A market share of 55 percent for the world’s most popular browser says a lot. But it suggests a greater fact: the world spends a lot of hours hunkered down in front of the browser. I hope most of the minutes are for productivity tasks and just a few for procrastinating ones.
That raises a few questions.
For almost ten years, Chrome has been in charge of your day. So, is it something more than a search and browse vehicle or do you use it as your personal steward? Has it proved itself to be the proctor for your productivity? Or has it been the proxy for your procrastination?
Either way, you can always launch Chrome to manage your everyday tasks. Take a second look at these Chrome extensions that come with subtle powers to restore order to your day.
How does it help? Dump your thoughts before they become distractions.
What good is a task if you forget about it before you even get to it? That problem plagued Adrian too and so he went on to design this simple note-taking app. The Chrome extension is a simple note-taker which opens in every new tab. The checklist and captured notes remind you what needs to be done.
You have so many options for dumping notes in your browser that you can get spoilt for choice. Just pick one. It’s not rocket science. There’s the popular Papier and then there’s the old HTML trick of turning any browser tab into a quick notepad by typing this line of code in the address bar:
data:text/html, <html contenteditable>
Download: Mindful (Beta)
How does it help? Gives you the daily to-do on a beautiful new tab page.
Need something prettier than a blank page? Try Momentum and its beautiful wallpaper quality backgrounds. But Momentum is more than a way to make your new tab page gorgeous. It is a productivity dashboard for your daily tasks.
The to-do list manager with a list of daily tasks is the centerpiece. The time and weather are for your information. So, set a Daily Focus (which reminds you of your main goal), read the inspiring quote, and get to work.
Momentum also has a paid Plus version with more enhancements. But start with the free download to fix your routine.
How does it help? It turns Gmail into a Kanban board for easier mail processing.
You can’t deny that most of your day is run by your inbox. Tasks are the gunpowder that comes with all emails. If it’s Gmail then there are multiple ways to load them into your schedule. Drag automatically transforms your incoming emails into lists. As you can see in the screenshot below, your inbox resembles a Kanban board. You can drag and drop the emails (i.e. the tasks) from one list to another.
The free version is limited to three columns. But try it out before you opt for the paid version. If you want an alternative, check out Sortd, which is also another skin for Gmail we have covered earlier.
How does it help? Create your own task lists or share them with a team.
In the excellent Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande explained one of the benefits of clear lists:
“They can make priorities clearer and prompt people to function better as a team.”
But he also said that checklists cannot make the team follow it. That job is for the leader. If you are the top of a team consider Taskade for easily creating precise lists. Like Momentum, you get an entire new browser tab to capture your ideas, goals, and daily tasks.
Make multiple lists around specific tasks. See them against beautiful colors and pretty backgrounds. Format your lists and share them with family or create a team and invite them in for collaborative lists. For now, Taskade is free.
How does it help? Break down complex tasks into sub-tasks.
Take the easiest tiny step. That’s the only way you can defeat overwhelm. Checkvist is an outliner first and a task manager second. At its heart are the hierarchical lists which are also shareable. But the thrust comes from the keyboard shortcuts which help you to do brain dump with speed.
Checkvist can be turned into a flexible project management tool with team sharing (with assignees), due dates, and tags — though it’s not as complex as Gantt or Asana. It can also be a bucket for your task emails because it loves Gmail too. The free version of Checkvist is attractive for small teams.
Download: Checkvist Chrome Extension
How does it help? A visual task manager that offers Kanban Boards, Gantt Chart, and Time Tracker with seamless G Suite integration.
A serious tool for serious task managers. Kanbanchi is free for personal and educational use. The cost of paid versions starts from $7.95 per user per month. Kanbanchi and similar enterprise level tools usually are paid and that’s better for real-time support. Don’t let the price distract you from the purpose.
Kanbanchi can be tweaked around any team or used for solo projects that need project management tools. The task manager starts with a simple dashboard that resembles a more colorful Trello. You can make a simple workflow with lists within the cards.
Plan the tasks in these cards around a schedule which you visually map on the Gantt Chart. Team collaboration is built-in and everyone can map the time it takes to complete a task.
Also, give GQueues a look if you want to test an alternative that brings G Suite integration.
How does it help? Reminders and recurring tasks make Google Calendar an excellent task manager.
Google Calendar is there behind every sign-in you make with your Google ID. Behind the days and dates, it is a powerful task manager. You can set up multiple calendars, schedule appointments, make video calls, and even activate a countdown timer to your next task. Then, have a daily agenda sent straight to your inbox.
Do you think there’s no space to quickly jot down your to-do’s on a calendar? Just pair the calendar with Google’s own Tasks that’s available from Gmail as well.
Go to My calendars on the left and click Tasks. If you don’t see Tasks, click the down arrow next to Reminders. Then Switch to Tasks. Your tasks column will open on the right. Set Reminders and use them as triggers to take action at the right time.
Download: Google Calendar Chrome extension
How does it help? Measure your task performance.
There’s an old productivity mantra by Peter Drucker that says “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Toggl is a time tracker that is available on all your devices. It is not a task manager by definition but a stopwatch and a piece of paper or an Excel timesheet can tell you more about your tasks than any manager. Put your to-do list on Toggl and test your task estimation skills.
Toggl has different plans. The basic plan is free and can give you lots of insights on the way you are managing your work and idle time. The Chrome extension will help you track time on any web app. It even has a Pomodoro timer that tells you to take a break.
Download: Toggl Button for Chrome
Do You Need a Simple Solution or a Complex One?
There are two approaches to tasks. They can either be simple or complex. A simple Post-It stuck on your screen is good enough for some cases. Collaboration and teamwork have more balls to juggle, so a more feature-rich task manager has to fit those needs.
The method to plan and manage tasks is more important than the means. There are millions of to-do apps and task managers out there. The trick is to pick the right one for your use, broaden its utility, while you keep it simple.
Tell us about the methods you use to tackle the day.