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Top 10 Greasemonkey scripts to improve your productivity

Top 10 Greasemonkey scripts to improve your productivity
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    Two weeks ago we covered the top 10 Firefox extensions to improve your productivity. Similarly, the powerful Greasemonkey extension (with the help of Stylish) can do wonders for your productivity, as well. You can accomplish many of the tasks that the Greasemonkey scripts below can do with various Firefox extensions. However, if you prefer to keep your list of extensions short (and to help conserve your computer memory) then give these scripts a try and watch your productivity soar! The following are 10 Greasemonkey scripts that are bound to improve your productivity and web browsing experience.

    If you’re unfamiliar with the Greasemonkey Firefox extension, here is the somewhat techy definition from Wikipedia:

    Greasemonkey is a Mozilla Firefox extension that allows users to install scripts that make on-the-fly changes to specific web pages. As the Greasemonkey scripts are persistent, the changes made to the web pages are executed every time the page is opened, making them effectively permanent for the user running the script.

    The first step is to install Greasemonkey like any other extension. For the purpose of this tutorial, also install Stylish exactly the same way you installed Greasemonkey. I have directly linked to the 10 Greasemonkey scripts below, so after you install Greasemonkey, all you need to do is click the links and the script will be installed.

    1. Gmail Conversation Preview

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      Gmail Conversation Preview lets you right click on your messages in Gmail and see a preview of the message. Furthermore, Gmail Conversation Preview allows you to mark your email message as unread, archive, or delete exactly as if you had the email message open. Using this script will reduce the amount of time it takes to get through your email tremendously.

      2. Stylish + Adblocking per Gozer
      This script was introduced two weeks ago in my list of Firefox extensions. Adblocker is extremely accurate and will block all Google Adsense and many other various advertisements on any site throughout the web. With the amount of distractions cut out, your can get some serious work done.

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      3. Google Reader + Gmail

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        If you use both the Gmail and the Google Reader suite of applications, you can integrate Google Reader into Gmail so that you can read your feeds right in your Gmail window. Google Reader + Gmail tucks your Google Reader feeds right into Gmail allowing you to read your favorite feeds without leaving your email.

        4. Invisibility cloak
        When you really need to hunker down and get some work done, the best alternative is to completely block those time wasting sites. To explain, you can create a list of the sites you find yourself sucked to, and schedule them to be blocked until after a certain time. For example if you keep getting sucked to Lifehack.org, or Digg.com, you can ban these sites until after 5pm. Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani wrote the Invisibility Cloak script and it blocks flickr.com and metafilter.com by default. If you want to add your own favorite time-sucking sites, right click the Greasemonkey logo in the bottom right corner of Firefox, choose “Manage User Scripts…” and add your Web sites to the list. The script is totally customizable and great for your productivity if you don’t mind going cold turkey on some of your favorite sites.

        5. Gmail Macros

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          “This excellent script extends the built-in Gmail keyboard shortcuts to let you mark an email as read, star it, move it, send it to the trash and a host of other added functionality” all with a couple quick key strokes. In order to see a list of all the keyboard shortcuts added by this script, open up Gmail and type ‘?’ and you will get an expanded view of the window I have shown.

          6. Google Image Relinker
          The Google Image relinking script redirects your Google Image search results directly to the full sized image so that you no longer have to click through the originating site to get to the full-sized image.

          7. Gmail Persistent Searches.

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            If you find that you are consistently searching Gmail for the same type of content, a persistent search would be for you. With this Greasemonkey script, you can create one-click searches of all of your email.

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            8. Add a second inbox to your Gmail account.
            If you’re sick and tired of fighting with your significant other about whose Gmail account is signed in, or if you manage more than one email account, rather than forwarding all your email to one account, with this Greasemonkey script you can add a second button to your Gmail account and quickly flip between two accounts. In order to use this script, you have to edit the .js file to include your second email account.

            9. RSS Quick Subscribe

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              If you use Google Reader, RSS Quick subscribe will show you links to the RSS feeds in the top right corner. Give the links a quick click and you will seamlessly be subcribed via Google Reader

              10. Gmail Attachment Reminder

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                Ever use the line “I have attached so and so” and then forget to actually attach the document? Of course you have, everybody has! However, with the attachment reminder, you will never forget again. If you use the words “attach” or “attached” and there is no attachment, the script will ask if you forgot the attachment. This script has come in handy for me tons of times!

                I know I must have missed tons of productivity-enhancing Greasemonkey scripts. Which of the above mentioned scripts can’t you live without? Please share your favorite Greasemonkey scripts in the comments.

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                Last Updated on August 16, 2018

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

                A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                The power of habit

                A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

                A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                How to make a reminder works for you

                Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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