The Manage Your Work Load Series: 7 Free Tools to Optimize Browsing

Spend your work day on a computer? You’re in the right place. This is the second post in the Manage Your Work Load Series, which provides online marketers with work load organization applications to optimize browsing productivity.

Last week I talked about some of my favorite applications, including Rapportive (find contact info quickly through Gmail), Evernote (organize and store notes, Microsoft Word 2.0 in the cloud), and Lastpass (automatically save passwords and easily login to sites). You can check it out through the link below.
 Optimize browsing withweb browser tools

3 Free Must Have Organization Applications

Optimize Your Web Browsing

I have a hard time staying true to a diet. Just like I have a hard time staying focused when web browsing.

When (Ok, if) I go on a diet I need to clean out my cupboards, and plan most of my meals in advance (Willpower has never really been my strong point).

For a diet, I need reinforcement and organization to stay on task (Otherwise my diet will consist of coffee, brownies and peanut butter toast). So I keep a food diary and write down everything I eat. The same structure really helps me stay on task when web browsing.

Check out the 7 web browsing tools below which help me keep a web browsing diary.

Eliminate Waste Web Browsing

1. Optimize Web Browsing with Web Time Tracker

Web browsing tool, extension to track browsing activity

Track Your Browsing Activity

Web Time Tracker is essentially the nagging girlfriend browsing tool. She knows where you go, and how long you spend there (the “there was traffic” excuse won’t work with Web Time Tracker).

Web Time Tracker keeps track of how much time you spend on each page you browse, in relation to your total web browsing activity for the day. The timer pauses whenever you are not actively using a page, so it accurately reflects the time spent actually web browsing, not the time a window has been open.

Here is a look at my web browsing activity via Web Time Tracker on Saturday (which confirms that yes, I check my email much too often):

Web browsing timer

Improve Your Web Browsing

Web Time Tracker is a good way to force myself into productivity with irrefutable web browsing data (I do the same thing to force myself to eat healthy with my food diary).

With Web Time Tracker you can also:

  • Plan your tasks according to your browsing tendencies to boost your browsing efficiency (E.g. Schedule only 30 minutes of Facebook time in your day).
  • Review where you have browsed throughout your day, week, or lifetime.
  • Manage how long Web Time Tracker stores your browsing time information (erase it, save it for 1-2 months or indefinitely):
Optimize time spend on broswers

Web Time Tracker Summary

Pros:

  • Web Time Tracker holds you accountable for where and how long you browse, and reveals what your browsing habits truly are (today, yesterday and as long as you’ve been browsing).
  • Keep track of browsing time on sites you know decrease productivity (Somehow I watched 6 hours of Community on Netflix last weekend, yikes!).

Cons:

  • Web Time Tracker leaves no room for excuses. You may not like what you see.

Download Web Time Tracker

2. StayFocusd Browser tool

Manage your browsing efficiency

StayFocusd is Web Time Tracker for those of us with less resolve. You thought Web Time Tracker was a nag? You haven’t heard the half of it.

StayFocusd tracks the amount of time you spend browsing on specific sites and prevents you from using them after a predetermined amount of time. Identify sites with StayFocusd which you waste time on and how long you will allow yourself browse on them, and  StayFocusd will block you from browsing on them once that established time is reached.

Web browsing tool to prevent waste web browsing

 Like Web Time Tracker, StayFocusd only times you while you are browsing on the site, once you click out, the timer pauses.

Once you open a site or page which you have limited browsing time for, StayFocusd begins to count down from the set time, as below:

Enhance your browsing activities

Browser Optimization Tool or Personal Trainer?

I use StayFocusd as my virtual trainer browser tool, keeping me on-track and efficient while web browsing at work.

When you are nearing your pre-determined time limit, StayFocusd reminds you of the impending deadline with a warning pop up (Don’t eat that cookie!):
Browse better

StayFocusd also helps you to enforce your browsing page block rules, and time limits with an automatic log out once you’ve reached the maximum time allowed on a site, with a cheeky block page:

Get the most out of your web browsing

Additionally, StayFocusd helps you save you from yourself, with its “no cheat” browsing feature (self-named). Which will not allow you to remove sites as blocked once they have reached their maximum time allowance.

So once you’ve been logged out of Facebook, you can’t get back in by extending the browsing time limit on that site, or taking it off the block list. The following pop up appears when you try to do so:

Avoid wasting time web browsing

Optimize Browser Efficiency with StayFocusd

After you download StayFocusd, you need to identify which sites you’d like blocked, and how much time you will allow yourself to browse on them.

You can block browsing access through the drop down menu (1), or by typing them in the advanced options menu (2), as noted below:

Increase your browsing productivity

By default, StayFocusd sets the browsing time limit to 10 minutes, but you can edit this through the settings option in the drop down menu:

Monitor the time you spend browsing

StayFocusd Summary
Pros:
  • Prevent any lapse in self-control while browsing, with your own browsing productivity enforcing tool.

Cons:

  • If you use Facebook for work and pleasure (link useful resource articles for other users, but also waste browser time viewing status updates). You either have to block Facebook and not post any links, or leave it unrestricted, and trust your self-control.
  • You can still access sites through a different web browser (don’t be tempted by Firefox).

Download StayFocusd

Optimize Your Browsing Habits

3. Improve Your Browser Activity with Session Manager

Organize your browsing tasks

For those of you who are interrupted a lot or switch from different browsing tasks frequently, Session Manager is the solution to all of your problems (Excluding that winning lottery ticket).

Session Manager allows you to save your current browser tabs, windows and pages and re-open them later.

Maximize Web Browsing Efficiency

Session Manager allows me to save browsing sessions so I can organize my work load. Planning out my daily browser activities and scheduling chunks of time to focus on specific tasks really helps me stay productive, and optimize my browsing.

Here is a quick look at some of the browsing sessions I have saved, which are based on tasks I perform daily:

Structure your daily browsing

With Session Manager you can also:

  • Import and Export sessions to other services or computers:
Manage your browsing sessions

Session Manager Summary

Pros:

  • Return to web browsing projects after having been interrupted.
  • Organize and save browsing sessions according to your personal preferences. (Like all of your research on which Honda Sport Bike to buy.)

Cons:

  • Bookmarks might start giving you the stink eye.

Download Session Manager

4. Optimize Browsing Productivity with TabJump 

Browsing tools for tab organization

Navigate Between Tabs with TabJump

While Session Manager allows you to save sets of tabs you use often, TabJump allows you to navigate between tabs.

Optimize Browsing and Tailor Your Browsing

TabJump is a convenient application for the disorganized web browser. I use TabJump to easily access tabs which relate to what I am browsing. Check out some of the things you can do with TabJump:

TabJump application lock tabs to optimize web browsing

TabJump Summary

Pros:

  • Access frequently used tabs, and lock open tabs.
  • Restore closed browser tabs (Impress people and say “alakazam” first).

Cons:

  • Larger interface, not very minimalist friendly.

Download TabJump

Note: Right after installation, TabJump will not have much browsing history saved. You’re best off installing it, and checking out its web browsing functions a bit later in the day.

5. TooManyTabs, the Web Browsing Tool for Champions

Safe browsing tool for tab closing

View and Access Open Browser Tabs with TooManyTabs

While Tabjump and Session Manager are browsing tools for the everyday user, Visibo’s TooManyTabs is designed for the web browsing tab junkie.

Navigate Between Browser Tabs

TooManyTabs is an extension designed to help you navigate within your browsing session, which gets pretty cluttered if you’re anything like me.

With TooManyTabs you can also:

  • View all the browser tabs you have open, to get a more holistic view of your browser tabs (note the picture below).
  • Return to closed tabs, search tab history, and organize existing open tabs.
  • Always know how many browsing tabs you have open at a glance, I have 24 tabs in the example below (the first step is admitting you have a problem):
Elevate browsing activity

TooManyTabs Summary

Pros:

  • Organize, and access multiple open browser tabs.
  • Open closed tabs or browse tab history.

Cons

  • When open, TooManyTabs covers a large portion of your browser screen.
Download TooManyTabs

6. Browse Effectively with Speed Dial

Broswer tool Speed Dial

Access Frequently Used Sites

Speed Dial creates a Chrome homepage which acts as a central hub for all of your browsing bookmarks, and frequently visited sites.

Access Sites for Optimized Browsing

My main motivation for using Speed Dial? I’m just too lazy to click through multiple folders in bookmarks, or goodness forbid type an entire URL into a search box to browse. What’s next? Walking up an escalator?

With Speed Dial you can also:

  • Organize site links according to your personal preferences.
  • Google Search.
    Augment your browser experience

    Organize and access frequently used pages with Speed Dial

  • Access your frequently used web browsing pages every time you open a chrome tab, and open them with one click (because any more than that would be work):

Save pages on Speed Dial, enhance browsing

Speed Dial Summary

Pros:

  • Quickly access browser sites you use frequently.
  • It’s pretty! You can edit the theme and layout of Speed Dial (My color scheme is blue).

Cons:

  • You tell me.
Download Speed Dial 
Note: Once speed dial is installed, you need to specify which sites you’d like to be stored on the Speed Dial page. After which, each new browser tab you access in Chrome will act as an access point for all of your saved sites.

7. AppJump, the Extension to Optimize Extensions

AppJump optimize your web browser

Manage Your Web Browsing Extensions with AppJump

Nice job reading about all the web browsing applications (gold star!). Now that you’ve downloaded 6 applications, here’s a seventh which will help you organize the rest.

AppJump lets you organize other Apps and Extensions by grouping them.

You can group your applications and extensions through the Manage Apps and Extensions page for easy access:

App Jump group web browsing extensions, elevate your browsing

Group Web Browsing Extensions

From this page you can organize your browsing extensions and applications in groups according to their function, or how you use them, and launch them right from AppJump:

Group extension to organize and elevate web browsing

Group Extension with AppJump

AppJump Summary

Pros:

  • Optimize your web browsing extensions in organized groups.
  • Launch applications right from the AppJump menu.

Cons:

  • AppJump only allows you to launch certain web applications from its dropdown menu.
Download AppJump App Launcher and Organizer

Web browsing tools to optimize web browsing

Stay Organized My Friends

You are well on your way to optimal efficiency in your online marketing campaign with these optimization web browsing tools, and work flow applications.

Keep looking busy, and you can use the time you’re saving to develop more Klout.

Save time with these web browsing applications

About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.