Improving Productivity with RescueTime

by Kelly on May 12, 2014

in Productivity

If you’re like me, you start the day on a high note – planning to accomplish a lot, however, as the day progresses, it starts to drag. You talk to colleagues, keep refreshing favorite website again and again – looking for new content to get published. You’re just killing time and not making the most of it. At the end of the day, you might accomplish a few things and feel happy about it, but you may wonder – was I productive enough?

The scenario explained is what I do each and every day. I start the day on a high – planning to accomplish a lot and at the end of the day – I’m not sure what I spent time on exactly where I was the previous day. Another day has been lost. In fact, weeks, months and years have been lost in the same way.

I’ve been experimenting with a productivity tool, which I ended up liking a lot. And I will share the details of the same, in case you’re interested. The tool is known as RescueTime.

RescueTime has 2 components – a computer client and is a web-based service will not only tell you what you did with your time (as in, which apps or sites you used), but helps you figure out whether or not it was time well-spent. In short, it makes it obvious just how badly you procrastinate.

To use RescueTime, you install a small client (about 4 MB) on your computer, which sits on your system tray and basically snoops on everything you do. Every window, every website, everything gets recorded and the information gets uploaded to a website, which provides you a dashboard of all your activities. The client is unnoticeable and with a few days of use, you can customize it to an extend that it starts to understand you’ve take a coffee break.

During setup, RescueTime implements a couple of default settings, but also asks you to select from a drop-down menu the three most productive and three most distracting types of actions you might engage in while using your PC. Then as it starts to report data, you can customize the reports to fine tune the settings. For example, I had to fine tune blogging activity on this website as productive, which had defaulted to reading News & Opinion. After the initial setup, you can further customize RescueTime by creating your own categories. For example, I added “Research.”

Now-a-days I visit RescueTime twice – once during lunch and once at the end of the day. Also, I look at weekly snapshots. I’ve seen some apparent shift in my habits though – on the negative aspect: I’ve been using my cellphone for checking emails, Facebook etc. a lot more than I used to do it earlier :-); positive aspect: I was able to reorganize some of my habits at better times of the day.

RescueTime Pro gives you additional features for $72 per year or $9 per month. Compared with other time-tracking productivity apps, such as Slife, RescueTime is all aces. It is an app, which deserves your attention and will go a long way in improving your productivity.

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