You can’t rescue time lost but you might be able to better use time in the future. I’m trying out a new app, Rescue Time.
Just a few quick facts. Rescue Time is available for Mac, PC, Android & Linux.
There is a free version and a paid version ($9 / month and $72 annual contract). Free Version – Limited features (Tracks time on websites & apps, set goals & weekly email report)
Paid Version – $9/month; $72 annual contract;
Same as above plus track time off line (conference calls, meetings,); block distracting websites via FocusTime; log of daily accomplishments; Set goals (how much time on email); alerts when rules/goals are met.
Rescue Time tracks your how much time you are spending on all websites and applications across all your devices. For example, Rescue Time tracks time spent on email on your computer, your Facebook time on your phone while you are line, the number of minutes on the phone and even the hours spent watching Netflix. As you might already guess the answers could be surprising. You might be spending a lot more time sending out tweets and reading Facebook apps than you realize.
In addition to detailed reports on how you are spending your time the app also provides Productivity Scores / benchmarks for thousands of websites. Hence you can determine if the amount of time spent on Twitter is really that much more alarming than the average bear. You are able to set goals for how much time you want to spend on different activities and then track how your behavior compares over time. These reports and goal setting is available in free version.
Upgrading to the paid version provides real time alerts (via email) when you have surpassed an activity threshold (great for wandering minds and not letting you get sucked into a rabbit hole).
The paid version offers tracking of offline activity such as conference calls and meetings. There is the option to block distracting websites & apps. More detailed reporting allows you to really track your productivity and understand where improvements can be made. Users can see historical data while free users can only see past two months. Paid version features a log where you can track your accomplishments which is useful in the context of how you are spending your time.
What do I think of Rescue Time? For starters you need to make sure you remain logged in on all your devices. Sounds easy but sometimes when your computer sleeps it does log you out.
I decided to test the free version for one month and then upgrade to the paid version. I marked in my calendar for 30 days to check the reports and goals. Rescue Time requires a commitment (a time commitment no less) to reviewing the data and then making changes. I do think however accurately measuring your time will definitely improve productivity. The challenge is to stick to it.
To do this is to put a daily recurring event in Google Calendar for 30 days.
Next 30 days here I come.