8 Best Chrome Extensions To Speed Up Your Workflow
Now that Microsoft has totally given up hope for Internet Explorer — dare we say, (loading…) finally — it’s a good time to also rethink Safari, Firefox or whatever browser you’re reading this on if it’s not Google Chrome.
By now, we’re pretty confident you’ve heard about Chrome. It’s by far the most-used web browser in the world. Thanks to Google’s browser add-ons — better known as Chrome extensions — it’s also one that thousands of people are using to accelerate their work processes every single day.
If you’re ready to flip on your productivity and keep it on throughout the day, read on to learn about the eight best Chrome extensions we’ve discovered for work. But first, we’ll explain what the heck these add-ons even are.
What are Google Chrome extensions exactly?
Google Chrome extensions are mini software programs that work with the browser to provide added functionality. Each extension you add will serve a specific purpose, whether it’s blocking ads, managing passwords or changing the word “millennials” to “snake people” on your webpages.
To install a Chrome extension, all you need to do is head to the Chrome Web Store, select the add-on you want and tap “Add to Chrome.” It will automatically appear next to your address bar for you to set up (if needed) and use.
While other browsers may offer similar add-ons, Google offers well over 150,000 Chrome extensions. This means you can find add-ons that fit perfectly with your work day and help you work more efficiently.
Eight best Chrome extensions for workplace productivity
With thousands of options out there, it can be overwhelming to hunt down and read about all the productivity add-ons around. To give you a solid starting point, we’ve compiled the eight free Chrome extensions for work below.
1. Mindful Browsing
Purpose: Nudging you off distracting sites
Distractions are everywhere on the internet, making it easy to lose focus at any moment. Just by opening a new tab and hopping on Twitter or Facebook, you may find yourself scrolling through an hour’s worth of content.
Mindful Browsing gives you gentle reminders to hop off unproductive sites and get back to work. Once you have this Chrome extension installed, just set the websites you want to avoid and Mindful Browsing will check in if you want to stay on every 10 minutes. It’s the work version of Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” that you’ll actually want to see.
This Google Chrome extension also uses beautiful, serene nature photographs to get you off distracting websites, so there’s no way this add-on can tick you off.
2. Just Read
Purpose: Removing distractions from web pages
Even when you’re scrolling through the websites you need to be on, there can still be distractions that keep you from working at max efficiency. Just Read is an all-in-one Chrome extension that can remove ads, pop-ups, comments and even page styling in just one click.
Whenever you’re reading an article, Just Read will simplify the webpage as much as you want, so you can speed through the content you want to focus on. This simplified web content is also printable, so you won’t have a big fat Pepto-Bismol ad on top of your research paper printout.
Just want a few things removed? Enter deletion mode and select exactly what you’re tired of seeing.
Purpose: Speeding up your writing process
When you’re writing content for your blog, social media posts, or website, a little planning and research is often needed. But keeping track of all the information you want to use for your projects can be hard.
The Airstory Chrome extension works directly with the Airstory platform — a free collaboration tool for teams to write articles and share notes — to help you compile research with your coworkers or employees.
Using this extension, you can clip in any interesting text or images you find on the web during your research. Airstory will instantly send the clip to your desired Airstory project, including the URL for easy citation. No more accidental plagiarism here!
Purpose: Improving your grammar
Ever had one of those days when its, its’ and it’s all blur together? Innocent grammar mistakes happen all the time, but when you’re trying to impress a potential client or land a new partnership, they can appear careless.
Grammarly is the best Chrome extension for anyone who wants to perfect their written communications. Once it’s installed, Grammarly will catch mistakes in your text before you blast out an email or social media post for hundreds to see.
It’s not just a spell check. It’ll also let you know when you’re using repetitive words or weak adjectives, and explain potential writing issues to help you learn. A newer Grammarly feature also helps detect tone, so before you send a big “f*ck you” to your boss before quitting your 9-to-5, this Google Chrome extension will save your future job reference by suggesting a friendlier “thank you.”
Purpose: Creating the perfect work environment
Whether it’s time for deep focus or time to wind down after a stressful day, Noisli will help you create the ambiance for your workplace needs through sound.
By tapping on this Chrome extension, you can quickly create the perfect sound combinations for you to stay on track, boost your mood or fully relax. You can then save these custom sound combos to pull up whenever you need background noise to help you out — no switching to your Spotify app needed.
Just put on your earbuds to get in the right headspace and take them out whenever you’re ready to collaborate with your coworking space pals again.
Purpose: Keeping your browser organized
We’re all a little guilty of opening a few extra tabs at once… then adding another… and another… then 1,000 more. At some point, your poor tab opening choices will cause you to get distracted or spend more time searching for the right tab than actually using it.
xTab is the best Chrome extension for browser tab hoarders to have. Once installed, xTab allows you to limit how many tabs you have open, so you can make smart decisions about what tabs you really need. When you reach your self-set tab limit, xTab will help you make your choice by showing you your oldest and least accessed tabs.
Yes, you really do need to exit out of that Wikipedia page you know will send you down a tab-crazy rabbit hole.
Purpose: Saving your passwords (securely)
We all know “Password123” is a terrible passcode, but “HK$FSL43!O7” can be a bit hard to remember. Instead of saving every password on an Excel spreadsheet — which is both inefficient and unsecure — we recommend using the LastPass Chrome extension instead.
LastPass is a free password manager that acts as a vault for all of your usernames, passcodes and even credit card information. When you need to log in to a website, just type in your master password — the only one you’ll ever need to remember — and LastPass will autofill your login information on your behalf.
LastPass keeps all of your sensitive login details highly encrypted, so you won’t have to worry about stolen information or remembering your anniversary. (Never get yelled at again!)
Purpose: Managing your time
One minute can quickly turn into one hour lost if you’re not careful about how you’re spending your time. Often, we’re not even aware that we’re wasting time!
RescueTime is a time tracking tool that can show you exactly how you’re spending your time on your Google Chrome browser. With RescueTime, you can get a detailed breakdown of how long you were spending on certain tabs or sites during your workday. This way, you can find out what’s keeping you from maximum efficiency.
RescueTime can also rank sites based on their level of productivity, so you can add distracting sites to your Mindful Browsing extension — it all comes full circle.
Boost your productivity
Google Chrome extensions are great digital tools for enhancing your focus and helping you master your workflow. Think of them as real-life shortcuts that may actually boost the quality of your work.
If you want to enhance your work processes beyond your browser, don’t let your use of online tools stop there. Read up on our favorite productivity tools next to supercharge your work efficiency.