When Google brought out the Chrome web browser, it was a breath of fresh air. Although Firefox was around, it didn’t provide the alternative that Google’s new invention offered. It was light, it was fast, and it was a far cry from the bloated software people were used to as far as accessing the Internet was concerned.
As time went on, and new versions of Chrome were released, Google added the bells and whistles everyone was looking for. But rather than add everything to the software to try and make it all things to all men, they developed apps that users could add (and then take away) depending on the functionality they required. According to WikiPedia, “As of June 2012, users had installed 750 million apps from the Chrome Web Store.” That’s a lot in anyone’s language.
There is an app for every day of the week, every task, every situation, and every mood. If you have never ventured to the Chrome Web Store, you should. It will definitely have something for you.
Just to give you a taster, here are 5 Chrome apps I cannot work without:
Chrome Web Store has hundreds of apps listed under ‘productivity’. These include apps for CRM, project management, etc. “Timer” is listed under “Alarms and Clocks” but it is very much a productivity tool for me. I usually have three “Timer” screens open at any given time – one for the “Countdown” option, one for the “Alarm” function, and one for the “Stopwatch”.
Using the countdown, I put a time frame of how long I want to take to do something. Put in “30 minutes” and at the end of that period you get loud bells telling you time is up. Aside from that I usually set the “Alarm” function with the time I want to have completed my tasks – that’s usually the end of my day or working period. I also run the “Stopwatch” in the background so after I have spent half the day updating my Facebook account, I can actually see how long it has taken me to do a task. Sometimes it is frightening how much time I waste! This app is like a conscience and it keeps me on track – sort of anyway.
When my mind wanders too much, and I visit websites that cover old television programmes like “The Waltons”, then I know I am in trouble. “Timer” isn’t cutting it, and I need “StayFocusd”. Whereas “Timer” is a conscience, “StayFocusd” is a “Hall Monitor”, strictly forbidding you from visiting the sites you want to. It offers you the option to physically stop access to a particular website for a certain time period:
Alternatively, if you just can’t focus on the task at hand, StayFocusd offers to “Nuke” websites:
You can zap a site, part of a site, types of content, etc. for a specified time period. If your hand wanders, the only way to get access to the sites specified in the system is to remove the app. And if things get that bad, perhaps you need to be looking for another job.
TickTick is a “Todo & Task List”. You need to set up a TickTick account before you can use the app, but that’s easy because you can quickly set one up using your Google password. It is very much like Google Tasks, but it goes one step further, and it is what Google Tasks really should be. In fact, I would go as far as to predict Google will buy the TickTick package one day.
You can access TickTick through its website:
This is where you will see a list of tasks for your day. This list is accessible through your Android phone through a downloadable app, and you can add and take away tasks at will through your mobile device. In that respect, it is very similar to Google Tasks. However, TickTick allows you to add sub-tasks to each task, which Google doesn’t. This is an invaluable addition to your “to do” list:
As mentioned above, the TickTick package also has a Chrome app which just sits on your screen. It tells you how many tasks have not been done as of yet:
You can look around websites, and if something comes to mind, you can quickly make a note of what you need to do. Just click on the button and your task list appears:
TickTick is a complete package, free (unless you want paid project management capabilities like sharing lists), and is highly recommended.
There is nothing worse for your focus than receiving an email – receiving one leads to sending one, and then clearing your inbox – and before you know it, it’s dusk and time to go home. Google Mail Checker simply sits on your browser and lets you know how many unanswered mails you have. If you are waiting for an important mail, or you just can’t resist checking, click on the button and it will send you to your mail account. Worth having – an open email account drains time... No doubt about it.
There are times when “ALT+Print Screen+Paste” just doesn’t cut it – and those times are more often than you might recognize. Those are the times that you need Awesome Screen shot. As with other apps, a small button sits on your screen:
Click on it, and you get a range of capture, cut and paste options:
Especially if you need to capture full website screens like I do, this is the tool for you. Never fails and worth its weight in gold – and as it doesn’t weigh anything there is no cost. It’s free (aside from some power user functions I don’t even understand). A good app to have around...