The Best Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Digital Productivity

The Best Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Digital Productivity

Google Chrome itself is becoming a desktop environment as we continue to use more cloud software, just look at ChromeOS. We all work from our laptops. As individuals who work remotely, we make a living by typing on, talking at, or otherwise manipulating the 1s and 0s of our computers, and subsequently sending this information to one, or many other people. By and large, we are information workers. Some of you perhaps, lucky or not, are able to make a living solely by speaking with people over the phone (can you please let us in on your secret recipe?).

Oftentimes, many of us don’t give our computer environments the consideration they deserve. Not only do our livelihoods depend these magical devices, our species is spending a startling proportion of our time with them

For many of us, a large part of our screen time is spent in the Google Chrome web browser, (or the Chromium web browser for the free-open-source-software fans). Maybe you begin your day by opening a fresh, crisp, new Chrome window, or maybe, like me, you begin in of one of far too many open tabs: email, and Google sheets, and Google docs, and Slack, in both a browser tab and a separate application window, and Facebook, and that random photo that you’ve now forgotten why you looked it up in the first place, and that email thread from your mom that you sent to your work email so that you could draft a response, and…

For those of you that work in Chrome on the regular, or any other web browser for that matter, please remember that it is your digital office space. It is meant to be a sanctuary for your digital focus, an oasis for your productivity. Please treat it as such. Set it up in a way that makes you want to use it, where building your dreams in any other web browser becomes a pointless exercise in mundanity.

Trust me when I tell you it will happen, because it happened to me, and all with the help what I consider the best Chrome extensions:

The Motion Chrome Extension

motion chrome extension logo

motion chrome extension productivity panel

Motion is the ultimate companion in your daily battle against procrastination. It is an extension to lean on when times are tough and you can’t think of how you could possibly get that tiny little to-do done with all these social feeds blaring in your face. It’s the simplicity of the extension that really puts it in a league of its own. No learning curve, no “hey, check out these cool features!”; just a simple, beautiful little extension that gently reminds you to stop getting in your own way, and just get it done already.

I know there are others. I’ve tried Rescuetime, I’ve tried Webtime Tracker, I’ve listened to the siren song of productivity prophets far and wide. None comes close to the simple elegance of Motion.

Oh, how I love elegant solutions. All the others I’ve tried have their respective learning curves, each with its own particular flavour of confusion or frustration, but not Motion. Motion is there for me when I need it most, minding it’s business when I’m minding mine, and gently reminding me how much longer I can watch that completely irrelevant Youtube video, when I need a break. It warns me when I try to meander too far from my work and allows me to easily see how I spend my time in clean, succinct reports:

motion chrome extension productivity dashboard

This is only the beginning of Motion. We hear there is a paid plan in the works with lots more super cool features. What more could we ask for?

The CLUT Chrome Extension – Cycle Last Used Tab

CLUT chrome extension logo

For those of you that don’t know, you can cycle through your chrome tabs using Ctrl and any of the numbers 1 through 9.

Ctrl + 1 through 8 will point you to each of your first eight tabs
Ctrl + 9 will point you to the last tab in a browser window.
If you, like me, have 20-odd browser tabs open (as of this writing I have 56 open, and yes, I know this is a problem), these functions, while useful, will serve you no purpose. You will be lucky if numbers 1 through 8 get through your pinned tabs, while 0 points you to your most recent distraction. Enter CLUT. Are you familiar with the Alt(Cmd)-Tab shortcut?

It’s that wonderful shortcut that brings you back to the last thing you were working on. Chrome to Slack and back in a flash! CLUT is the Alt(Cmd)-Tab replica for Chrome. Not only will it get you back to Slack in a flash, there are additional functions for skimming through your tabs:

Alt + W: Quick switch
Use for rapid switching to the last tab (by pressing once) or to the second to last used tab (by pressing rapidly twice).

Alt + S: Normal switch
Use when you want to look for a tab recently used but when you would want to go in a slower pace

Alt + Shift + S: Normal switch (in opposite direction)

And you can even change the shortcut keys if you want! (I very much recommend that you do not change it to Alt(Cmd)-Tab)

The LastPass Chrome Extension

LastPass logo

LastPass may have saved me my sanity. I manage somewhere around 250 passwords. Some are my personal passwords, some are for friends and family, and others still are passwords that I continue to manage for previous clients. It is an amazing service. I don’t think I could work in the cloud effectively without it. My old system consisted of roughly 10 variations of 10 of different ‘master’ passwords, depending on the necessary level of security:

password, Password, Password2020, P4ssw0rd2020, P4$w0rd2020!, etc…

I was resetting a different password at least once a week. It was incredibly frustrating, so I tried LastPass and the rest is history. I have to admit that I am still frustrated by the mobile app (though not enough by any means that I plan to stop using it), but the LastPass desktop Chrome extension is a UX masterpiece. If that’s not enough, all your passwords can look like this:


And you will never get them wrong.

This newfound password security will give you the peace of mind that you might find enjoying a glass of wine….overlooking a French vineyard…at sunset. Niiiiice.


We’ll be posting a more in depth rundown of LastPass here shortly, along with some other fun software to help you make the most of your new work-from-home life. Stay tuned.

Here’s How to Beat Jet Lag and Get Back to Work

One of the greatest joys of remote working is being able to jet-off to a sun-kissed paradise when you feel like it. You just need a laptop, phone, and internet connection. Whether you’re in the middle of NYC, or lounging on a tropical island (hello trip to Bali!) as long as you have those, you’re good to go.

But all that jet-setting can take its toll. If you’ve swapped the daily grind for a globetrotting lifestyle, then jet lag can take hours, even days, out of your schedule. This can leave you drained, fatigued, and behind on important deadlines. Luckily, there are a few ways you can combat jet lag and get back to work quickly.

1. Fly During the Day

If you fly at night then you’ll be more prone to falling asleep. If you’re crossing time zones, by the time you land and wake up, it could be time to fall asleep again. Whenever possible, fly during the early morning hours, stay awake during the flight, and try to adapt to your destination’s local time.

2. Avoid the Booze

A quick drink before the flight might seem like a great way to start your holiday and get you into the spirit. However, if it’s a working holiday and you want to keep the jet lag to a minimum, save the drink for later. Alcohol consumed at altitude can have a stronger effect on you, leaving you dehydrated and tired. It can also really bump up those effects when the jet lag eventually kicks in.

The same goes for sleeping tablets and sedatives in general. It may sound like a great way to shorten the flight, but it will only leave you tired and brain fogged for the first couple of days of your holiday. You may also want to avoid consuming too much coffee. If you’re a caffeine addict, drink in moderation and save your biggest dose until the plane lands – assuming it doesn’t land during the night.

3. Fly Smart

Some planes are better than others at helping you to beat jet lag. The A350, for instance, comes equipped with advanced humidification and air purification systems. Plus, it has lighting systems that simulate natural light regardless of the hour.
The same applies to a handful of other long-haul planes, but the plane isn’t the only way you can keep natural cycles. You can also try to stay within the same or similar timezones. If you have any pressing deadlines, make sure you’ll have a chance to work on these while on the plane. That way you can spend more time acclimatizing and less time working when you land.

4. Break-up the Flight

If you’ve always dreamed of flying to Australia, Japan or China, think about breaking the flight up with multiple stop-overs. Not only will you reduce jet lag, but you’ll be able to fly for less and see more. You’ll be able to visit a host of beautiful countries on the way. Give yourself a few days at each to truly explore all there is to see. This will also ensure your body has adapted before the next stop.

5. Eat Well and Move

Avoiding DVT on a flight is essential, especially if you’re already a greater risk. This is also true if you’re flying long distances or if you fly a lot. The things that help you to avoid this potentially fatal issue also help stimulate blood flow and keep jet lag at bay when you land. If you spend the entire flight sitting still, you’re going to be stiff and fatigued by the time you land. However, if
you get up to move (or be as active as you can be on a plane) it’ll be like any other day and you’ll be ready to go. You also need to eat well and avoid processed foods, as they’re loaded with refined sugars that cause your blood sugar to crash. Make sure you’re eating plenty of protein and complex carbs to keep those energy levels up.

Conclusion: It Can be Done

Jet lag is a real issue and it’s not something that will go away entirely, especially during long- haul flights. But if you follow these tips, you can keep it to a minimum and ensure it doesn’t impact your work.

Now that you’re ready to beat the jet-lag, book your next trip with Behere below!

Written by Nicky Sarandrea; a freelance writer who has written on dozens of subjects and published thousands of articles. He is a large advocate for the remote working and co-working industries and works out of the Cross Campus Pasadena office.

This is How to Convince your Boss To Let You Work Remotely

Many of us would love to work remotely, but fear our bosses or employers won’t allow us to. Convincing them may seem like an uphill battle, so we’ve put together a list of benefits for both your boss and you, to make it a bit easier. Plus, we’ve also created a Letter for Your Boss for some ideas on how to start the conversation.

Here are some key benefits of remote work, to help you convince your boss to let you work remotely:

  1. Studies show that remote workers are 20% more productive

    • They also show that employees that work remotely are twice as likely to work 40+ hours a week on important tasks. This is because they appreciate the flexibility and want to show their dedication to the projects that really matter.
  2. Distributed employees mean big cost savings for companies

    • Office space is becoming more and more expensive, as are all the office supplies, lunches, equipment and events. What’s more, over 50% of professionals have left a company or considered leaving because their employer lacked flexibility.
  3.  Work flexibility equals more loyal employees

    • Higher loyalty means higher productivity, which ultimately leads to decreased turnover (and more savings for companies). Employees are appreciative to their employers for the flexibility thus, feel more aligned with their roles and the companies mission.
  4. Employees that work remotely are both healthier and happier

    • At a time when society is really highlighting and promoting heath, this is a key benefit for employers and employees. Healthier employees are also more productive employees. What’s more, studies have shown remote workers take less sick / personal days. On an average day, a one way commute is 30 mins, which is about the same time it takes people to run 2-3 miles – on a yearly basis, that’s thousands of extra miles run for you.
  5.  Remote workers feel inspired and refreshed by changing their environment

    • Being away from the office (and spending time in a new city), gives people a fresh perspectives, increases their creativity, provokes new ideas and leads to exciting new experiences. This ultimately gives employees a much needed kickstart for new projects, ideas or goals. Plus, it can create great networking opportunities.
  6. Better work-life integration

    • Working remotely gives employees time to accomplish tasks that otherwise get neglected, as well as gives them more time to spend time with loved ones, travel or enjoy hobbies. This also adds to employee moral, a more refreshed outlook and more dedicated, driven employees.

To ease your boss into the idea, we recommend suggesting to try remote working once a week and work up to a full month of remote work. This is especially effective after a super busy period at the office, as it enables you recharge out of the office, during a quieter period.

**If you’ve talked to your boss about the benefits, read the Letter to Your Boss and still are having no luck getting them to budge – check out our Resources page for websites to find remote work and helpful tips to get started freelancing.**

Once you’ve finalized remote work with your boss, we highly recommend you use the opportunity to travel. We started Behere in the top cities for remote workers, around the world, so you can work remotely, without headaches. Find out more about how Behere helps make it a seamless transition and book your next month abroad here.

This Mental Shift Can Improve Your Productivity, Especially On Boring Tasks

Perceiving what you’re doing as multitasking versus single-tasking makes a big difference to improve your productivity.

Guest Post by Nora Batelle
There’s a significant body of research that suggests multitasking is bad for productivity. But a new study adds nuance to those findings. Turns out, the perception of a task as a multitask (rather than a single task) can enhance our performance, particularly on tasks we find mundane.
Lead study author Shalena Srna, Ph.D., told Thrive Global her interest in the study arose from the contrast between how people define multitasking (performing multiple tasks at the same time) and how they actually engage in it.
improve your productivity“Previous research tells us that humans cannot actually attend to multiple tasks concurrently, so when we think we are multitasking, we are actually switching rapidly back and forth between tasks and do not attend to more than a single task at a time,” Srna says. She and her team focused their research on how perceiving an activity as either multitasking or single tasking impacts performance, she explains.
The results are striking. “When a given activity is perceived as a multitasking activity, people perform much better. They persist longer and also perform more efficiently and accurately,” Srna says. While adding extra tasks to your load at any given moment (trying to literally multitask) hurts performance — by causing you to lose time and mental energy by shifting between tasks or topics — thinking about a single task as a multitask improves performance, her research found, particularly when the task you’re mentally reframing is a boring one.
For instance, attending a mundane meeting can feel like a single task, but recognizing that the activity has more than one component (listening, giving feedback, taking notes to use later) can trigger perceptions of multitasking, and therefore improve your engagement, efficiency, and comprehension, Srna explains.
The researchers hypothesize that this effect has to do with increased engagement: When you believe a task is a more complex, multi-part task, your brain brings more energy and power to the table.

Another way to improve your productivity is to work from a new environment – even better when it’s in a new city. Live abroad and experience your most productive, invigorating month with Behere, learn more here.
This article was originally posted on Thrive Global.

Written by Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global. 
Nora Battelle is a writer from New York City. She’s fascinated by language, culture, the internet, and all the small choices that can help us thrive.

This is How Mark Zuckerberg, Bill & Melinda Gates and Top Ceos Unwind

Earlier this summer, Bill Gates spent seven days at his hideaway cottage, partaking in a twice-yearly ritual he calls his “Think Week.” And while we don’t all have access to a secluded cabin, it’s important to take small steps that allow us to unwind the end of the day. Taking time to unplug and recharge is critical for our well-being, and we’re always looking for new ways to slow down before getting back to work. Here’s how top CEOs unwind after hours.
Mark Zuckerberg sets fitness goals
The Facebook founder and CEO has been vocal about his passion for running, especially after he ran a mile a day in 2016, partaking in his own 365-mile challenge. “I’ve found running is a great way to clear my head, to get more energy and to find time to think about challenges,” Zuckerberg posted online after he reached his goal. “I find these yearly challenges always take me in unexpected directions.”
Reshma Saujani schedules “me time” with herself
As founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani doesn’t have a lot of downtime, so she makes sure to schedule her own time for 7:30 every morning –– a ritual that has become non-negotiable in her home. As a working mom, Saujani struggles with finding alone time and prioritizing self-care, so her scheduled ritual has allowed her to carve out time for herself every day.
Bill and Melinda Gates play pickleball
The Gates recently told CNBC that they like to play a game called “pickleball,” their own twist on tennis — played instead with paddles and a plastic ball. As co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the couple is almost always busy, but they always make time to unwind and bond with family, whether it’s reading, meditating, or even playing games as a couple. “We’re huge pickleball fans,” Gates said.
Mark Cuban puts his phone away
We talk a lot about setting boundaries with our devices, and in an episode of the Thrive Global Podcast, Mark Cuban proved he’s serious about his own screen time boundaries. The Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star works with tech companies professionally, but to wind down at home, he puts his phone away, and even limits Netflix time around the house.
Jeff Bezos embraces work-life harmony
While some of us need a clear break between our work life and our home life, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he’s found his happy medium with work-life harmony.“I prefer the word ‘harmony’ to the word ‘balance’ because balance tends to imply a strict tradeoff,” Bezos explained to Thrive Global. “In fact, if I’m happy at work, I’m better at home  —  a better husband and better father. And if I’m happy at home, I come into work more energized  —  a better employee and a better colleague.”
While our favorite activities are personal and individualized, it’s important to make the time to put ourselves first, no matter how busy our days can be. Here are a few microsteps that will help you make it a point to wind down:
1. Pick a time at night when you turn off your devices — and escort them out of your bedroom
Our phones are repositories of everything we need to put away to allow us to sleep — our to-do lists, our inboxes, and multiple other projects. Disconnecting from the digital world will help you sleep better, deeply recharge and reconnect to your wisdom and creativity. Set an alarm every night that will signal your “powering down” time, and leave your devices outside of your bedroom. You’ll find that you’ll sleep better, and wake up feeling recharged and restored.
walking2. Take a short walk and focus on your breathing
You can still your mind even when you’re moving your body. Whether you’re scheduling a walking meeting, or just taking a stroll down the block to get out of the office, taking a walk every day can make a huge impact on your productivity and well-being, even if it’s only a few minutes. Take a step away from your desk –– you’ll return with renewed focus and purpose.
3. Schedule appointments with yourself for an activity you love
Whether you need your quick AM workout, a dinner with old friends, or just a solo movie night once a week, make an appointment with yourself, and show up. Make outside activities a priority by scheduling time on your calendar. It’s difficult to carve out time for ourselves when we don’t have it in writing, so it’s important to make your scheduling a physical action.

Feeling like you need to focus more on yourself and taking some time to unwind (while becoming more productive)? Choose a new city to live in for a month and book private apartments, workspaces and fitness studios, without the hassles. Learn more here.

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

Rebecca is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.