5 Free Google Chrome Extensions to Improve Your Productivity

By Jennifer Anne Muirhead

No longer do you have to go spend a bucket load of money on stationary equipment at Kmart or Typo in a futile attempt to feel more productive. Now you can get the same instant gratification from getting new stuff, but for free, and it’ll actually increase your productivity.

1.     StayFocused

Have you ever had an argument where someone said you spend too much time on Facebook, or [enter social media website here], and maybe you’ll reply with “That’s not even true, I barely spend any time on Facebook”. Well StayFocused is the extension which will prove them right, once and for all. StayFocused tracks the amount of time you spend on a website in a day, with the ultimate goal of shaming you into getting back to work.


But it’s not just a time-tracker, as you can also use StayFocused to block certain websites, only permitting you to visit them during certain hours of the day. For instance, maybe you want to block YouTube (for whatever reason) between the hours of 9AM to 5PM. StayFocused lets you do that. You can even add an allotted amount of time for a break in between. And if your willpower isn’t as strong as you thought it was, you can change the parameters back at any time – provided you type an entire paragraph flawlessly first. You know, just to keep you a little more honest.

StayFocused has been a huge benefit in helping me with my productivity. And if you were wondering, yes, it’s because of the shame.  


2.     Webtime Tracker

On that note, if you’re looking for a more light-weight extension, but still want to know how you’re spending your time. Webtime Tracker offers the same time-tracking benefits as StayFocused does, but in a daintier, more visually appealing way. It’s more of a “how am I spending my time”, rather than a “how can I change how I’m spending my time” sort of thing. Either way, they’re both great extensions, it just depends on what you’re looking for.


3.     PushBullet

Now this one is for all my Android users out there. Basically what this extension does is acts as a tether between your phone and your computer. You install it on each device and it allows you to send and receive text, Facebook, Kik, and WhatsApp messages on both, as well as share and receive links, files, and notifications. Effectively, if your phone can see it, so can your computer, and vice versa. If this sounds useful and convenient to you, that’s because it is – and it’s also why PushBullet is one of the most downloaded extensions in the Chrome Web Store. But is it reason enough to switch from Apple to Android? Ehhhh.


4.     Google Dictionary

If you’re that mediocrely successful mix of lazy and inquisitive like me, Google Dictionary is the extension for you. By double clicking a word in your browser, you’ll be given both the meaning of said word, and how it’s pronounced. If you ever come across a word you’re not familiar with, just double click it and Google Dictionary will open an unobtrusive box its definition. Simple as that.


5.     Boomerang For Gmail

If you’re a night owl – or, I guess, an early morning owl, Boomerang for Gmail is for you. Effectively, it lets you schedule emails to be sent at a later time. So if you’re ever looking for jobs at 3am but still want to seem like a functioning member of society, you can set BFG to send your emails for you at 8am instead.  It’s much easier than fixing your terrible sleeping schedule.


[Header Image CC: Seffsaid].

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