Every Click Counts: Browser Tools That Will Save You Time

In this age of instant gratification, we are always busy and increasingly impatient. Even with the latest computer technology and ever-faster broadband speeds, most of us would still like do be able to get things done faster. Here are some buttons and bookmarklets for your browser that will help.

Save Things for Later

Sometimes we don’t have time to read entire articles or blog posts, but we don’t want to miss out on the information we’ve discovered. We all have some way of saving things to read later. Usually it entails simply bookmarking the link, either locally in the browser or, even better, online with a social bookmarking service such as Delicious.

My personal favorite way of saving things to read later is the aptly-named ReadItLater. It’s an extremely simple service. After you add its button to your browser, you’ll be able to add any web page you’re viewing to your ReadItLater list with a single click. For example, let’s say you’re on a page you want to save, simply click the checkmark to the right of the URL for that page.

In order to read all of the links you’ve saved for later, simply click the ReadItLater button to display them.

readitlater button

When you’re done reading the link, or don’t feel you need to read it after all, simply uncheck the same checkmark, which removes the link from your list. You can also sync your ReadItLater lists between computers, and it also has a handy iPhone app. I find this a much quicker and simpler way to save links that I want to investigate further when I have more time to do so. Using Delicious method would require a much more involved process, including tagging each link and then deleting them, as well as marking them private, because you wouldn’t want these temporary bookmarked pages to get pushed into your social networking stream.

Subscribe and Run

I love Google Reader (s goog) and really appreciate its handy “Subscribe” toolbar button, which allows you to quickly subscribe to any site’s RSS feed. Yes, the RSS icon is usually prominently displayed on every blog these days but not always. Also, clicking the RSS icon merely begins the process of subscribing to that particular blog.

The Subscribe button is a quick shortcut straight to your Google Reader where you just verify the subscription and you are done. To grab it just go to Google Reader and click the “Settings” option and head to the “Goodies” area. Then drag and drop the subscribe button on your browser’s toolbar and you are done.
subscribe settings

Speedy Shopping Cart


There are a ton of wishlist services out there, but ever since Amazon (s amzn) released its universal wishlist I’ve given them all up for good. Amazon was the first site to provide the ability to add items to a wishlist, but the problem with that service was that it was totally restricted to only merchandise that you could find or purchase on their site. Opening up the wishlist to allow you to save products from any online store was a brilliant stroke of genius on Amazon’s part. While it might not carry every brand you add to your wishlist, they keep customers connected to its store and manage to sell a great deal more product than they would have otherwise.

So, no matter where I am online, whenever I come across an item I might be interested in purchasing for myself or someone else, all I have to do is click the wishlist button on my browser’s toolbar and the Amazon wishlist window pops up. For example, I have wishlists for each of my three children and spouse, not just for myself. You can do the same for friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.

my wishlist

Quick To-Do Lists

Another indispensable browser button is super-quick access to Google Tasks. Yes, you can get to Tasks many ways, such as within Gmail or from iGoogle as a widget, but for me the quickest and best way to add an item to my to do lists is via a sidebar in Firefox. Here’s how simple it is to do:

1. Drag and drop Google Tasks to your browser’s toolbar.
2. Right-click the button and select properties.
3. Select the option to “Load this bookmark in the sidebar” and click “OK.”

task side

Note-taking on the Go

Evernote has a handy bookmarklet and Firefox extension for its Webclipper tool that allows you to add notes and portions of any web page to your account quickly and easily. Once you set it up, all you have to do is click and save the page or any piece of it to your account.

evernote webclipper

These were just a few of my favorite browser buttons and bookmarklets that help save me lots of time. There are many more out there but these should be enough to get you started.

What are some of your favorite browser tools that help you save time? Please share them in the comments.