Get News Feeds from Around the World on Your Chrome Startpage

Usually I avoid using the default start page (New Tab page) on my Chrome browser. I prefer using a customized one which allows a bit more productivity.

As I love keeping in touch with news and updates from around the world, I found New Tab Feeder a great way to get News feeds from reputed websites on the start page itself

New Tab Feeder: Options

  • As the above screenshot shows, users can constantly look up headlines from different sources.
  • Most importantly users can search within the headlines from the search bar.
  • The design is simple and background images can be sourced from Instagram.

I found this extension very useful if you are interested in the news. In case you want something more productive with the ability to leave yourself notes on the startpage, you might like looking up Incredible Start Page.

You might also like to readup these 5 great apps to customize your Chrome’s start page.

Try out New Tab Feeder and drop in your comments.

Link: New Tab Feeder

Track the Time You Spend on Each Website with Chrome [Time Tracker]

I spend a lot of time online, thanks to being a full-time blogger. This means I spend hours reading feeds, writing posts and replying and reading email.

I have always wondered how much time I spend on a particular website. Sometime keeping track makes you aware of how and where you are spending your time and energy.

Just install Time Tracker extension on Chrome and start surfing as always. The Time Tracker shows data of time spent on a website along with how much time spent on a website along with percentage of time compared to the total.

Why tracking time on website helps?

For me this sort of tracking will help in many ways. It will keep me honest about how much time I spending working or how much time I might be getting distracted.

Even when it is about work, it might be better to spend more time on the blog writing and moderating posts instead of replying to email.

If you are using Chrome as your primary browser, use Time Tracker extension and check your browsing habits in terms of time spent on each website.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Time Tracker Chrome Extension

Access your Favourite Applications, Files and Folders in One Place with ConFavor

Even though our computers have a lot of applications, files and folders, there are only a handful that we use everyday. I use Chrome, Skype, Live Writer everyday but hardly use Internet Explorer. Same goes for some notepad files which I use often.

ConFavor allows accessing our favourite files, folders and even applications from a single place. I can now access all my favourites from the desktop with a single click.

Adding these favourites is also very easy but either a single right-click and adding to favourites while on desktop or looking up files in folders.

For Windows Xp and Vista users, it also supports Context Menu, which means you can check your files, folders and programs from the start button as seen in image below.

Unfortunately context menu does not work for Windows 7, but works like a charm with Windows XP and Vista.

So now next time, when I want to launch a bunch of my favourite programs and files, I just right-click on the desktop and start launching the applications.

Thanks to Vibin for the top and try out ConFavor and do drop in your comments.

Link: ConFavor

KeepMeOut – Simple tool to manage online addiction

We are often addicted to certain sites. For me I guess it is Facebook and YouTube. I have links to them on my bookmark and sometimes end up on those websites far more than I should be. 😛

If you are someone like me, who works on the internet and will have access to all sites which might be considered slightly unproductive, you should look up KeepMeOut.

KeepMeOut Features

  • Just visit the website, type in the URL of the website you want to avoid visiting.
  • The default time it blocks a website is 60 minutes but I could customize to less or more.
  • After this, we get a URL. Just drag and drop it to your bookmarks. Best to rename it to the name of the website.
  • Now once you click on the bookmark, it will not allow you to visit that website for the time you have set for yourself.

I found this quite useful to bring about some self-discipline in my surfing habits. We can still visit the website we want from a different browser or even typing in the URL in the address bar. It is not really a blocking tool but more like a self-help tool.

Related: To Visit or Not

Link: KeepMeOut

Boost your Productivity with Split Screen on Google Chrome

Split Screen is an extension for google chrome that lets you browse two websites within a single tab of your browser. The extension splits your browser into two windows, where you can separately enter url’s and surf effectively. This extension can be really helpful on wide screen monitors, which will give you endless real world uses.

Must read: 5 Chrome Extensions To Enhance your Google Search Experience

Here is how the browser looks!

Some of you might think that you have a better option to switch tabs on your browser, but the extension can be really helpful in some cases when you want to compare two websites or results. Listed below are some of its uses:

  • Compare search results to two search engines side-by-side.
  • Surf one website till the other one is loading like a buffering video, rather than waiting or switching tabs to see whether the website has opened or not.
  • Comparing products on two websites.
  • And many more!

This extension will reduce the time you waste on one website till it is loading, and in turn will boost your productivity. But HTTPS sites don’t work with it. The extension provides you an additional functionality to split your browser tab vertically or horizontally.

Link: Split Screen

Have you tried working on split screen? Let us know.

Easily Launch Applications on your Computer with ‘Launchy’ [Windows & Linux]

You must have noticed, since last couple of days, I have been writing about productivity apps that helps to easily manage things on your PC. So, here is another utility – Launchy that can help you easily launch applications installed in your pc with maximum of 2-3 key strokes. If you are an avid computer user and keep switching from one apps to other, then this is another must have app for you.

Using Launchy:

Download Launchy for free, install it and customize your desired keyboard shortcut (default is Alt+Space bar). Voila! Next time whenever you need to open up any of your installed applications just hit “Alt+Space” or your predefined keyboard shortcut, type the initials of the application name and hit enter and your application will be launched. Yes, that simple it is. 😉

Brief Features of Launchy:

  • Open source application to launch applications with minimum keystrokes
  • Makes opening of applications and software simple
  • Supported for PC running on Linux and Windows operating system
  • Customizable skins
  • Fast and light weight

Links: Launchy Official site | Download Launchy

Flashnote: Simplest Note Taking App [Windows only]

Since more than a year now, I am using Flashnote, the simplest, lightest and easy to use note taking app I have ever come across and importantly this wonderful app for windows is absolutely free. After installing flashnote, you can open the app by pressing “Alt+S” (default shortcut key) write anything there and press escape to close the app. You need not waste time opening a new file, saving it, etc. All I can say is just use it once and see what wonders it can do for you! 😉

Features of Flashnote:

  • Easily launch flashnote by pressing “Alt+S” or any other predefined keyboard shortcut
  • Entered text automatically gets saved to a specific windows folder
  • Create categories and sub-categories for different notes
  • Easily backup/export all your notes within second
  • Option to use customized background and text color

Few Features I wish Flashnote had:

  • Auto backup of data on the cloud and option to sync with multiple computers at work and home
  • Support for other operating systems as well
  • Support to take note of screenshots as in one note and some other note taking app

Hope someone from Flashnote team reads this and try to implement the suggested features.

Links: Flashnote | Download Flashnote

Wakoopa – Track your Productivity

Wakoopa provides a very useful service of tracking applications and discovering new software. By using this service, we can find out how productive we are. And it lets us know what software we are using and for how long, at the same time also suggesting suitable applications to manage our time and work.

Day before yesterday, Wakoopa released a consolidated report for the first quarter of 2009 -totaling 525 million hours of software usage data, across over 200000 applications from 75,000 members.

Some of the key findings publicized includes:

  • Facebook acts as an exception in Social networking sites. Facebook usage is steady throughout the day but on others, the usage tends to peak between 9 and 10 PM. Other web apps tend to peak between 4 and 5 PM.
  • Twitter usage is on a bull trend and most of them use Twitter desktop client.
  • Google Friend Connect showed large declines in usage in the first quarter.
  • Google Chrome is capturing its market share very quickly, and it created a significant impact in browser market with 15% share.
  • Firefox is unbeatable and it stood first among Wakoopa users. It also reveals people are using 7 times longer in Firefox than Internet explorer.
  • Windows Live messenger is dominant across world between any age group.
  • The e-mail peek checking time for weekdays and weekends is during 11am and 9pm respectively.

Link: Wakoopa

8 Productivity Tips for Professional Blogging

Adopting blogging as a profession or say professional blogging is still a very fresh concept in most part of the world. After years of my blogging experience, I have gradually realized the value of blogging which can give you both knowledge and enough money to make a living out of it. Literally there is no core difference in blogging or problogging so one needs to get out of the hangover for the word “Professional” associated with problogging.

Now consider a case when you want to go to the office or some other public place. What will you do? Obviously you will get ready, wear clean clothes, shoes etc. But why? The only reason is just to look professional and presentable. Same way, if blogging is done in a presentable way can bring a lot of difference to you. So in this article let me share with you some productivity tips which will help you do quality and professional blogging.

1. Develop Strong Niche

Avoid being “Jack of All Trades, Masters of None”. As only Master excels, not the Jack. So develop a strong knowledge in the area of your own interest. People tend to get influenced by things around them easily and start chasing them. So they end up following neither their own interest nor others. So give your interest enough time so that you have gain enough knowledge to pour in to your blog posts for the readers of your blog.

Photo by: cambodia4kidsorg

2. Use dedicated time

Once you develop a strong foundation in the subject of your choice, now comes time to ring the bell of blogging. Take up a dedicated time of the day (away from any distraction) and just write in. Here is the tip, consider yourself a reader than a writer. Think what would you like to read on that particular topic (that you are currently writing on). With this dual psychological trick, you use both, left as well as right brain to bring maximum productivity in your work.

3. Be Clear

Avoid crossroads or misleading information. Write less but be clear on what you want to say. There is literally no point in writing big but useless or unclear posts. Another disadvantage of being unclear is that you lose a reader who could have recommended your blog further.

So the third tip is, be crystal clear in your thought and post to create interest in user.

4. Automate Your Work with Technology

Using right softwares, you can increase your productivity by many times. A simple example of using Windows Live Writer (WLW), a desktop blogging tool available for free. It has built-in dictionary which will avoid your wastage of time in reviewing your posts for spelling errors. Also, it has blog post option where in you can synchronize WLW with your blogging by scheduling a your posts. Set time and date your post will automatically show up in the blog. Similarly using good softwares (like WLW or ScribbleFire) can help you get maximum results in minimum time.

5. Blogging Software (Platform)

Use your own domain with WordPress or Blogger platform as these are two best softwares for professional blogging. WordPress is even more preferable for fast SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As making money is a part of your pro-blogging carrier, Google AdSense is the best program for both, novice and experienced writers.

Later when you become famous, you can also go for direct advertising and make good living out of pro-blogging. Both WordPress(self-hosted) and Blogger make it very easy to add Google AdSense or any other type of advertising on your blog.

6. Record Your Ideas

Recording your idea is the most effective solution to mind-map your ideas. If you do not have habit to write for longer periods, this one is the best for you. Just record your audio ideas so that later in the day or week you can listen them to write a good post. This forward and backward chaining of thoughts will increase you productivity on a very high scale as none of your ideas are lost away.

Another advantage of this technique is that you will also gain experience in audio recording. So once you get comfortable in recording your own voice, you can save lots of time by avoiding writing blog post altogether and consider making an audio post each day. Yep, I am talking about audio podcasting, which can help you gain good exposure. Same way this technique will enhance your skills to start video posting on self made videos. This way, you can save a lot of time in writing and hence increase your productivity and worth.

7. Mind Mapping Techniques

The new and good way of mind mapping is already been discussed in point 6 of audio recording your voice. Another good mind mapping technique is writing or jotting your ideas down. This old school technique is very effective and your friend in traveling times. Whenever you are on a trip always keep a notepad with you. Just jot down any ideas you get on your niche. Another great way is use commercial softwares like Novamind. It is one the best softwares for mind mapping.

If you follow this, you will see a lot of difference in your productivity when you will sit in front of your PC/Laptop next time. You only have to write about ideas you jotted, without any pressure of making in depth analysis. Also such habits can be a good time-pass in long boring journeys.

8. Use Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a very useful way to keep in touch of what’s going around the world. You don’t have to waste your time going to search engines and find something. Just add a Google alert for your favorite topic and Google will automatically email you about the latest information on that topic.

These simple techniques can bring wonders to your blogging life. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and you will find it useful in your professional blogging carrier.

[Editor Note: This post is by guest blogger Manpreet Singh. He blogs at Digital World on productivity tips, financial planning and technology.
If you like to write for Devils Workshop, please check this. Details about our revenue sharing programs are here.]