need to take screenshots at some point – its inevitable. So instead of pressing the ‘Print Screen’ button on your keyboard and pasting the massive image in Photoshop and then cropping it, saving it and uploading or sending it, just click the extension, resize the boxing window to what you want to capture and save it. Done.
Passwords – Password Box
I’ve used all the old school password managers out there and constantly had to open up new windows, type in passwords to get passwords and copy and paste passwords for the sake of passwords. Yea, I know. But then PasswordBox came along and changed the way passwords are collected (automatically) and used to open up sites, especially social media sites like Twitter (also automatically). I recommend this extension on the BTEC for Social Media for Business course because its so convenient and will save you time, but I once had a student ask if it was ‘secure’ to which I had to reply, nothing is secure. Its the internet.
Press – ClippPR
I mentioned ClippPR in a previous post about managing your brand mentions online and engaging with your audience over time. The service is great simply because of this browser extension and the automatic way it adds newsworthy articles to your ‘notebooks’. You can even use this service for research and clip any articles into your notebook for later. The best thing about this extension is the are reserved for notes which allows you to directly cite quotes from the article for reference later.
Google apps – Shortcuts for Google
If you’re anything like me you refer to Google a lot. This involves you typing into your search bar ‘gmail.com’ or another service to get you to your starting page only then to have to scroll along the top black bar for the service you want (like Drive for your documents). That’s too many steps. Shortcuts for Google is two clicks and you’re into any one of Google’s services that you wish.
Email – Checker Plus for Gmail
I kind of died a little inside when I found this extension just the other day. Not because its bad, but because its just so good that I had to kick myself for not finding it sooner. So email is complicated at the best of times. I have Mailbox on my iPhone which allows me to swipe messages away and clear my inbox (or my to-do list which is what I now call it). But that’s only a good solution if you keep your phone right next to you at all times – even when you’re on the PC. Email comes in, your phone beeps, you put in your password, open up mail and there it is. That’s four steps too many. Checker Plus for Gmail alerts you when email comes in to any inbox you’re currently signed into (I have 6 email accounts) and if you’re not typing or playing music, it actually reads the email title and first few sentences aloud to you. You can easily mark them read or delete them without ever having to go into Gmail again (oh, you can compose emails too and a myriad other things). Checker Plus for Gmail… I love you.
Exercise – Timer
You should not be sitting on your ass for more than 25 minutes at a time. Period. Timer is a simple yet effective solution to that. I follow the Pomodoro technique that uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called “pomodori” (from the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”), separated by short breaks. Ever twenty-five minutes my Timer goes off and I get down and do 10 push ups on the mat I have in my office. Its good for my muscles and brain / eyes (they NEED a break and believe it or not, taking a short 3 minute break will actually help your productivity in the long run).
But more than all those things I get to pretend I’m Ron Burgundy.
Content sharing – Buffer
Okay, don’t tell Hootsuite or Postcron but I’ve secretly switched over to Buffer for all my social media scheduling. Why? The answer is simple; Facebook pictures. Big pictures (not links or link previews) get the most attention on Facebook. You scroll through your feed, you stop at pictures, you read their description and you click on an outbound link if you like what you see. That’s how it works.
Hoosuite doesn’t allow you to schedule Facebook picture updates (its the one thing they’re missing and the most important). So I moved over to Postcron who do that exceptionally well. But Postcron don’t allow LinkedIn and G+ scheduling so over I hopped to Buffer which does all of those things. Its nothing personal guys. And rest assured, I miss you.
Do you have any extension that you think I should use? Let me know in the comments.
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