I spend a lot of time on the computer each day – reading email, looking over articles from RSS subscriptions, and writing my own articles, among other activities. I have been wondering just how much time I am spending and where it is going. I came across the RescueTime App (produced by
RescueTime) that I thought might help identify where I was spending my computer time.
This is a cross-platform App that works on Windows, Android, Linux and OS X systems. There is a ‘Free’ version and a ‘Premium’ version of the product available. The intent of RescueTime is to give you an analysis of how you spend the time on your computer so that you can become more productive.
RescueTime runs in the background and really requires little interaction other than to tweak the configuration so that it reports properly for your needs. This App is not available through the App store, so you must download the DMG and then drag it over to Applications. You will also have to give the App permission to track what you are doing on your system.
I have been running RescueTime for a week now. The product offers considerable customization as to which Apps or websites should be considered productive or a distraction. To really get a lot out of the product, you need to spend some time customizing the settings to reflect your needs. This looks like something that needs to be done a few times over a several day period when you are starting so that the recorded activities are being dropped into the correct buckets for your work.
not sure if this would be an App that most corporate Information Security organizations would approve of.
That said, I see many very positive reviews of RescueTime, and their web site touts many high profile users who speak highly of the product.
- Detailed reports show which applications and websites you spent time on
- Weekly summary email
- Set daily goals, and track yourself against them
- Activities are grouped into categories for tracking
- Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly summaries
- Activity categorization is customizable
So, is it a product I can’t live without? . . . No.
Is it useful? . . . Well, I’m honestly not sure yet. I need to see what the analysis is after more data has been gathered and I have refined the categories again. Looking at the RescueTime analysis of the past week, I don’t see anything that really surprises me. I’ll take another look after a full month of use and make an update.
- Free version allows you to evaluate the product
- Timely summaries of activities
- User can customize activities
- ‘Productivity Pulse’ number gauges how productive you are
- Data sent to RescueTime for viewing from their web server
- Customization is really needed for accurate reporting
See my other OS X articles