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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

The Easiest Way to See Exactly How Productive You Are

Sometimes, you get to the end of the day and wonder, where did my time go? Most of the things on your to-do list still aren’t done, yet you managed to spend eight plus hours doing something.

Productivity service RescueTime wants to stop that question in its tracks.

RescueTime makes it easy to simply see where exactly your hours and minutes are going. When you download the app, it starts to immediately track how you’re spending your time. It categorizes different sites and applications based on how distracting or productive they are (something you can customize as part of your settings), and then uses all of the data it’s collecting to create a beautiful and easy-to-understand dashboard where you can see how your day, week, or month has been spent.

I’ve been using RescueTime Premium for a few months now, and love the service for a few reasons. First of all, unlike many services that force me to input my activities on my own (a hard-to-remember and, frankly, time-consuming task), RescueTime does all the legwork for me, discreetly and in the background. It doesn’t only track which websites I’m on, but also any applications I’m using—so all those hours spent in Microsoft Word writing or editing articles gets counted among my “Very Productive” time.

I don’t even have to remember to check my dashboard to see how I’m doing! RescueTime sends me a weekly email reporting how my productivity was the week before, giving me the perfect snapshot of insight into where my time went and what I could improve upon. As part of the premium membership, I can even set certain time goals, and RescueTime will alert me if I am meeting them or not. For example, I’ve set a goal to have an hour or less of “distracting time” a day—and rescue time gives me a pop-up notification if I’ve met that limit.

With plenty of customization options—from which productivity categories different activities are put into to what times of the day the app should track and even activities it should ignore—as well as tools to help you reach higher productivity goals (including a “get focused” mode, in which the sites you have determined as your most distracting are blocked), RescueTime really is a powerhouse tool for regaining control of your time.

Even better? This week, StackSocial is selling premium memberships at 45% off ($39 for a year). While basic tracking and reporting are free, services such as goal-setting, “get focused” mode, and a feature-rich dashboard are reserved for premium members. Learn more about RescueTime here, and no matter what, we hope you have a very productive day.

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