Is Your Browser a Time-Waster?

It might not seem like such a big deal, but finding out whether or not your internet Web browser is a time-waster can help you accomplish more when you're online. Check out some of these helpful hints.

Pick the Right Home Page

Few things have the power to distract us like our Web browsers. Often times, working efficiently on the Internet is a matter of self-control. However, there are some additional tricks you can adapt that will make your browser itself a more powerful, streamlined tool, which should help you elicit better returns from your hard work.

Setting your home page to something useful and relevant to your main computer usage will help you to get started on working right away. Chris O'Neal, consultant and former blogger for the website Edutopia.org, has suggested using Google to set up an RSS feed of news sites applicable to your line of work or particular interests. Therefore, when you open up your browser you'll be immediately greeted with important information you should know - no need to search around.

Declutter Your Display

Clean up your browser's display. The less visual distractions you have to deal with on-screen, the better your productivity will be. That's especially true if you're using a browser like Mozilla Firefox that allows you to store graphic representations of your bookmarks on the browser's main task bar.

Ditch all such distractions, leaving a totally clean, empty display. However, for ease of access you could probably stand to leave bookmarks for a few important professional sites. If job efficiency's your goal, though, you may want to eliminate any easy links to your favorite personal (re: time-wasting) destinations.

Choose the Right Browser

Speaking of different browsers, make sure you choose the one that best suits your needs! In the past few years, many users have opted for free, downloadable programs like Firefox or Google Chrome over pre-loaded software like Microsoft's Internet Explorer. According to Lifehacker.com (and the U.S. government, for that matter), more and more users are beginning to prefer Chrome above all other browsers, at least in part because it feels faster and more efficient, even if it isn't in actuality (though it certainly can be). Chrome's simple, aesthetically sparse interface makes the Web page on screen about the only place your eye can gravitate towards, which seems right in line with our advice.

Also worth noting: both Firefox and Chrome now offer users the ability to sync their browser preferences (bookmarks, home pages, cookies, etc.) over the Internet, meaning that you can work from any connected computer and enjoy basically the same browser experience, so if you travel a lot, you might find a syncing browser essential.

Add Extensions

Another potential benefit to choosing one Web browser over another: various browser extensions. These are downloadable programs (supported by the browser developers themselves) that can add on lots of random, useful functionalities to your current software, much like downloadable apps do on a mobile phone. There are lots of browser extensions to suit your particular needs; they fulfill functions like keeping track of passwords to various Internet sites, better organizing your tabs and even helping you shop by delivering automatic comparison pricing.

Can your Web browser help you time travel? Kind of.

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