Top 10 Chrome Extensions for Productivity

The following extensions have the potential to be useful to everyone. They are not developer specific. I’ll be writing a separate article on the best extensions for developers soon.

1. Focus Mode

Ever find yourself on Facebook with no memory of how you got there? When my brain craves a distraction, I find myself habitually meandering away from work to four or five distracting social media and news sites, like a poorly designed automaton.

Thankfully, Focused Mode has solved that problem for me. You can block as many distracting URLs as you want and even track the number of distraction attempts in a given period.

2. Lock it

Oftentimes, I want to ensure I don’t leave an important page. Lock it, when enabled on a specific tab, will trigger a popup, which you have to confirm before you leave the page. Like Focus Mode, it’s a safeguard against attempted hijacks from your unconscious mind.

3. Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant

The pomodoro method uses a timer that oscillates between a period of work and a break, usually 25 minutes followed by 5, but you are free to adjust it however you want. As a general rule, every 4th break is 15 minutes, but again, this is configurable.

4. Super Simple Highlighter

I own a decent number of books, and I mark them up like crazy. Some people find that aesthetically abhorrent, which I agree with if we are talking about, say, a first edition signed copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, but I’d argue that popular books are fair game. And I have a system to distinguish the meaning behind different kinds of markings. This extension enables me to do the same thing on the web. You can highlight using multiple colors, enabling you to create your own color coded system.

5. Fireshot

Fireshot allows capture screenshots of an entire page, rather than the visible portion of the page. Once you’ve taken your “fireshot” an options box comes up (which you can disable), and you can download the image as an image or PDF.

6. xTab

I used to have 20 or more tabs open at any given time. That’s unnecessary. You can fight the proliferation of tabs by limiting the number allowed with this extension.

7. OneTab

Similar to xTab but logically distinct is OneTab. OneTab consolidates all exiting tabs into a single tab with links to other pages. If you are like me, this can save you a lot of CPU.

8. Auto Text Expander

I hate writing the same thing over and over again. This extensions allows you to create shortcuts for commonly used phrases or paragraphs. Getting a good system for naming your shortcuts and organizing different categories of shortcut is crucial if this is going to be productive for you.*

*Note: I wanted this feature available globally and so I decided to purchase a separate application that wasn’t browser dependent. If you are interested, it is called TextExpander. It offers a number of additional features to the built in Keyboard Shortcuts on MACOS.

9. AdBlock

Probably the most used extension in the chrome store. I’ve been using it for years. Some sites that rely on ad revenue have smartened up and force you to disable it for pages on their domain, which can get annoying, but still 100% worth it.

10. Recent History

This adds a ton of cool UI and search features to your history, specifically related to searching by date. Each domain is a collapsible list item that can be expanded, which provides a better overview of domain history just by looking at your dashboard.