Review of RescueTime

RescueTime is a cloud based tool for measuring time spent using your browser, and has an optional feature to measure documents and offline time.  I didn't try the offline time, but did use the document feature.  It categorizes your time spent on each site into various categories like social media, news, search and reference.  Just having this, done "automagically", as they call it, can be a huge help in boosting your productivity.  I found the categorization to be more accurate than I expected, and required only a little work to adjust it.  The software requires that you install an application that runs in the background, but you set it and done.

So what do I do with it?

You've installed the app and collected some data, and now you have some pretty charts on a website.  What now?  The thing that I didn't really play with too much, as I could take it or leave it, was assigning a point value to each of the categories.  The website will chart all of your activity, and then you can assign a value as to whether you think it it a productive task or not, on a sliding scale.  Then at the end of the day, you get an overall score.  To me that's OK, but I'd rather try to target the amount of time that I need to spend in each category, then manage those buckets as a percentage of total time spent.  So, if I think that I need to spend an hour a day doing email, then it doesn't matter if it's a 1 or 2 in terms of productivity since I have to do it.  So, instead of a sum of your -1's and 1's telling you if your productive, you should see if you're one hour of email is turning into two hours, or if you're improving and trending toward half an hour.