How I use RescueTime

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Project Infobox Question-icon.png
Self researcher(s) Buster Benson
Related tools RescueTime
Related topics Productivity

Builds on project(s)
Has inspired Projects (0)
Show and Tell Talk Infobox
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Date 2011/11/26
Event name Quantified Self Seattle
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How I use RescueTime is a Show & Tell talk by Buster Benson that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2011/11/26 and is about Productivity.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Buster Benson of Habit Labs likes to experiment with productivity, among other things. He uses RescueTime to see which apps and websites he spends the most time on each week. The winners are his text editor (for coding) and Gmail. In the video, Buster talks about the ease of different kinds of tracking, from passive to binary to active entry, and previews some some Habit Labs apps.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

Buster Benson

How I use RescueTime I’m actually going to talk about sell at (?) labs we like to experiment with lots of different crazy Quantified Self stuff, just to see like what actually makes us more productive, what makes us happy at work, what makes meaningful work happen. A lot of the times we just ask ourselves what do you need to do meaningful work on a daily basis. And, like that’s a win-win for everybody, so we have a lot of things. But today I’m going to show you my productivity matrix. So what I do is I use Rescue Time, thanks to these guys over here. Every week my computer at home and at work tracks every single app I open, every single document I open, and every single website that I visit and has a little timer for how long I spend on each one. And every week I roll it up into a sort of number of total hours, and you can see here these are the app I chosen as things that sort of to meet mean meaningful work. Some of these is my text editor, that means I’m writing code. Gmail, I mean that’s not always productive, but I’m never therefore enjoyment necessarily. Our beta server means that I’m testing a new product. (health?) Beta server means that I’m testing and old product. Terminal is doing command line stuff. Google Docs, goes to calendar, usually company stuff. Transmit is like FTP server, Skype is usually I was communicating with one another about meetings. Pivotal Tracker is planning, and QuickBooks is paying people. So you can see here, my average is for all of these things on a weekly basis. I spend slightly more time coding than email. I was asking Jason today, why are these numbers so low. I spend way more time, I think, but the numbers don’t lie. I spend a lot of time talking to people in meetings. It’s actually the app that is open in front and you are actually interacting with. Like one of those views is tracking and you go to talk to someone for 15 minutes. In that situation. If you are typing and you go away and you go away for more than two minutes a screen will pop up and say what are you doing. It will ask you are you doing one of these six things and if you are not, or you can choose to not record. But that we’re captures off-line time and it captures your interaction. There is another level that if you want to record that interactivity, you know when you are not online and off-line. So, usually in that two minutes it stopped recording. Its essentially checking your computer and if it’s idle. It does this (?) Of yes you are actually using the computer. My job is the fact that I spend most of my time when I’m feeling productive at the computer typing into a window, and so I feel like this is a pretty good capture of when I’m being productive at that level. And you know, I’ve been tracking it since in this particular format since April and in hours. It’s about the average of 27 hours a week, so no input required, which is awesome. And you can sort of see how – (Unclear question asked 04:28) I just do it once a week and it takes three minutes to do it and I just type it in. So you can see here, like 27 hours, 11 hours, and then down here, I’ve got my number of hours versus the average and night percent productivity, and that week who knows what’s happening. So like some weeks are good weeks, and I think I’ve eventually started like leaving notes. So I also track GitHub because that’s an easy one. Here I actually had 20,000 lines of code that I had change that week, but it is mostly that I was refactoring stuff. So I put it down to the average 12,000. The fun part for me is I’m trying to get these purple bars all the really good ones where I know I have spent you know over 10 hours that week in a particular app doing something that I feel that is productive. And you know, always trying to beat the average. Last four like the last month I had not been beating the average because I was moving, and we were doing a lot of meetings, on-boarding’s and new hires and all of that kind of stuff. You know, one week, it was 17% and we had an off site for a couple of days, and eventually last week I was like, okay, I’m back up to average that’s good. But, I’ve been tracking things through my whole life pretty much and this has actually been one where I emotionally connect to it as a meaningful reflection of what I’m actually doing. When the numbers are low, they are low because I also feel unproductive or away from the computer and not doing the things that this is tracking. When they are high, I feel like I have correlated with being productive, and so thank you guys for building that tool and I would not have been able to do that without you guys. How do you measure part outside the test base? I don’t because it’s impossible. I have a rule called just meaningful work, which I classify as did I spend four hours or more doing things that I felt productive on a work level and that is a binary like yes or no. I do that sometimes for a couple of months when I am trying to focus on something that’s particularly difficult. Buster, do you find whatever you do in binary response to something that is a lot easier to respond to you? Yes, well this is easy because it requires no response. Binary is the next easiest so like did you do it, or did you not do it, and then there’s the you know how many hours of meaningful work did you have to day, which is almost impossible to answer.

Then there is the calorie counting, which I don’t understand how you guys do it because that’s impossible for me, I cannot do that. I’ve done it for weeks at a time, but never like for months or longer; that’s crazy. So now you know last week was not very productive, but I would love to have more ways to make this more public or to be part of the team or you know that kind of stuff. But you know I feel pretty happy about it. Is there any other questions?

About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Buster Benson gave this talk.