Time Management with RescueTime

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jethro's picture

imageI have been using RescueTime since half way through December. It has proved invaluable to me in order to see how what I am spending my time on. RescueTime is a small application you install on every computer you use. in my case, that's my main machine, my secondary dev machine, my main laptop, my virtual PC and my remote desktop at a clients and another clients laptop I have here to work on (it can be uninstalled later). Of course you can just install it on one machine if you like, but as I discovered I spend time on several. Once you create an account it starts recording your time on applications you use and websites you visit. This is then sent tot he RescueTime servers where it is compiled for your viewing. The power of this system is that you are able to "tag" applications with your won labels. E.g., I have tagged Outlook, MSN, Skype and Yahoo Messenger with Communicating. Not only can you see the total time spent in each of your applications, but you can also see the time spent in a category. This is a little limited, For example if you use Word for writing documentation for a client, preparing quotes and writing your novel, that will all show up under one tag. However if you tag it with the main use, over time this pretty much evens out.

imageThe dashboard reports your data with total time, tags and apps & sites views in a nice graph.

My data for the month of January 2008 is shown here with two slices indicating communicating and software development, my two biggest time tags.

I have also displayed the tags view to give you an idea of what that looks like.

One thing to note. I have  not installed this on our media centre as I am not the only one using that machine. So time spent watching movies etc is not recorded with RescueTime.

I have gone a step further and take some basic data out and entered it into Excel. Unfortunately you cannot get a dump out from the site yet. However this a requested feature that may pop up in a future version. After adding a little more information about my life I quickly developed these three graphs. The data speaks for itself. I was however concerned with the trendline I displayed in the daily activity chart!
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