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Best Chrome extensions for productivity in 2020

Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

For many people, the majority of the workday and a good share of personal time is spent in a Google Chrome web browser. One of the many reasons for Chrome’s popularity is the massive collection of extensions available, including thousands designed to help you stay productive. 

Sorting through all of those extensions to find the valuable options isn’t something most people want to do, so we’ve done that hard work for you and identified eight of the best Chrome extensions for productivity. These tools cover a variety of different areas related to productivity, including to-do lists, organization, time management, and more, but each one is going to help you get more done online.

Todoist

(Image credit: Doist)

Nothing says productivity like a to-do list and Todoist is one of the best services out there for keeping you on task and organized. It offers a simple interface with intelligent natural language task entry, so you can type what you need to do and by when, and Todoist will convert it into a task with an assigned due date. The free tier will be plenty for most users, but if you want to dig deeper, the Premium tier is $3 a month paid annually and adds useful extras like file uploads, calendar sync, reminders, and project templates.

Turning to the Chrome extension, it helps to keep the service at your fingertips throughout the day so you don’t forget anything you need to do or forget to add a new task to your list. The icon always displays the number of tasks you have due today, which is handy glanceable info. Clicking the icon opens a pop-up that gives you full access to your to-do list if you need to drill down into a task, but if you are looking to get in and out quickly, there’s a Quick Find and Quick Add option at the top to track down or add a new task in a single click. 

Add Todoist to Chrome

RescueTime

(Image credit: RescueTime)

Time tracking can be a helpful habit to make sure you are staying productive, but many time tracking tools require you to manually turn them on and off, which can be distracting and easy to forget. The RescueTime Chrome extension does the time tracking for you automatically, capturing exactly how much time you are spending on which websites throughout the day. 

With the free RescueTime Lite you get the time tracking along with goals for where you should be spending your time. You’ll get to see your progress with up to 3 months of tracking data. The Premium tier starts at $6 a month and gives you a number of extras, including actual distraction blockers that will cut off sites you shouldn’t be visiting after a set time, real-time alerts for your goals, unlimited historical data, and custom work hours to show your performance during work versus personal time.

Add RescueTime to Chrome

Grammarly

(Image credit: Grammarly)

If you spend any time during the day writing, even if that’s just sending an email, then the Grammarly Chrome extension is going to save you from an embarrassing slip up at some point. Never again will the wrong affect/effect make its way into your writing. Grammarly can help you with advice regarding your grammar, spelling, punction, tone, and conciseness across a number of sites on the free tier and with a premium subscription ($11.66/month) that extends to any website where you enter text along with a host of additional features.

Grammarly Premium will flag writing that needs to be clarified for readability, offers vocabulary recommendations, advice on varying sentence structure, a plagiarism check, and guidance on making your writing more confident, polite, formal, or inclusive. Regardless of how confident you are in your writing, everyone makes mistakes from time to time and Grammarly will eliminate them.

Add Grammarly to Chrome

The Great Suspender

(Image credit: The Great Suspender)

This is more about the performance of your laptop than your own personal productivity, but one can certainly have an effect on the other. Chrome is an excellent and extremely robust browser, but it can be a bit of a resource hog, particularly if you are like me and you have a tendency to keep 30 to 100 tabs open at any one time. 

The Great Suspender solves this problem by suspending the activity of tabs that haven’t been accessed for a set amount of time. This frees up the RAM and CPU being used up by those tabs. You can whitelist sites that you never want to have suspended and the extension is intelligent about tabs that you might not want to have suspended, such as those that are playing audio or those with survey fields that require input. You can also customize the behavior of the extension for when you are on battery power or if you are offline. 

Add The Great Suspender to Chrome

Momentum

(Image credit: Momentum)

Momentum offers you productivity partly by way of minimalism and partly by way of organization. Instead of the standard new tab screen in Google Chrome, Momentum gives you a customizable dashboard with a daily photo and a quote for inspiration along with some extras to help keep you on track.

Each day, you can set a daily focus that you want to achieve that will display prominently below the time. These are the primary elements of Momentum, but you can do a lot more with it. In each corner of the dashboard, you’ll find another element; Links and search are in the upper-left, the weather in the upper-right, To-do list in the lower-right, and Settings in the lower-left. 

You can customize all of these areas, for example, you can set the links as well as groups of links to open simultaneously. The to-do functionality is great for simple daily tasks, but if you want to integrate it with an outside to-do app, like Todoist, that can be done with the Momentum Plus subscription for $3.33 a month. At first glance, it may not feel like much, but Momentum is creating both a useful dashboard that helps you to focus on what you need to get done, while also generating a more pleasant environment to work in.

Add Momentum to Chrome

StayFocusd

(Image credit: StayFocusd)

While occasional breaks here and there can be healthy, it’s easy to lose track of the amount of time you spend on social networks, YouTube, or any of your favorite sites. StayFocusd is a great tool to help keep you productive throughout the day by limiting your time on content that could be considered a time-waster for you. 

You are able to block entire sites after a set amount of time or you can block subdomains, individual pages, or specific types of content like videos, games, or images. The StayFocusd Chrome extension is entirely free to use, but if you are interested in expanding the functionality to your mobile device, Chrome OS, macOS, or Windows 10, you can do this with the paid Freedom service that also covers apps for as low as $2.42 a month.

Add StayFocusd to Chrome

Tab Manager Plus 

(Image credit: Tab Manager Plus)

Tab Manager Plus is another indispensable extension for those who keep a lot of tabs open at once. It’s an organizational tool that gives you vastly more control over your tabs and will prevent you from wasting time tracking down that pesky website that is hiding somewhere in the sea of tabs you have open. 

You can search for tabs, filter them, group them, view all of them at once, eliminate duplicates, and close groups of tabs, just to name a few features. The user interface could use a visual update (this is an open-source version of an extension that was abandoned in 2018) but it is incredibly intuitive, and the developers have done a solid job of updating it since the release. If any aspect of your job requires online research, you will find Tab Manager Plus to be a huge help keeping topics organized.

Add Tab Manager Plus to Chrome

Evernote Web Clipper

(Image credit: Evernote)

Evernote is an incredibly deep service that offers extensive research and organizational tools, but we'll specifically highlight the Web Clipper Chrome extension. This is a natural fit for Evernote, your digital notebook for everything, giving you an easy way to capture content that you find online and save it to one of your notebooks. 

Web Clipper gives you the option to save full web pages or only sections, like a single story or article. You can also use it to annotate screenshots with text, arrows, a pen tool, or even blur out sensitive info if necessary. This will all sync back to your Evernote account with the ability to save it to a specific notebook along with tags to help you classify it and a remarks section if you want to remind yourself why you captured it in the first place. Finally, there is an easy share function if you want to send what you captured to someone 

All of that functionality is covered by the free account; the one feature Evernote frustratingly reserves for Premium users is syncing across all of your devices. At $7.99 a month, Evernote Premium isn’t cheap, but it offers a wealth of features beyond what I’ve mentioned here, including searching for text within PDFs or Office Docs in your notebooks, PDF annotation, integrations with Google Drive, Outlook, Slack and Microsoft Team and more. If you want to make this your primary research tool, it’s worth the cost.

Add Evernote Web Clipper to Chrome