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One Firefox Toolbar to Rule Them All

One Firefox Toolbar to Rule Them All
One Firefox Toolbar to Rule Them All

If you’re like me, the first thing you started doing when you downloaded the Firefox browser was start customizing the look and feel to suit yourself.

Since then I have continually made changes, added new extensions and improvements that I thought would improve my productivity.

A goal early on was putting everything that I used into one toolbar so to maximize screen space. Here is what I’ve done so I only look at one toolbar and the tab bar [plus status bar].

firefox customize menu

The Menu Bar

This is where you want all your stuff – because it’s the toolbar you can’t remove through Firefox’s Customize utility. All the others can be hidden from view.

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Right-click on the toolbar, hit Customize and start moving everything you want to the Menu bar. Leave the Google Search box. It’s extensively useless if you use Smart Keywords in the location bar to carry out searches on web pages.

Get Google Toolbar and move anything you actually use into your Menu toolbar. If you like to see the PageRank of all the sites you visit, you can move the meter to the Menu bar.

If you want to access webpages from your toolbar, drag the ‘double pages’ icon from the Bookmarks toolbar. This will put anything you bookmark to the ‘Bookmarks Toolbar’ to this area. When adding a bookmark to the ‘Bookmark Toolbar’, remove the title so only it’s favicon is shown.

firefox bookmarks toolbar customize button

If you use the Web Developer Toolbar, only drag the icons you use regularly and leave the rest. These buttons have drop-down menus to quickly access the stuff you use the most.

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Add any other buttons for extensions you use regularly.

Saving Space

The most important thing about using only one toolbar is maximizing the space you’re using. The first step is only adding buttons you use regularly and need to use as buttons. If you are happy doing the same thing with a keyboard shortcut or a smart keyword, then don’t bother so much with the button.

Remove what you don’t use. Use the Escape key instead of a button. F5 to refresh. Get MileWideBack to navigate back and forth between pages.

Custom Buttons

With this extension I found two great ‘custom buttons’ that save me the most space.

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The first is Compact Menu. This compiles all of the menus into one expandable icon. If I need to, it’s there and easy to navigate. Get more here.

firefox menu bar

Other Extensions

Stop/Reload Button – Combines the Stop and Reload buttons so only one is showing at any given time.

Menu Editor – You might want to have occasional access to certain buttons. Use Menu Editor to trim your Context Menu to what you use.

UI Tweaker – This extension provides some handy hacks to slim down your toolbar. Anything from removing the Go button to only allowing favicons in your Bookmarks Toolbar.

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Auto Hide – With this plugin you can customize what exactly happens when you put Firefox into fullsceen mode. Hit F11 and you can rig it so only your Menu bar and the status bar are showing. Also you can tell Firefox exactly which existing toolbars you want to be visible when you come out of fullscreen mode.

This means you can surf in fullscreen mode with only one toolbar, but if you want to quickly access other toolbars – even a secondary customized version on the Navigation Toolbar – all you need to do is hit F11.

Customization

There’s not much to it other than figuring out what you like and what you use the most. Firefox is too customizable to use stock. Keep hacking it for productivity.

firefox logo

More by this author

Craig Childs

Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

How to Master the Art of Prioritization

How to Master the Art of Prioritization

Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

Effective Prioritization

There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

My point is:

The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

More About Prioritization & Time Management

Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

Reference

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