Do you ever have the feeling that time just slips through your fingers? A day that was supposed to be super-productive goes by in a blur, without much to show for it. How do you account for that? RescueTime gives users the data needed to know how they’re using their time, so that they can make better use of it.
People today spend an unbelievable amount of time browsing the web. In 2020, one study showed that people spend an average of nearly 7 hours per day consuming digital content. This is only more true for knowledge workers, who depend on instant communication and social networking as part of their jobs.
Obviously, the internet itself is not the problem, but we can easily abuse it through procrastination and distraction as work time quickly sinks down the drain of social media and streaming services. Self-control can be difficult, but it is a lot easier when you have the data to actually see how you use your time online. That’s the need that RescueTime, and other similar tracking apps, fulfill.
RescueTime works on Windows, MacOS, and mobil as well as having Firefox and Chrome browser extensions. It runs seamlessly in the background tracking when and for how long you use different websites and software. You can assign any program a place on a five point scale from “Very Productive” to “Very Distracting,” so the way it reports your data is very easily tailored to your needs. RescueTime will do its best to assign a category to any untagged program as well.
Everything it tracks can also be sorted into categories such as “Networking,” “Work,” “Entertainment,” “Personal development” and so on. RescueTime will generate reports as time goes on, showing you the exact breakdown of how you’re spending your time across these different categories, as well as how much of your time you are losing to distractions.
This data, which is highly customizable and very in-depth, enables you to then “rescue” that lost time. Having quantifiable and precise knowledge of how you spend your time, makes it a lot easier to know where you need to improve, what habits you need to change. Because of this, RescueTime is truly a very powerful productivity app, and a useful tool to have in any knowledge worker’s arsenal.
RescueTime is fairly pricey. There’s a two-week free trial, after which premium memberships start at $6.50/month.
RescueTime is available here.