As we leave our FOMO era (R.I.P., 2020-2022) and make the most out of our New Year enthusiasm, it’s not surprising to see us building new habits and exploring new activities in the pursuit of creativity and productivity. While we’re still clinging to the idea of online personas, one virtual tool remains accessible, fun, and functional—Google Chrome extensions.
If you’re reading this, this is your sign to spice up your browsing space.
Here, we list four cool extensions that can boost your serotonin and keep you on your feet (virtually).
Created by Maya Man, Glance Back will take a photo of you in a snap as you open a tab. According to its site, it’s an extension that acts as an “antidote,” offering unexpected and maybe freaky photos of yours—a different experience in a social media landscape that’s all about looking our best on screens. Once it’s snapped, the question, “What are you thinking about?” will promptly appear, adding thoughts to your spontaneous picture. Right there, your snaps will be automatically saved to your desktop’s local storage. Sure, your half-asleep, Not Ready to Conquer The World Yet face might be immortalized—but it’s a modern, cute photo diary you might just enjoy checking in the future.
Calling all Tamagotchi kids out there: This one’s a trip down memory lane. If you don’t have one IRL, Happy dog is a cool substitute. This browser extension lets you grow your dog while you’re working. Each act of affection you offer your pet awards a star. Unlike Tamagotchi, you interact with and care for your adorable virtual dogs on your desktop screen—allowing them to eat, sleep, poop, and play just like real pets.
Where’s the StudyTok gang at? If you feel like 2023 is the sequel to your unproductivity, give Forest a chance to work its magic on you. In this extension, Forest blocks websites to help you to fully concentrate on your daily tasks. Once you click the extension, a countdown for planting a tree flashes while blocking your entire screen. This method, like the Pomodoro technique for studying, allows you to prioritize your responsibilities within a specific time frame. By the way, every time the countdown strikes means you’re planting IRL. If you don’t finish the timer, your tree will also die.
Forest is also available on Android and iOS phones. The app has partnered with the US-based nonprofit organization Trees for the Future to plant real trees on Earth. While you collect coins in the app, Forest donates them to the organization and creates planting orders.
Coffee kind of makes everything easier, even confronting our feelings (in this browser extension, at least). If you’ve ditched the pen and paper, you can count on cnnmon’s Coffeelings to serve as your mini journal and mood tracker. This app lets you record your daily mood by choosing a coffee roast to match with, write your current thoughts on virtual journal pages, and track your overall headspace. Feel free to express your mood here as it works whether you’re offline or not.
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Stills from Glance Back, Happy dog, Forest, and Coffeelings