I’ve been working a lot on my productivity lately. I am a single mother with a business to run, a blog to update and a kitchen that needs a good clean – anything I can find to improve my productivity is an absolute bonus! While I was researching things I could do to improve how productive I am, I came across a website called Rescue Time.
I figured I’d give it a try, since there’s a free version and it’s compatible with my Chromebook. You set up an account on the website, and then can download software to your laptop, or add an app to your Chromebook. I then discovered that there’s an app you can add to your mobile or tablet. You can login to the app on all of your devices, and it will collate data between them all.
The app basically watches where you spend your time and tells you how productive you’ve been over the course of the day. Popular websites like Facebook and Twitter are already categorised as “very distracting,” but you can go into the website and amend how each site is categorised. For example, I’ve categorised my blog, my accounting package and other sites I use for work as “very productive.”
It takes a little while to tweak the settings in terms of how your most used websites are cagtegorised; I’ve been using it for two weeks now and I think I have it more or less sorted now. Whether you’ve tweaked the individual sites or not, the data this app provides is really useful. Because it’s also linked to my mobile and tablet, it tracks the time I spend during “down time” on social media – and the results can be pretty scary. Here’s a screen print of my first weekly email:
Last week I spent almost eight hours on Facebook! 31% productivity is pretty rubbish too, when you think about it.
It is worth noting here that you can pause the app on any device, if you’ve finished your working day and don’t want your evening Facebooking to be included in your overall productivity.
At any point during the day you can click on the icon in the side of Chrome to see your produtivity for the day. Here I am while drafting this post:
As you can see, I’m working on being more productive!
You can set goals for yourself, for example I have a goal to spend at least two hours a day on “communication and scheduling” – which is the category where my blog lies (among other things). I’ve another goal to spend less than two hours a day on all distracting time, which includes anything labelled as distracting. I’m not doing brilliantly with that one, but it’s a work in progress. Also since some of my time on social media is related to work for clients or for the blog, it’s difficult to separate the two. I’ve amended my settings so that any time I spend on the Facebook Pages app on my mobile or tablet is counted as productive – but obviously, if you’re working online then Facebook is just Facebook and you can’t differentiate between the two!
I have found this app so useful. In the same way that if you’re trying to lose weight it helps to log what you eat so that you can get a true picture, this app shows you exactly where you’re spending your time. I don’t keep a Facebook tab open on my browser, and only open it when I need to use it. I thought that meant I was more productive but actually, I find that I need to be more strict with myself, and to limit the time I spend there.
I love the wide range of stats available with this app; it really appeals to my inner geek! The app is also compatible with several other productivity apps like Zapier, Beeminder and GitHub. I don’t use any of those, but I’m thinking of trying some out to see how they work together. I’ve also been looking at cloud-based project management software, which looks like it could be a great way of working with teams of people on larger projects over time.
This is a great app for those of us who work from home – because it can be really easy when you’re at home, to get distracted by things. Having the app on my mobile and tablet also means I can’t “cheat” by just using a different device to skive – it’s all recorded and that’s what makes it so effective.
Do you use Rescue Time? If so I’d love to hear how you get on with it – and if you have other ideas for clever productivity apps, do please leave a comment!