These days people are more distracted than ever before, and the ability to focus on meaningful tasks is fast becoming a rare talent. Thankfully the technological revolution, while admittedly contributing to most people’s limited attention spans, does also bring with it technological advances that we can leverage to track (and limit) our digital distractions and increase our overall productivity. With the power to remove digital distractions, we’re free to harness genuine efficiency and use our time more effectively. Here is our in-depth introduction to one of the most powerful business productivity apps on the market today – RescueTime.
How RescueTime works
RescueTime is a business productivity tool available on IOS, Mac, PC, Android & Linux, the application allows you to improve your productivity by helping you quantify your time. The information gathered by the app gives you a visual and easy to understand way to spot inefficiencies, and get a better understanding of your daily habits – both the good and bad.
The application runs in the background while you work on your computer, phone or tablet. It tracks the amount of time you spend on particular websites or applications and gives detailed reports based on your daily activities. You can set alerts to notify you when you have spent a certain amount of time on a particular activity, block distracting websites or apps altogether, and track how productive you are at certain times of the day. You can choose which hours you’d like RescueTime to track, pause or quit at any time, and you even get to choose which types of activities to monitor – and which to ignore.
Most of us probably don’t have a realistic view of how we use our time, with so much to see and do online, it’s easy to get distracted. The RescueTime reporting function helps you gain valuable perspective about your day to day productivity so that you can more easily manage your time.
Detailed reports include:
Dashboard – View your results from any browser (or in the app on your devices). Filter results by Day, Week, Month or Year to get a solid overview of where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Goal tracking – Set daily or weekly goals, like: ‘spend less than 1hr per day on social media’. See the results in your dashboard, or have them sent to you in your weekly email report.
Productivity score – Online activities are grouped into pre-determined (and customisable) categories and a ‘productivity pulse’ score is given based on where you spent your online time.
Hourly breakdown – Want to know if you’re more or less productive after your morning coffee or that 3pm sugar hit? View your activities hour by hour to get an overall view of your most productive times of day.
IFTTT (if this, then that) is a web-based service that gives you creative control over your favourite apps and products by allowing you to create ‘recipes’ – automatic actions triggered by certain online events. For example, you can automatically send your Instagram photos to a Dropbox account, or automatically save your tweets to an excel spreadsheet. RescueTime has teamed up with IFTTT to give you even more functionality including:
Phone Calls – Receive a phone call whenever a RescueTime alert is triggered.
Google Sheets – Automatically save reports & summaries into a Google Sheet.
Silent Time – Remotely silence your phone when you’re in a FocusTime session.
And lots more! Get more IFTTT/RescueTime tips here.
RescueTime has 2 different pricing structures. RescueTime Lite is a ‘free forever’ version of the software that has limited reporting and will never cost a cent. With the free version you have access to time tracking for websites and applications, goal setting, the weekly email report and a 3 month reporting history. RescueTime Premium includes all the features of the free version but also offers more in-depth features including:
- The ability to track away-from-computer time
- Alerts when you achieve your goals
- Website blocking
- Daily accomplishment log
- Unlimited report history
- FocusTime access
The premium version costs $9 per month (USD) or $72 per year (that’s 4 months free). Plus you get a 14 day free trial.
Try out RescueTime for yourself.