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Be More Productive Online With 7 Google Chrome Start Page Extensions

Be More Productive Online With 7 Google Chrome Start Page Extensions

      What’s the first thing you do when you start up your web browser? If you’re like me, you’ll see a number of tabs from the last time you were browsing. Or perhaps a single homepage.  Many of us take the time to customize these options, because we have certain preferences for what we like to see when we first get down to browsing.

      Now let me ask you another question – what do you see when you open a new tab? Many people don’t customize this, and see the default that comes with their browser. The Google Chrome Default New Tab “Speed Dial” Page is nice, and I personally prefer it to having a blank new tab (which was what I had for a long time with Firefox).  However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it – so I went looking for different options to customize it.

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      In this article, I’ll show you some different extensions to customize your new tab/start page – as well as reveal to you my personal favorite.

      Empty New Tab Page

          • What Does It Do? Replaces your chrome default new tab with a totally blank page.
          • Why Is It Cool? Don’t want everyone to see your speed dial page?  Constantly tempted with your  favorite websites when you’re working? Go back to the good old days of blank tabs.
          • Where Can I Get It? Check it out, Empty New Tab Page.

          New Tab With Google Tasks

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            • What Does It Do? Replaces your chrome default new tab with your Google Tasks.
            • Why Is It Cool? Need regular reminder for what you have to work on?  Check out this extension, and you’ll see your tasks all the time.
            • Where Can I Get It? Check it out here: New Tab To Tasks.

            New Tab With Clock

              • What Does It Do? Replaces your chrome default new tab with a page showing just the time, or the time and the current project you are working on.
              • Why Is It Cool? Never lose track of time mindlessly web browsing again! You’ll constantly be reminded what time it is.
              • Where Can I Get It? Comes in two varieties, the simple one you see above:  New Tab with Clock and New Tab With Clock and Current Project Entry (which includes a text box for a single task or project you are working on).

              New Tab Favorites

                • What does it do? New Tab Favorites replaces the chrome default new tab with a page listing your selection of websites.
                • Why Is It Cool? You can easily manage the list to fit it to your own needs.  You may be able to do this with the regular Google Chrome page, but some may prefer the interface of this extension.
                • Where Can I Get It? Check it out here: New Tab Favorites.

                Fav4 New Tab Page

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                  • What Does It Do? A beautiful, simple new tab that shows large icons for 4 sites that you specify.
                  • Why Is It Cool? Most of us visit the same websites over and over. This provides a simple way to navigate to those common websites, and you can even use keyboard shortcuts (1,2,3,4).  Did I mention it looks great?
                  • Where Can I Get It? Check it out here, Fav4 New Tab Page.

                  Incredible StartPage – Productive Start Page for Chrome

                    • What Does It Do? A beautifully designed, powerful start page featuring your bookmarks, recently closed tabs, and even a little area to leave yourself notes.
                    • Why Is It Cool? Contains the most options of any start page I’ve seen, and looks great to boot. Currently my favorite start page.
                    • Where Can I Get It? Check it out here, Incredible Start Page.

                    Things To Do

                      • What Does It Do? A simple extension that replaces the new tab page with a to do list. Add it and watch your productivity soar!
                      • Why Is It Cool? No fancy graphics or widgets to distract you, this intuitively designed start page helps keep you on task.  This is the start page I used for a long time, to help me keep track of short term tasks as I was browsing/researching.
                      • Where Can I Get It? Check it out here, Things To Do.

                      Customize Your New Tab to Any Page

                      There are a variety of start pages out there, and you may prefer to set your new tab page to something else entirely.  There are a number of different options for that, you can check some of these out to find one you like:

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                      What Do You Think?

                      What are your thoughts? Do you care about what your new tab shows? Any extensions or options you’d like to share?

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                      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                      How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                      How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                      Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

                      “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

                      But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

                      Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

                      1. Always Have a Book

                      It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

                      Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

                      2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

                      We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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                      Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

                      3. Get More Intellectual Friends

                      Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

                      Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

                      4. Guided Thinking

                      Albert Einstein once said,

                      “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

                      Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

                      5. Put it Into Practice

                      Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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                      If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

                      In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

                      6. Teach Others

                      You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

                      Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

                      7. Clean Your Input

                      Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

                      I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

                      Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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                      8. Learn in Groups

                      Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

                      Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

                      9. Unlearn Assumptions

                      You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

                      Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

                      Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

                      10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

                      Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

                      Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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                      11. Start a Project

                      Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

                      If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

                      12. Follow Your Intuition

                      Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

                      Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

                      13. The Morning Fifteen

                      Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

                      If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

                      14. Reap the Rewards

                      Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

                      15. Make Learning a Priority

                      Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

                      More About Continuous Learning

                      Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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