Firefox is pretty well established as the browser of choice for most of the web’s talent. Sure, some people still cling to Internet Explorer like the sinking ship that it is, but the vast majority of the online world has seen the light of open source and is very much embracing it. From the thousands of great extensions to the significantly more user and developer friendly platform, Firefox is the choice that most of us make.
Still, there are so many ways to improve Firefox that so many people ignore. From productivity hacks to ultra-useful plugins, there are hundreds of way to save time and get more work done using Firefox. I covered a lot of the most useful Firefox apps and plugins in The Ultimate Firefox Home Office, but there was one thing that got left out.
That was Firefox productivity hacks. The major challenge confronting online workers today isn’t a lack of features of compatibility, but a massive excess of options. From online video to the myriad of social media distractions, finding productivity online is hard. These four Firefox productivity hacks can help you cut down on distractions and get more work done.
#1: Don’t use tabs.
I know, I know, most productivity books say that multitasking is good. It’s not. More tabs open means much less time devoted to each one, which means much less quality work. As appealing as it is to have access to everything right now, sometimes it’s best to systematically block information out and focus on single-tasking.
But what if you’ve got to reference information? Use windows instead. Windows cause clutter, which is often a good thing for productivity. Since keeping multiple windows open is so messy, you’ll do your best to keep them under control. A good way to tackle multiple windows is to invest in a second monitor, which is a great way to increase productivity even further.
#2: Use extensions sparingly.
Some extensions, like autocopy, are incredibly useful for saving time. Others aren’t. While it’s tempting to stock up on extensions and trick yourself into thinking you’re working more, it really doesn’t help. The best way to focus on your work is to limit and eliminate distractions, which means that fancy extension suite you downloaded the other day might be best left uninstalled for now.
Want to see which extensions work and which don’t? Keep a record of which ones you use most often, and see if they coincide with your most productive work sessions. If you’re searching for some useful extensions, these lists could be worth a shot.
#3: Turn off Gmail Notifier
Well known entrepreneur and productivity guru Tim Ferriss is always bringing up one point in his presentations: email is more than anything, a waste of valuable time. Limiting yourself to one or two email checks per day can be a little difficult for online workers, so it’s best to only check email between major tasks.
For example, divide your day into hour-long blocks, and only ever check emails when you’ve completed a multi-hour task. Flicking back from your email interface to Firefox wastes a ton of time, and eliminating the activity is much easier than optimizing your email checking.
#4: Block time-waster websites.
Don’t be one of those people that spends all day on Facebook, avoiding the work that could be making you rich. For online workers, success is all about drive and determination. When you put the hours in, you get to the top.
Leechblock is one of the few Firefox plugins that actually helps with productivity, and it does so because it’s completely ruthless about its job. Type in the websites that you spend too much time on (RescueTime is a good way to determine what they are), set it to auto-block them during work hours, and enjoy ultimate productivity. Sure, work’s boring without Facebook, but having more money certainly isn’t.
Have you got any favorite productivity hacks and optimizations? I’m looking for tweaks that really help you out, not gadgets and plugins that promise to help but aren’t effective. Post anything good in the comments, whether it’s a behavioral change or an electronic addition, and I’ll try to test it out.