Truth time: how much of the day do you spend on Facebook instead of doing your work? This was a question our own Steve Puiszis asked himself once he learned that certain friends of his were wasting five to six hours a day on social media, and he wanted to see how he stacked up (thankfully, not as high). But the effort led him to discover a nifty tool called RescueTime, which tracks the time you spend on different websites and applications.
Once you download and activate the RescueTime app on your computer, the program starts tracking how you spend your time. You can view your progress at any point on your online dashboard at RescueTime.com, where the platform gives you user-friendly charts breaking down how much time you’ve spent at any given website or application.
It’s an interesting and helpful way to keep tabs on just where you’re spending your time and how much of your day you might be wasting on social media, email, or the latest Buzzfeed articles. Seeing those real-time numbers can help you stay on task and increase your productivity—RescueTime lets you specify goals, so once you’ve logged your 20 minutes on Twitter, you know it’s time to move on.
The free version also sends you weekly reports and gives you a snapshot of your “Total Productive Time” vs. “Total Distracting Time”—a sobering number, to be sure.
The $9/month Premium version gives you additional features that include tracking time away from your computer (meetings, phone calls), sending alerts when you achieve daily goals, and blocking websites that distract you (check you later, Facebook!)
It's remarkable how many digital distractions sidetrack us on a daily basis. RescueTime might compel you to get some of that time back.