05 October, 2011

How I Overcame My Email Checking Addiction & You Can Too.

Does anyone close their browser after checking their email nowadays? Gmail even has a lab feature which reveals the number of unread emails on the browser tab.

Gmail - I can't live without it & can't live with it :)

Now, if you have short attention span like me, you really struggle to ignore the email as soon as you are notified of its delivery.

I have tried many ways to make myself stop checking my mail every few minutes & truth be told, I don’t receive more than 2-3 ‘useful’, ‘worth dealing with’ emails in a day. The point I am making is that all the above really make for unproductive, disappointing & not to forget distracting time.

It all happened by accident. I have had a ‘love it’/ ‘hate it’ relationship with Firefox for years & now with the latest releases, I am almost truly in the ‘love it’ crowd. It is just an amazing browser. (I am not going to go on a tangent & share why I think Firefox is superior to other browsers in this post).

One of the strong points about Firefox is the availability of add-ons (extensions) & one of my favourites is Firebug. No self-loving, self-respecting developer could/ should/ would live without it.

Unfortunately, Firebug also slows down Firefox. So, one day, in a Eureka moment, I thought, why not create separate profiles, one for the ‘Web Development’ work & the other for normal surfing. The idea being that I will only install the add-ons relevant to each profile, i.e. Firebug in ‘Web Development’ profile & as an example, ’Read it Later’ in ‘Web Surfing’ profile. Following the same logic, The ‘Web Development’ profile is not to be used for emails, web surfing & other than work related searches. Vice Versa, ‘Web Surfing’ profile is only for surfing & not for web development.

I did a quick Google search & it turns out that Firefox 3.6 used to have a profile manager already built in & Mozilla stripped it out of Firefox 4.0. A quick second search resulted in a link to a separate Mozilla program which helps you set-up multiple profiles within moments. And a wonderful program it is, very easy & you don’t ever have to install it. Just download, extract & run! Awesome.

Here is a quick walkthrough of how to set it up.

Extract the files & run the profilemanager.exe

Create a new profile by clicking on the 'new' button on the top left menu.

Just enter a profile name, I'd recommend leaving the other options as are.

And that is it. Now, instead of using the Firefox icon, use the 'Profile Manager' exe file to start Firefox.

It is worth mentioning that each profile will need its own add-ons installation & even if you previously had add-ons installed, you will have to install again. Though, that does not take long does it? :)

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