Monday, December 24, 2007

RescueTime (or how I really spend my time online)

I've made a couple of rather unscientific attempts in the past to quantify my online usage and create a breakdown of which sites I devote most time to. Just under a month ago I installed RescueTime which promised to deliver a much more accurate picture, not only of my web usage but of all activity on my home computer. Billed as a time management tool, my hunch is that it's more likely to be installed by stats junkies than those genuinely seeking to increase their PC-based productivity (or maybe that's just me).

Whilst some users will inevitably balk at the perceived threat to their privacy, the company pledges to only ever use data in aggregate, no one else can see your personal information and you can delete your account at any time (none of which can be said of Facebook).



Above is a chart of my first few weeks with RescueTime installed (click for larger version). The list of Top Apps isn't wildly different from my list of most visited del.icio.us bookmarks, although sites which tend to warrant only a quick visit (netvibes, e-mail etc.) are understandably absent.

Some other headlines observations:

- I average 2.5 hours of home screentime a day (talk about busman's holiday...)
- Facebook (and Scrabulous in particular) is a big time sink (average 30 mins a day)
- Time spent searching Google adds up more than you might think (1 hr 26 mins over three weeks)
- There's a reasonable 'long tail' of activity with 38% of time spent on sites outside the Top 10

Whilst the RescueTime app is far from perfect (it logs whichever window is in focus, which inevitably excludes swathes of secondary/background activity such as listening via iTunes), it provides a fascinating (for a geek like me at least) insight into where all that time goes.

1 comment:

olvin said...

How did you get the dashboard to look so cool?