I’ve been beta testing RescueTime for the past week and it rocks. We first mentioned it back in June and now that I’ve had a chance to play with it I can honestly say that this is one of the coolest web applications I’ve seen in a long time. Strictly speaking it’s a hybrid web app, since you need to install a small client side proglet to do the actual monitoring of your activities, but whatever the tech, this could turn out to be a majorly indispensable tool on my machine.
Once you’ve installed the program on your system it constantly and automatically monitors to see what you’re doing and how long for. The beauty of the thing is that it’s not limited to computer based applications, it also logs online work, so you can build up a pretty accurate and useful picture of exactly what you’re doing on your computer over any time period you want. To add icing to the cake, you can tag programs and web sites with your own identifiers, so for instance if you use MS Word for your job as a journalist, you can tag it with something like Freelance Writing and from then on the system will let you know exactly how much time you’re spending on that compared to just goofing off on Fark.
I’ve set up a number of tags for things like Ferret Admin (messing about fixing and tweaking things inside the blog), Research, Email and Blogging and RescueTime is now building up a pretty awesome picture of my working week. Whoa, so I’m spending 5 times as much of my day on email as anything else? Wow! I knew it was a lot, but that’s crazy. It may sound silly, but knowing exactly how many minutes a day you spend using an application or browsing Digg could be a vital way to track lost productivity. Of course it’s never going to log your coffee breaks and stuff (well until they release the ankle bracelet version) but even so, this is a big step in the right direction.
Of course knowing about your time sloppy lifestyle is not going to help unless you take action to correct the problems, which is why there are plans to implement a time management feature which will notify you when you meet or fail to reach goals for a period.
All in all Tony and his team have created a superb tool which will undoubtedly help a lot of people identify and fix problems with their working day productivity. Nice one guys! Now where did I put that slice of pizza?
RescueTime is a web-based time management tool (currently in private beta). We offer: The ability to see exactly how you spend your time. No data entry, no effort– Your time gets tracked down to the second without you having to actively track it. Instant and easy time-management analytics. Instantly know how much time you’re spending on a particular app (like “Microsoft Word”), site (like “Google.com”) or a category (like “Communication”). The ability to set time management goals (daily or weekly) and receive notification when you meet (or fail to meet) your goals (coming soon!) Tools to see how you compare to other people in your industry (coming soon!)