Boost Productivity with these Five Favorite Google Apps and Extensions

I’ve found that whenever something frustrates me or slows me down in my digital workspace (which is pretty much 100% Google Chrome) — there’s an app for that!

Chances are, if I’m getting tripped up time and again, someone else has had the same problem and a solution is out there. The Internet ecosystem includes hundreds of helpful and creative Gmail and Chrome browser extensions that make work life easier.

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Over the years I’ve installed many extensions and applications and some ended up being duds while others have become invaluable to my day-to-day productivity.

Here’s a list of my top five favorite apps and extensions that help me solve everyday challenges and inefficiencies. I rely on these apps and extensions to save time, stay organized and work more efficiently.

  1. Google Keep
    It seems Google Keep has been around for six years, but I just discovered and downloaded the app last year. I came across this app while searching for an alternative to Evernote. (FYI, it does not offer half the features and functionality of Evernote, but for simple note-taking purposes, it’s much easier and more lightweight to use).It now serves as my daily note taker and houses my task lists. Google Keep is pinned in my browser right next to Gmail and Google Calendar — that’s how frequently I use it throughout the day. You can select the layout of your notes according to how you use the application—as sticky notes or longer-form entries.
    I like this app because:
    -Notes are searchable.
    -Notes can be labeled and sorted according to topic or type.
    -You can add reminders to notes, which will prompt an “alarm” to notify you at a specific date and time (I use this to add deadlines to my to-do list).
    -You can draw and annotate on your notes.
    -Notes can be copied/exported into Google docs.
  2. Boomerang for Gmail
    I discovered this Gmail extension while working remotely in an international time zone, because it would allow me to draft emails during my daytime hours, but send them when my contacts in the States were online. This not only comes in handy when you are working after hours, but in the PR business, for pitching as well. An email sent at 10 p.m. is likely to be missed in the morning since it will be lost in the tsunami of spam and newsletters that hit overnight. Depending on the message you’re sending and what’s required for someone to respond, (e.g. do they need to be at their desk to share the requested document with you?) the likelihood of getting someone’s attention and response varies by time of day.
    I like this extension because:
    -You can “boomerang” messages, or automatically resend if you do not get a reply. For example, if you send a message to your team asking for review of a document, you can simultaneously schedule a follow-up for 24 hours later, if no one has replied, with a note saying, “Hi team, reminder to review. Thanks!”(Again, this comes in handy when pitching. If no response after 48 hours, you can automatically schedule a follow-up email and note.)
    -It allows you to get your emails written off hours, but send when colleagues are online – good when traveling or working overseas.
    -It allows you to schedule emails at optimal times for being read or getting a response.
  3. Clipboard History (Google Chrome)
    Do you ever “lose” something you’ve copied? I used to have this problem a lot where I would go to paste something, only to realize I had mistakenly misplaced whatever content or URL I needed. This would sometimes result in a wild goose chase of re-opening tabs, etc. to get back to the text I’d lost. Other times, I want to access some piece of content that I used earlier that day or even earlier that week and this app gives me a quick reference to everything I’ve copied and pasted recently (you can set the history to auto-delete after 1 week, 1 month, etc).
    I like this extension because:
    -It is simple and straightforward.
    -Just by clicking on the icon to the right of your address bar, you can quickly see your clipboard. (The best part!)
    -You can search your clipboard. If you’re stuck trying to remember where you got a word, passage, link, -etc. you can actually search for any of those items in one simple step.
    -You can “favorite” items. I do this for websites where I have complicated usernames, or for URLs that I often need to paste into client content.
  4. Dittach
    Do you have trouble keeping track of email attachments? This one is for you. This app is so helpful and has saved me so much time searching through emails to find attachments. It’s hard keeping track of who sent what, when and what the latest versions of a document are. Dittach extracts all the attachments that you receive in your inbox and puts them nicely into a list, organized by date. You can search your attachments, see a preview of the attachment and have the opportunity to view the associated email (s).
    I like this app because:
    -It decouples emails and attachments so that you don’t have to search through messages to find documents.
    -It makes it easy to see the latest version of a document that was shared with you, even if multiple email strings were used to share a document.
    -You have multiple options to hide or display the Dittach feed so that it is not a distraction in your inbox unless you need to use the feature.
    -You can filter attachments by type to narrow down a search more quickly.
  5. Reading List
    This extension is pretty simplistic. It allows you to save a running list of links to articles that you want to read later. Often throughout my day I would come across an article that I wanted to read in full, but want to finish something else first or get to it later and leaving the tabs open in my browser gets annoying. This extension gives me the freedom to go ahead and close that tab and come back to the article later. You can edit the names of the articles and of course, delete them, but other than that, there’s not a lot of customization options.
    I like this extension because:
    -It is lightweight and nonintrusive.
    -It keeps track of which articles you’ve opened and considers those “read” so that you can delete them.
    -I can keep my browser “clutter-free” by closing tabs and be able to come back to them later.

Check out these five great productivity tools if you haven’t already and please share in the comments below what Google apps and extensions have been game changers for you!

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