Where did all the time go? You were at the computer pretty much the whole day and it seems like nothing sizable got accomplished.
Productivity is nothing more than a word. What makes productivity real however is when you start to break down a task into components in order to reach the end goal by the deadline. Along the timeline are usually milestones of some kind to track the progress. When you miss these milestones you are thought to be spending your time in an unproductive manner.
Knowing where your time is being spent can really help to find the leaks in your productivity pipeline. A great way to track your time is by using an app like RescueTime. In a nutshell, RescueTime will watch what you are doing while on the computer and keep a record of it. Not in a creepy, the government is watching kind of way though. More like in a productivity coach/analyst kind of way. Here’s how RescueTime will help.
RescueTime has apps for just about everywhere you could hide from productivity. Apps for both mobile and desktop operating systems. Having a productivity app everywhere you are is a big benefit. Having a productivity app everywhere you’re connected can also make you feel like you’re being watched every minute of everyday and need to be productive even if it’s a day off from the office. In the settings, you can set the workdays and hours you want to be measured.
The categories are how you will be judging your productivity. Like many data tracking applications, you’ll have generic categories by default. You can either use these categories or create your own. Each of the activities like looking using Tweetdeck will need to be categorized. If you are a social media manager, sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are not distractions. You’ll need to let RescueTime know that initially.
Tracking Your Productivity
All you need to do to track your productivity is work. Spend some time on the computer doing things you normally do such as, in the case of a copywriter or blogger, write something in Microsoft Word and do a little research on Google. When you check RescueTime, you will see the amount of time you spent in Microsoft Word and on various websites. You can set this action to be productive on a scale from -2 (very distracting) to +2 (very productive).
To determine your productivity, RescueTime takes the list of all these actions and gives you a percentage of time you were productive. The total is essentially the amount of time spends on productive tasks vs. overall time spent. The report screen (dashboard) will be a lot of different graphs. It’s actually quite easy to use. You can see where all of your unproductive time was spent and block those sites using the Get Focused option.
Mobile Productivity Tracking
Installing RescueTime on your tablet or phone will do a couple of things for you. Your mobile time (sending text messages, calls and other mobile apps) will be monitored based on the schedule you set for your desktop. Not having your productivity being monitored 24/7 is really important because if you are sending text messages after work, you don’t want that to look negatively on your productivity report.
The other part of the mobile app you’ll like is the option to catalog any off-line time it accumulated. For example if you are running an errand to get office supplies, you can use the off-line mode to input the time spent on errand.
When freelancing or working from home, staying productive is a bit more of a challenge when your boss isn’t right in the next room. Tools like RescueTime are great for helping you manage yourself.
by Trevor Dobrygoski