Browser extensions unfortunately can't prevent our offline mistakes, but for common dumb things we do, like wasting time on the web when we should be working, some extensions are a godsend. Check out these Chrome and Firefox extensions that'll catch your blunders before they happen.Photo by Adria Richards.
Maintain Your Focus And Productivity
If you often find yourself at the end of the day with too many undone tasks on your to-do list thanks to a lot of unproductive web surfing, get some help with an extension that prevents you from visiting those time-sucking sites. Lifehacker's own Invisibility Cloak is a script that plugs into the Greasemonkey Firefox extension and blanks out sites of your choosing until after a certain time of day (but not weekends, if you choose). Not using Greasemonkey? LeechBlock for Firefox is a full-featured site blocking extension; the add-on has several time options and you can also set a password for access "to slow you down in moments of weakness".
On Chrome, check out StayFocusd, which is also highly configurable or, for fans of the Pomodoro technique (where you work on tasks for 25 minutes at a time), Strict Pomodoro will block sites until your Pomodoro break session starts.
Automatically Fix Typos And Grammatical Errors
Whether you write a lot online or just occasionally type things into online forms, it's handy to have extensions check your use (or misuse) of the English language. One of the best language tools for geeks, After the Deadline is a powerful extension for Firefox and Chrome, as well as other applications like OpenOffice.org. After the Deadline checks your spelling, writing style, and grammar and will warn you of mistakes when you try to submit a web form. It could make you a better writer.
Avoid Sending Embarrassing Email And Social Messages
Finally, if you're susceptible to sending regrettable messages thanks to late-night brain fuzziness (decision fatigue leads to poorer choices as the day goes on), get yourself some Internet Shame Insurance. Developed by our own Adam Pash, this Google Chrome extension adds privacy reminders in Gmail, Twitter and Facebook, so you can avoid publicly humiliating.
Also, although not extensions, two Gmail Labs provide similar protection and are definitely worth enabling: Mail Goggles, which forces you to solve maths problems late at night before sending an email, and Undo Send, which gives you a few brief moments to stop an email after you hit the "Send" button.
Know of any other tools to catch your mistakes? Share them with us in the comments.