For Keeping To-do Lists
When you first sit down to work, use Dayboard to list your 5 Most Important Tasks or MITs for the day. Dayboard displays this to-do list every time you open a new tab. Nothing like a constant visual reminder to keep you focused on work!
Momentum is another start screen that doubles up as a to-do list.
For Organizing Your Research
Install: Diigo Web Collector – Capture and Annotate
Social bookmarking website Diigo has some powerful features to help you conduct any kind of online research. Its Chrome extension makes it easy to organize your research as you go along. Bookmark pages for later, group them, annotate them, and share them. You can even add in-page highlights as reminders.
You will need a Diigo account to use the extension. If you have a Google account, you can connect the extension to that instead.
For Blocking Distractions
With StayFocusd, you can get online distractions out of your system by indulging in them for a bit. Put sites like Facebook and Twitter on the extension’s Blocked Sites list. If you spend more than a certain duration of time on any of the sites on this list, StayFocusd will block your access to all of them for the rest of the day. You have the option of setting up the days and hours when you need StayFocusd to be active.
Who’s to stop you from tweaking the time limits or disabling StayFocusd whenever you feel like it? You could add chrome://extensions to your blocked sites and/or hide the settings section behind a text-based challenge. This will make cheating that much more difficult and annoying.
For Saving Keystrokes
Install: Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome
Work faster and give your hands some rest by using a text expansion and replacement software. Auto Text Expander is a good Chrome-based choice, especially if you’re a Chromebook user.
There’s not much to the extension. You add shortcuts for text snippets that you use often. Every time you type that shortcut, it’s replaced by the expanded version. Do back up your snippets to a text file for emergencies.
For Reading Things Later
Install: Save to Pocket
Pocket is a fantastic bookmarking service. It’s useful when you’re distracted by online content in the middle of work. Just save the Web page with the one-click Save to Pocket Chrome extension.
Use the toolbar button, a keyboard shortcut, or the context menu for quick bookmarking. Add tags to make your bookmarks easy to search later. The pages appear in your Pocket account, which gets synced across all your devices.
For Decluttering Tabs
If your work depends on Web-based tools and information, you’re likely to have a crazy number of tabs open when you’re working. But those tabs turn into one big memory drain.
A simple way to ease tab clutter and save on memory is by using OneTab. Any time you click on the OneTab icon, it organizes all your open tabs into a list. You can then recall tabs as and when you need them.
For Decluttering Web Pages
Say you’re doing some research. You don’t want your attention to stray to unimportant Web page elements like those clickable buttons in the sidebar. Then you can hide them with Evernote’s Clearly extension. It cleans up Web pages and presents their main content in a minimalist, easy-to-read format.
Install the extension and whenever you want a decluttered Web page, click on Clearly’s toolbar button when you’re on that page. You can also choose from a few themes, highlight content, and even connect Clearly to your Evernote account.
For Organizing Your Ideas
Install: Note Board
A cork board on your computer screen—that’s what Note Board is. Use it to keep track of your ideas in the form of digital sticky notes. Pin them to the board and move them around as your thought process evolves.
There are five boards organized side by side. Notes can be in the form of text and images. It’s also possible to draw your ideas right onto a note. Note Board includes both local and cloud storage options.
You can open the extension as a tab or as a popup. The popup option did not work for me, but that comes across as a minor glitch. If the popup isn’t working for you either, keep the extension open as a pinned tab for quick access to your ideas.