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There are dozens of ways to boost your productivity, and we tell you plenty. But have you ever just looked at that and said “Gee, I just don’t have time to do that” or you just don’t want to use some new alpha beta whatchamacallit. Lucky for you, there are some simple everyday things you can do to make doing whatever easier and faster.

1. Sort Bookmarks – This might take a little time if you already have a lot of bookmarks, but it will help you find the site you want faster.

2. Save Passwords – If you have your own computer (not shared) then tell your browser to remember your passwords. Not typing in your username and password can save you a lot of time.

3. Use a RSS Reader – Stop visiting 20 different sites just to read your favorite blogs and the news. Use something like Google Reader (online) or a NewsGator product (iPhone, Mac, PC, Online.) Check out MakeUseOf Poll asking readers for their favorite RSS Reader Which RSS Reader Do You Prefer? [Poll] Which RSS Reader Do You Prefer? [Poll] Read More .

4. Backup / Sync Your Bookmarks – If you have any more than one computer (work and home) then you know it’s hard to keep the bookmarks on both the same (find a site, copy the address, and send yourself an e-mail). An easy way around this is to simply sync your bookmarks with an add-on for your browser. For Firefox, there’s Foxmarks 5 Excellent Firefox Extensions to Manage your Bookmarks 5 Excellent Firefox Extensions to Manage your Bookmarks Read More and Weave Backup and Sync your Firefox User Data with Weave Backup and Sync your Firefox User Data with Weave Read More , and for IE users there’s Chipmarks.


5. Use GreaseMonkeyGreaseMonkey (What is Greasemonkey Greasemonkey Makes Firefox Unbeatable Greasemonkey Makes Firefox Unbeatable Read More ?) is a small Firefox add-on that lets you run userscripts that do various things on various sites, many of which can help a lot. OK, I’ll admit this makes you reboot your browser and you install a Firefox extension, but all of the userscripts don’t restart your browser.

6. Stealth Kiwi – If you’re not big on self control, let Stealth Kiwi do it for you. It blocks all “recreational” websites, but allows you to take a 10 minute break every hour. (GreaseMonkey)

7. Google Inline MP3 Player – So you found the MP3 of what you need (lecture, song, speech, etc.) but you don’t need to download it or you just want to make sure it is what you think it is. Google Inline MP3 Player automatically uses Google’s flash player to play the MP3 file inline. (GreaseMonkey)

8. AutoPagerize – Search. Scroll to the bottom. Click next. Repeat. Wouldn’t it be much faster to just have all of your search results on one auto expanding page? Luckily there’s AutoPagerize which does just that. (GreaseMonkey)

9. Organize Your Desktop – Alphabetize, or sort manually, but put your desktop icons in some order so you can find your application without looking all over the screen.

10. Keep Your Start Menu Organized – Keep your start menu organized (Linux does this for you, and Macs have the dock) by manually making folders and moving files to fit your needs or just use Tidy Start Menu or SMOz Organize Your Windows Start Menu with SMOz Organize Your Windows Start Menu with SMOz Read More (both for windows). MakeUseOf also has a nice piece on Start Menu Alternatives for Windows Best Alternatives to Windows Start Menu Best Alternatives to Windows Start Menu Read More .

11. Use An Application Launcher – Application launchers make launching applications a lot faster and easier than hunting down that elusive icon. Simply type fir hit enter and poof! You have opened Firefox. If you have a Mac the best option is QuickSilver, for Linux users there is the excellent Do, and for Windows users there is Launchy and Enso Enso Launcher: It Will Make You Feel Like a Hacker Enso Launcher: It Will Make You Feel Like a Hacker Read More . Yes, I know you have to download and install something, but trust me it is well worth it.

12. Be Able to Manage All Open Windows – If you have open 15 different windows and your task bar / dock is overflowing, don’t be afraid to extend it a bit (as in pulling your task bar up for a second row or shirking the dock) to see all of your open windows.

13. Use an Online Calendar – Services like Google Calendar and localendar are great not only for keeping you organized, but sharing your schedule and collaborating. They can be used for a public calendar or collaborating with co-workers or family members.

14. Use an E-Mail Client – If you have any more than one e-mail address, use an e-mail client to keep everything together. There are dozens, including Mozilla Thunderbird (incl. lots of excellent addons 10 must-have Thunderbird Addons (+ 25 more) 10 must-have Thunderbird Addons (+ 25 more) Read More ) or the online Zenbe. Both keep your address book and e-mail in one place.

These are just a few of the many methods to boost your productivity without installing a bunch of software and using 42 different websites to check your email. How about you? How do you boost your online productivity? Can you add anything to this list?

(By) Check out Ben’s blog at

  1. Dali Burgado
    September 4, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Hey Ben, Wow. Awesome extensive list here. I really appreciate it. Would you happen to know of an application that would synchronize Mozilla add ons between two pcs? I'm mozlilla add on crazy and work between 2 computers ;-)

    Dali Burgado

  2. Aibek
    August 25, 2008 at 7:23 am

    If you're after productivity make sure to check out

    5 Ridiculously Useful Tips for Firefox and Windows

  3. Marco
    August 24, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Excellent list and the first list that recommends a real mail application! Been using Gmail for a while but can't help. Not the best web based application can compare to a real good old local mail software. I prefer The Bat ( Costs some bucks, but it's worth. No other program supports that many macro and is that fast (and not that ugly as Thunderbird).

    Thanks again for this list!

    • Aibek
      August 25, 2008 at 7:20 am

      Thunderbird isn't ugly!

      • Marco
        August 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm

        Well, in my opinion it is ugly.

        It's simple, that's okay as long as there is a "little sunshine"... but there ain't any sunshine.

        There's AK-MAIL which is simple as well, but the GUI looks GOOD.

        There's The Bat ... which looks GOOD...

        And there's Thunderbird which reminds me of a mix of PINE and OUTLOOK ... just for people who are color blind...

        In my opinion sending and receiving mails must be FUN ... and not pain for the eyes (like Thunderbird)... but well, that's just my opinion...

  4. Adam P.
    August 24, 2008 at 3:41 am

    doesn't Launchy do basically the same thing as the search box on the Vista Start menu? it looks like very similar functionality and with less keystrokes

    • disconnect
      August 24, 2008 at 11:15 am

      Yes it does, and you can customize it to add any folder and extension.

      I added my Music folder to launchy and made it scan for .mp3 files. It does it pretty much instantly and now I can play my desired track within seconds. :)

  5. Mike
    August 24, 2008 at 1:04 am

    When installing Tidy Start, a warning comes up that it's trying to install a trojan malware program.

  6. Pavan Kumar
    August 23, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    That's a very good list...

    Thanks for such a good post....


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