Freelancers are always looking for ways to make themselves more productive. If you use the Chrome browser, you already have a vast expanse of tools at your fingertips: Chrome extensions. The Chrome Web Store (find it by clicking Apps in your Chrome tool bar and clicking Web Store at the very bottom right side of the page) has thousands of extensions, so the challenge is to find the ones that work well and have helped others. To make your search easier, we've listed 11 of the best Chrome extensions for improving freelancer workflow and productivity. These are not the only extensions you should consider, and we have left out obvious tools such as basic to-do lists and basic task trackers.
Wherever you do your work, outside noise is an ever-present distraction. How can you block out the everyday sounds that threaten to get you off track? The answer: ambient noise to block out distracting sounds. Noisli provides ambient noise to keep you focused. Choose from a wide variety of noises or create your own custom sound. You can also choose your favorite, set a timer, and control the volume — right from your Chrome browser.
This advanced eyedropper tool is great for graphic designers or anyone who uses a lot of images in their work. ColorZilla lets you work on the fly, without having to fire up Photoshop or similar appications. Get color readings in RGB and Hexadecimal format. Pull color data from any website without ever having to open another application.
#3: Boomerang for Gmail
Gmail is one of, if not the most, popular email services in use today. But, it isn't always easy to manage. Boomerang lets you schedule emails to arrive in someone's inbox at a specific time; useful if you are traveling, corresponding with people in other timezones, or catching up on your emails after working hours. You can also schedule emails back to yourself to remind you of important meetings, deadlines, etc. This is great for goal setting, followups, and invoicing.
#4: Web Developer
This is a great shortcut for web developers, conveniently placing frequently used dev tools right in your browser. This is a quick way to view layouts, or make changes in real-time. Save time and make quick fixes without having to open big development tools.
This is one of the easiest ways to complile and organize tasks. Instead of having to go out to 20 or more apps and services everyday, let it come to you. Taco puts all your incoming tasks and notifications from various apps in a central location, giving you a comprehensive list of tasks and making them easier to prioritize.
Avoid the temptation and stay on task with StayFocusd. Do email, Facebook, or Twitter notifications get you off track? This extension blocks websites that cause you to lose your focus. Block entire sites, specific pages, or certain content types. Never be interrupted by cute kitten videos again!
Visual feeback is helpful for web and grphic designers, especially when clients can't quite verbalize the changes they want. TrackDuck uses a visual approach to the beta process, making communication and feeback easier and more efficient. As a bonus, it integrates with many leading project management tools to fully integrate the beta process with your workflow.
#8: Save to Pocket
Don't have time to read that important email or article now? No problem. Save it to your Pocket account and sync it across mobie and desktop devices so that oyu can examine it later. This simple but effective tool helps you stay on task while keeping everything organized for later perusal.
#9: Toggl Button
Freelancers often have to keep track of their time, and there are plenty of apps to do so (including one provided by the Freelancer International site), but nothing could be easier to use than the Toggl Chrome extension. The drop-down timer simplifies tracking and logging your time, and Toggl integrates with more than 75 tools.
#10: Save to Google Drive
Google Drive is already an incredible suite of tools for completing all manner of projects and saving it to do 'the cloud'. No matter what kind of device you use to create content, it can easily be retrieved via G Drive. But what could make it even better? The ability to share to Google Drive with one click! Simply right click your documents, images, and more, and select the 'Save to Google Drive' option.
Have a blog for your business? Write for a blog as a freelancer? Use this extension to manage and post to multiple blogs. Press the ScribeFire button to open a text window and beging writing! The extension includes basic formatting options. You also have the ability to upload pictures or embed YouTube videos. If you work with more than one blog, this is sure to save you time and effort!
But hey, there's more.
Want to find more like these? Use the Google Chrome Web Store's search feature to find more productivity tools. Enter “productivity” as the search term, and you will find many of the extensions here — as well as some really great (if sometimes, rather basic) tools for increasing productivity.
What do you think?
There are thousands of Google extensions, so it is impossible to include all of them into this article. What about you? What are your favorites? Is there one (or more) not on this list that you just can't live without? What is trending now that absolutely should be on this list? Feel free to share them in the comments below.