My ad, script and Facebook feed blocking browser plugins for productivity
The internet is distracting. Many of the sites we visit are designed to either keep you scrolling to see more ads or have the flashiest ads possible. Just look at the proliferation of internet blocking applications.
The internet is ugly sometimes. Ever been to a site where you weren’t sure what’s content and what’s an ad?
That’s not the only ugliness. The scripts that run on many sites invade your privacy, and some even run malicious code on your computer.
Over time I’ve tried several browser plugins that help, and I’m finally happy with my setup.
The ad blocker is the highest impact plugin I want to share, and I recommend it for everyone. Ad blocking does two things: it makes ad-infested sites usable, and it protects your computer from malvertising.
Here’s the same page as above, now without third party ads.
Next, I block invasive cookies to keep the internet creepiness down. This one is totally optional. If you’re not bothered by ads following you around the internet and companies amassing data about everything you do online and then selling it, skip this one.
Finally, I block the Facebook news feed. The feed has very little value if you think about it. It does nothing to move you toward your goals. When I go to catch up on my business groups, I can get distracted for 10 minutes before I remember why I went to Facebook. That’s keeping me from my goals.
Here’s how to set up each plugin. I use these in Chrome, and they’re all available for Firefox, too.
Ad Blocker: uBlock Origin
This ad blocker doesn’t have behind-the-scenes deals with advertisers. It has good support for all the major browsers.
Follow the prompts to install uBlock Origin in your browser. Click the stop sign with the U in it and then the gear icon if you want to see the settings and choose your own blocking lists.
You can also make exceptions for sites you want to allow ads on. For instance, if you want to support a news site. You can do that by clicking the big blue power button icon, and that will stop blocking just for the current site.
Your pages should load much faster now without all those ads. If you only do one plugin, do this uBlock Origin or another ad blocker.
Optional: Third Party Cookie Blocker: Privacy Badger
Privacy Badger, created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has versions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. This plugin is easy to use and you don’t have to change the settings. It just runs in the background, blocking scripts. It might speed up your browsing a bit on sites that are full of scripts.
News Feed Eradicator for Facebook
Just install the plugin, and the next time you go to Facebook, you will have a header in the middle of the page, and then just nothing under it. No more jealousy-inducing vacation pics. Suddenly you notice it’s easy to find the groups you want to check on.
This plugin will save you many hours over the course of the year.
Want to veg out on the weekend to a nice Facebook scroll trance? Make a second Chrome profile that doesn’t have the plugin.
Bonus plugin: Momentum
To see this one in action, install the plugin and then open a fresh browser tab. There’s a spot for you to enter your most important task for the day.
It’s easier to stay focused when your most important task is staring at you when you open a new browser tab to start web surfing. The daily rotating nature background is easy on the eyes, too.
What are your favorite browser plugins for productivity? Share in the comments below.