There’s no doubt you’ll need your browser to get things done while you work. Browsers can be both a blessing and a curse — you need it to get stuff done, but at the same time, you’ll find all sorts of distractions through it, too.
The window you use to access all sorts of tools and information for work also holds all kinds of temptations that might prevent you from actually getting stuff done. You could be checking your email or using Google Docs one moment and browsing Facebook, Reddit, Youtube, or Instagram the next.
Unfortunately, you can’t simply quit using your browser, either. Regardless of how many distractions may lie within, you can’t really live without your browser — or in many cases, make a living without it.
This is where productivity tools such as browser extensions come in.
If you use Google Chrome as your default browser, you’ll find that there are many extensions for Chrome that were created with the sole purpose of making it easier for you to do your work. The best extensions for Chrome will help you do things like track your time, limit distractions, track your tasks, and more. And the best part is, there are literally thousands of extensions out there that can help you do your job (or schoolwork) more efficiently.
But with thousands of browser extensions to sift through, how do you know which ones will help you best?
To help you out, we’ve put together this list of essential Chrome extensions you might want to look into. Some are free, some are premium, but all of them were made to improve your productivity.
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Best Chrome Extensions to Lessen Distractions
A lot of people struggle with distractions from the internet as they work. If you find yourself unable to go half an hour without checking social media or scrolling through some websites, you may want to look into the best Google Chrome extensions that can limit your distractions during work time.
- What it does: StayFocusd was designed to prevent scrolling paralysis (spending hours on end scrolling through an infinite source of distracting content) by limiting access to specific content types and sources.
- Price: Free
- Best Feature: Allows you to limit your daily time spent on distracting websites like social media or Youtube. It also allows you to block in-page content such as games, forms, and videos.
We all know how frustrating it can be to start a task only to find yourself stuck on Youtube an hour later, with your task barely worked on at all. As far as Chrome productivity extensions go, StayFocusd is one of the best and most effective as it prevents you from wasting your precious time infinitely scrolling on some random website or service. The best part is it’s absolutely free.
You can download and install StayFocusd without paying for anything upfront, though the developer welcomes $10 donations if you’ve found their extension helpful.
StayFocusd is highly configurable, allowing you to set blocked websites, subdomains, or specific pages and paths. You can even block particular kinds of content such as images, games, forms, and videos. Once you have used up your allotted “allowed” time for these websites and content types, StayFocusd will block them off for the rest of your workday. You can also specify which hours in the day and which days in the week you want the limits enforced.
- What it does: Just Read makes it possible to eliminate any distractions on a page, allowing you to read and absorb information more easily.
- Price: Free or Premium ($1/mo billed yearly)
- Best Feature: You can trigger this extension with a single click or a keyboard shortcut — and it has a light and dark mode, too.
Most websites on the internet don’t always present information in the clearest or most efficient ways. Often, a website can have a distracting layout — and most of the time, they want you to do all sorts of things. You might have popups asking you to sign up for a mailing list, or you may even end up seeing ads all over the place. There’s never a lack of some call to action somewhere. This is where the Just Read extension for Google Chrome comes in.
Just Read allows you to strip away any distractions from a page so you can just read. Once you configure everything, all it takes is a click or a keyboard shortcut and you can remove popups, ads, and comments on any articles you are reading. You can even choose between the light or dark theme, use themes other people have made, choose exactly which content you want to read via the selection mode, and more.
You can install this extension for free, but a premium version with a lot more features is also available. With Just Read Premium, you can do things like highlight and annotate text, auto-scroll articles, use custom scrollbars, permanently save Just Read page versions, share Just Read page versions, and more.
If you don’t want to spend any money, don’t worry — the free version is plenty robust on its own.
News Feed Eradicator (Facebook)
- What it does: Gets rid of your Facebook timeline to prevent infinite scrolling.
- Price: Free
- Best Feature: Allows you to access all aspects of Facebook minus any content the FB algorithm wants to serve you. Oh, and no ads!
Not everyone indeed uses Facebook these days. However, many businesses may still use this social media platform to communicate, advertise, network, and more. Unfortunately, Facebook also happens to be a massive distraction for a lot of people. And, in many ways, it can cause anxiety or affect your mood throughout the day.
News Feed Eradicator does exactly what it says: removes your Facebook timeline. This extension replaces your timeline with inspirational quotes (although these quotes won’t always be everyone’s cup of tea). It still allows you to check your profile, events, messages, and so on. But it prevents the doom scrolling that often happens when you check your news feed. That also means no ads!
News Feed Eradicator also works for Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Github, Reddit, and Y-Combinator News.
- What it does: Noisli allows you to set your own white noise and mix a few to make a playlist so you can choose background audio to drown out environmental noise.
- Price: Free, Pro for Individuals ($10/mo billed yearly), Business for teams (minimum $24/mo billed yearly)
- Best Feature: Noisli allows you to create your own playlists but also has curated playlists if you just want to play something in the background.
Noisli is one Chrome extension productivity metrics will thank you for. It’s one of those extensions that was specially designed to help boost your overall output and productivity. Noisli provides background white noise that can help you mask a noisy environment distracting you from the task at hand.
The extension allows you to choose from a variety of white noise types that you can use in combination to create a mix that works perfectly for you. Some of the sounds include a storm or falling rain, crackling fires, coffee shop white noise, crickets, wind, wood noises, and more. Through Noisli, you can combine as many sounds as you’d like.
Noisli has three plans: free, pro for individuals ($10/mo billed yearly), and business for teams (starts at $24/mo billed yearly for two users, price increases per additional team member). The free option has only 16 sounds that you can stream for a maximum of 1.5 hours daily. Noisli’s paid options have 28 sounds and unlimited streaming, as well as many other premium features.
Best Chrome Extensions to Track Your Time
Part of being productive is managing your time so you spend more time focused on your tasks rather than being distracted doing something else. However, not everyone can keep track of their time well enough to know how much of the day they spend doing one thing or another. To help you out, here are some of the best time management Chrome extensions productivity metrics and trackers could ask for.
- What it does: Toggl Track is a task management service that also allows you to track the time you’ve spent on each item on your to-do list.
- Price: Free, Starter ($9/user/mo billed annually), Premium ($18/user/mo billed annually), and Enterprise (custom pricing)
- Best Feature: Very convenient, provides many productivity features, and works with other extensions like Todoist.
Toggl is kind of like a task management extension but with extra features. Instead of simply allowing you to manage your tasks, Toggl also helps you track any time you spent working on each task. Because it’s a browser extension, Toggl makes it easier for you to remember to track your time by virtue of it being right there in your line of sight.
You can access Toggl by clicking its icon in your Google Chrome extensions drawer. Clicking it will bring up a button to stop and start the timer, as well as a list of your most recently tracked time entries.
The best part is that a Toggl button also automatically appears in your other compatible productivity browser extensions like Todoist. The only downfall is Toggl requires you to manually track your time by clicking a button to start or stop your tracking.
- What it does: RescueTime tracks how much time you’ve spent on productive and non-productive websites to give you a better idea of how efficient you are.
- Price: Free
- Best Feature: This extension tells you how productive you were on any given day alongside how many hours you tracked.
RescueTime is another productivity Chrome extension that works by recording any time you spend on an active tab or browser window. This web app works not just on the Google Chrome browser but also on the Chrome OS. RescueTime does some of the same things that Toggl does, but builds upon it by automating the tracking.
RT will classify some websites and assign them scores based on their productivity. At the end of your workday, you can check RescueTime to see how much time you spent on distractions compared to actual productive sites. The extension will then show you how efficient you were for the day and how much time you tracked overall.
If you’re worried that RescueTime will continue tracking even though you’re away from your computer, you might be relieved to know that the extension will go idle when you do.
There is a RescueTime app for the PC and Mac OS that you can use in conjunction with the extension. However, the app and its service are not free.
Best To-Do Lists and Task Trackers
No list of productivity tools is complete without some to-do lists and task trackers. To-do lists and task tracker services often create browser extensions as supplements to their tools, allowing you to keep track of what’s next on your to-do list. Most of these services also send you reminders about tasks and corresponding deadlines.
Here’s one project management tool that you might enjoy:
- What it does: Todoist works as a task tracker and project management (and collaboration) tool for single users or businesses.
- Price: Free, Pro ($3/mo billed annually), Business ($5/user/mo billed annually)
- Best Feature: This extension allows you to access your own to-do list, your team’s to-do list, or any shared lists without needing to open the Todoist website or app.
Todoist joins the list of many project management and collaboration tools that allow you to keep track of your tasks and responsibilities. This service works for single users, but they also offer a feature-packed plan for businesses. Many huge companies and organizations such as Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and NASA use Todoist to help keep everyone organized.
This service has many features you can use, such as quick task adding, recurring due dates (for those repeat deadlines and tasks), task sections and subtasks, priority levels, reminders, favorites, and more.
You can also personalize your tasks to make it easier to keep track of everything.
Todoist even allows you to add new tasks through email.
The best part is they have a productivity visualizer to make progress tangible, which might help motivate you to keep working through the day.
Through the Todoist browser extension, you can access your tasks right from your browser for convenience.
Best Tools and Convenient Google Chrome Extensions
Productivity browser extensions aren’t just task management services, to-do lists, and focus tools — they’re also tools that can help make your work easier or better. There are countless Chrome extensions created to help you streamline your workday, such as the two we’ve listed below.
- What it does: Grammarly helps you to improve your writing by offering spelling and grammar suggestions.
- Price: Free or Premium version
- Best Feature: Works right in the browser to help you improve your writing, including in Google productivity apps like Google Docs.
You might have already heard about Grammarly. After all, they run ads on social media and on Youtube as well. Grammarly is essentially a tool to help you improve your writing. Some may call it a glorified spell checker, but the truth is this browser extension does all that and more.
Grammarly is a browser extension that allows you to perform basic spell and grammar checks for free. The premium version offers more features, such as setting the writing tone you want the extension to edit for and providing deeper editing and suggestions. Both free and premium versions work in the browser and also work on any text box you are typing in, including Google productivity apps like Google Docs. There is also a desktop app available.
The only issue with Grammarly is it’s not entirely perfect. Like any tool, it suffers from the pitfalls of, well, not being human. Although you can rely on Grammarly to help you improve your spelling, grammar, tone, and delivery, you may still want to give your work a read-through to ensure it reads how you want it to.
Although Grammarly has a free version, its features are far more limited compared to the premium version. Unfortunately, the premium service is quite expensive (anywhere from $12 to $30 per month, depending on your payment cycle). Grammarly is also available for businesses.
- What it does: LastPass helps you manage all your logins without having to remember everything yourself. It also provides other services like password creation and safe password sharing.
- Price: Single users/families: free, premium single user ($3/mo billed annually), families (6 users, $4/mo billed annually) | Business options: Teams of <50 ($4/user/mo billed annually), and Business ($6/user/mo billed annually)
- Best Feature: The LastPass browser extension will input the login information for you, so you don’t have to each time you log in!
There’s no doubt that these days, it’s gotten incredibly difficult (and maybe even nearly impossible) to keep track of all of your login information. Nowadays, there are so many services you need to make accounts for — and most if not all of them require you to make up passwords with so many different requirements. Some people will deal with managing their passwords by writing down or screenshotting their login info. But if you need a little help keeping track of yours, you can always use LastPass.
LastPass is a service that allows you to manage your passwords and keep all your logins in one place. The best part is once you install their browser extension, LastPass will automatically input your login information on any website you go to. On top of storing your passwords in the vault, LastPass can help you with a few other things like creating new passwords, showing the strength of your passwords, safely sharing logins (without actually showing the passwords) with others, and filling out other information on forms.
LastPass, which is arguably one of the top Chrome extensions, is available for personal use or for businesses.
Conclusion: The Best Chrome Extensions Can Help You Free Up Your Time
If you haven’t been taking advantage of browser extensions, you’d be surprised just how much help they can be.
The best productivity extensions for Chrome can mean significant quality of life improvements for your workdays. The right ones can help you lessen or eliminate distractions, effectively allowing you to finish your tasks faster and regain some of your lost hours.
Give some of these extensions a try — they might just be the help you’ve been looking for.
Note that although these are Chrome extensions, other browsers such as Microsoft Edge now allow you to install Chrome extensions as well!