RescueTime is a site that I came up recently through stumbling. There is a good and a bad side to me finding this site. The bad part first. One year ago this was my idea. But as you might know ideas are to be put into action soon, otherwise either it will not see the light or there will be someone else who will envision the same idea and probably would implement it. The second case was what happened to me. OK now the good part is this tool really helps me take a look at the time I spend everyday on the various applications on my laptop. I wish I had this tool ten years back so that my time management would have been much better. RescueTime has a desktop service that can be downloaded and sits on your computer tray. It constantly monitors the active applications you are in and keeps sending information to its website. The website aggregates this data and presents a graphical report on the dashboard. You can tag the applications you used, so that RescueTime can group the time under different categories. For example, I use work, learning, research etc. Another key feature is that you can set goals like how many productive hours you want to put everyday. RescueTime will tell you if you met that goals and sends a weekly report by email.
RescueTime comes in two flavors - a personal edition and team plus edition. Both of them are free except for team plus edition, up to 5 users it is free. A team plus edition will allow you to compare time with the group time which helps in setting team level benchmarks. What RescueTime will not know of course is your idle time or time that you were in meetings. But I am practicing to capture this as well. Since I use Google calendar for my schedule, before I go to the meeting I activate the Google calendar window. This gets captured by RescueTime and gets tagged under Meetings. It would be good if RescueTime can export this data in different formats that can be imported into Timesheet systems or if it can integrate with Timesheet systems. That would really save a lot of time or when people forget to fill the timesheets and later when they fill it is only approximate or partial just because they don’t remember what they did after a day (that’s natural). RescueTime is a fantastic product to take a look at how you spend your time, do better time management, set goals and cut down on time wasters like checking mail every now and then or on the instant messengers. Of course only if you would want to make better time management consciously; no tool would do that by black magic.