If you’re a productivity geek like me, you probably already use more than one web browser. If not, I highly recommend it (even if you’re aren’t a geek). It may sound very multitaskish to use multiple browsers, but I find that it actually helps me be more productive by keeping certain activities in silos.
Since starting fresh with a new MacBook Pro recently, I’ve moved to Safari as my default browser. And for a while now, I’ve been using Chrome as my secondary browser.
Where’s Firefox, you ask?
Firefox was my default browser of choice for years, but I’ve recently decided that the speed and stability of Safari are worth more than the extensibility of Firefox.
In fact, I began to notice that Firefox extensions were hurting my productivity. They constantly receive updates, which slow down browser launch. And some extensions like StumbleUpon are like having a social media crack dealer sitting on your toolbar 24/7. These have no place on a productivity machine.
How I use Chrome
In my opinion, Chrome has supplanted Firefox as the best third-party browser available. Chrome launches fast as lightnin’ and now has virtually as many extensions as Firefox (if you’re into extensions).
I use Chrome as my communications and task management browser. I use it exclusively for:
- Gmail, Google Calendar, and other Google services
- Remember the Milk tasks
- Social media (Twitter, etc.)
Benefits of my two-browser approach:
- Google services run great in Chrome. This should be shocking to no one since Google makes Chrome.
- I can stay signed out of Google in Safari, where I do most of my Google searching. While I do have web history turned off for my Google account, I’m still more comfortable knowing that every single Google search I make isn’t attached to my username. (Of course, I’m sure Google already knows more about me than I know about myself, so this is probably being overly paranoid.)
- I have Chrome configured to launch Gmail and Remember the Milk in two separate tabs every time I open Chrome. For me, this makes Chrome feel like a productivity application. If I need to check email, set events on my calendar, or manage tasks, they’re always in the same place.
- By keeping email and tasks in a dedicated browser, they don’t get buried in my Safari tabs. I’m also not as tempted to check email while I’m doing research or reading in Safari.
- Like email, by doing 99% of my social media things in Chrome, I stay more focused in Safari. I’m not tempted to check my Twitter timeline, etc.
- The only extension (other than 1Password) that I use in Chrome is Chromed Bird. It’s really the best “desktop” Twitter app I’ve found. It gives me a simple, dedicated spot to use Twitter on my MacBook Pro if I want to. I use my iPad and mobile devices for most of my tweeting these days though. Note: I recommend turning off all the alert settings in Chromed Bird; otherwise, it will peck you to death at inopportune times.
I really think dedicating specific web browsers to specific tasks boosts productivity – especially by keeping communication services out of the way in your primary browser.
What about you…
Do you use multiple browsers? If so, which ones and how? Let me know in the comments.
I’d also like to figure out a way to add an “Open in Safari” option for links that I encounter in Chrome. Currently, I accomplish this by right-clicking links in Chrome and copying the link address. Then I paste the link into LaunchBar.
I’m sure this process could be streamlined with a simple Chrome extension. If you have ideas, please share.