Watch with RescueTime

Follow TonyH’s advice received through the wonders of twitter I installed RescueTime as part of my move towards managing time. The result over the first couple of days is shown below.RescueTime plot

I think the plot is interesting but I am not sure how useful. Over these two days my main work tasks were involved in meetings that don’t show up (at least not automatically) so the graphs show how I filled in time imbetween. Looking at the detail it shows my top three as e-mail, word and ThinkingRock, which made me wonder at first that I am spending too long thinking about what to do and not enough time doing it! However on reflection I have decided that it shows the value of having a place to organise thoughts and, for the moment at least, I intend to carry on with ThinkingRock and see it as a good thing rather than a distraction.

For RescueTime itself so far it is “interesting” but not necessarily useful. From the descriptions on the website usefulness will come if I can either turn this into measures of behaviour I want, or if we adopt this across a group. The group model is where RescueTime hope to make money – but not sure I want to know what other people are up to or compare myself to group norms (though if others at the OU want to join in I might consider trying the group mode).

For now I will try setting a few goals to go on with and see how it goes.

RescueTime Goal

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7 Responses to Watch with RescueTime

  1. Gill says:

    That’s really interesting. I’ve been using ThinkingRock since reading about it on your blog and so far I’m finding it quite useful. I like its flexibility, although I think I would like it better if it were integrated into something else I used regularly, like my iPod touch, so that I could easily check up on outstanding tasks.

    I’ve avoided Rescuetime because I’m a bit worried about what it would show 🙂 . I guess that probably suggests that I should give it a whirl. I’d like to think I spend lots of time in the online library and looking up refs on google scholar or google books, what I probably do is spend a disproportionate amount of time reading blogs (emails is not a big timewaster for me).

    Did rescuetime show you anything you did not already expect?

  2. Patrick says:

    I think the surprise was the amount of time spent on ThinkingRock – it does make me wonder whether it just makes me *feel* more focused. I also agree about the need to integrate TR with other things – the format is open and XML but so far I have not found anyone who has parsed and linked it to e.g. the Remember the Milk API. it is such an obvious thing to do somebody must have.

  3. Gill says:

    RescueTime is much more interesting than I expected. May change as I get more time logged, but thus far I don’t waste half as much time as I thought I did on what I’ve tagged as “social networking” activities(blogs, RSS feeds, twittering). They’re about 6th in my top ten. Word, reading literature on the web and email are the top three, with word WAY ahead. Time management is next, so I guess that does match your experience although I’d expect that to drop quickly. It does make me wonder why my perception of what I do when I’m online is so far from the reality.

  4. Tom Jones says:

    I signed an account with RescueTime but stopped using it after 2 days since I am a little bit concerned about my privacy. Should I be concerned? I have read in several blogs that people are not using RescueTime or deleting off their account due to privacy issues!

    Does anybody knows about an offline similar product?

  5. Tom Jones says:

    Just found an alternative and I wanted to share it with you guys… FruitfulTime ProductivityMeter by http://www.fruitfultime.com – it’s offline and freeware!

  6. dave says:

    well, I saw a similar solution called kpimatrix (http://www.suzerein.com) they have a free version as well

  7. wiedzmin says:

    I have used RescueTime for about half a year and while I like the overall functionality, it is rather limited (for example – you cannot see all of your activities in one view, you have to “drill in” into merged activity groups that the report generates, per application), it does nothing to automatically track projects (it is basically a manual timesheet entry process), there are a number of confirmed bugs that has gone unfixed for months (ex. dashboard activity reporting does not return the same number of records as a pre-defined custom report with the same parameters) and not a single useful feature has been added in over 6 months, instead the company seems to be focusing on social networking and entertainment aspects (ex. social introductions, medals and achievements). This is worth trying if you’re just curious about your personal productivity and want to have some fun with your friends, but I would not recommend this as a professional tool. I have cancelled my subscription after 6 months and am forced to look for something more focused on the time and project tracking.

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