in Productivity

Optimizing Your Browser’s Start Page

A 3 min task that will save you a lot of time

In my previous post, I talked about automating our digital lives and making it more efficient by designing friction out of our environment through streamlining unoptimized workflows and removing distractions.

For a start, I’ll be sharing how I set myself up for success by designing my browser (environment) to get the best Internet experience with as little distraction as possible. And today, I’ll be talking about why and how I optimized my browser’s start/launch page.

Why bother?

It’s important because we use Internet browsers all the time, in fact, my browser is the first app I open when I get on my computer and it rarely gets closed after. I spend a lot of time on my browser every day, and I’m sure you do too.

Here’s where things get interesting. If you know the important keyboard shortcuts like I do, you’d be able to save precious seconds every time you wanted to close or open a browser window. If you have an optimized browser start/launch page like I do, you’d be able to access all your favourite websites in one simple click.

Add that all up and you’ll realize that it’s a whole lot of time saved.

Google Chrome

I use Google Chrome because it suits me the best and I like it for what it does. I used to use Firefox, but it got too slow, and meddled with Safari but that relationship didn’t last long. Google Chrome has since been my browser of choice, and will the browser we’ll be having a conversation in this post.

Optimizing Chrome’s start page with Speed Dial 2

Optimizing Google Chrome’s start page can easily be done with the installation of a simple Chrome extension called Speed Dial 2. I first discovered Speed Dial 2 a year ago, when lifehacker ran a poll for best browser start pages. Speed Dial 2 came in  first for Chrome users by a mile.

Installing Speed Dial 2 is a breeze, you can install it here. Just click on Add to Chrome and you’ll be done in a jiffy.

Configuring Speed Dial 2 is also really simple. You can customize it according to your needs, from how many launch icons you want on your start page all the way down to the distance in pixels you want between the launch icons. Pretty crazy huh.

Best of all, Speed Dial 2 is a really light extension and hasn’t slowed down my Chrome experience a single bit.

Pretty much all the sites I frequent

Pretty much all the sites I frequent

So now, every time I want a new web page launched, I press ⌘ + T to get a new tab opened, after which the Speed Dial 2 launch page will load, and I click off from there. No typing needed and a lot of time and hassle saved.

I’m still trying to decide on the best way to setup my start page. I have half a mind to remove Facebook and Twitter from the start page, just because they’re time wasters. But so far, I’ve managed to restrain myself from clicking through to Facebook and Twitter too often. Remember, overcoming distractions require a minimum level of self-discipline.

I don’t know how much time Speed Dial 2 has saved me ever since I added it to Chrome a year ago, but I’m pretty damn sure my time spent on Chrome would’ve been a lot more inefficient and troublesome without it.

Don’t wait any longer. It’s about time you optimized your browser’s launch page.

Download Google Chrome

Install Speed Dial 2

 

  • Personally I use the Currently extension which replaces the new tab page with the weather and time. Sites I frequently visit are bookmarks, so they just appear when typing into the Omnibar.

    • That’s awesome! I don’t really need to know the weather cos it’s always sunny here in Singapore. And the time is always at the top right hand corner of my screen. I chose to hide my bookmarks bar so as to get more real estate out of my tiny 13″ screen. You should try it too.

  • Thomas Paull

    Speed Dial is good, but you it’s not so portable on different machines.
    Just try http://www.startific.com I feel it as an upgrade; you will be amazed of how interactive and different it is from all the normal and boring startpages out there.

    • Hey Thomas, thank you for the tip! I’ll definitely check it out! It looks impressive.