For the past three months I have been using Rescue Time, which is a really amazing tool to track your time usage.
It runs in the background and logs every single thing you do on your computer. Then when you log in to the web dashboard you can categorize the sites and programs you use and also rate them according to productivity.
From there it draws out a few stats and lets you see where your time is being spent.
In fact, for those of you who follow my daily accountability, I get my 0-3 number generally from multiplying my daily efficiency number by 3. Sometimes I add or subtract depending on what I did while not on the computer, but it's a good measure.
Here are some interesting stats from my personal results.
I spend about 20 hours a week on working. It's actually a bit more than this because I don't tag every last thing (researching for a post or finding stock images for a site, for example), and some work takes place on the phone.
Oh, and I was having some computer trouble for ten days there where I was working and my work didn't get logged.
Lets call it 25 total.
Anyway, I'm fairly happy with 25 hours of work per week. I think that I could be using my work time more effectively (something I'm implementing strategies for now), but that's a good quantity. I'm spending a lot of time learning and seeing things. I think I'll shoot for 30 hours from now on, though.
Keep in mind that unlike a real job, this only accounts for time that I'm actually working. As soon as I switch the browser to digg, it starts counting against me.
I spent 66 hours total chatting on AIM. That's about 45 minutes a day.
It says that I spend only 15 minutes a day wasted on the internet. It's actually more than this because I tend to waste time by clicking links from digg and reading about things, and I don't tag all of those. Still - I do tag the big ones, so this is pretty good for me.
If you were to look at this stat last year... it would have been bad.
Time on e-mail every day: 25 minutes. Hey... maybe that's because I'm terrible at replying to e-mails!
E-mail checking is actually a bigger timesuck than that because it breaks up my flow of work and takes a few minutes to get on track after checking. Because of this I have started working with my e-mail program closed.
Most computer time in one day: 15 hours 9 minutes, 10 and a half hours of that spent working.
76 hours spent blogging. That's 1 and a half hours per post! I thought I was way faster than that.
But here's the big stat: I have spent 550.33 logged hours on the computer. That means that I spend just over 6 hours a day on the computer everyday. That's a lot, but not actually as much as I would have guessed.
It's really interesting to have such good stats on my computer usage. If you use it too, post some of your stats here. If you don't use it, you can check it out at www.rescuetime.com.
yeah i waste a ton of time on digg too, it is so addictive! One way you can browse more efficiently on digg is to have an account and customize what kinds of stories it shows. Less crap to filter through that way.
I've been on RescueTime for about 36 hours, it has tripled my productivity. I realized what a fantastic amount of time I spent on "everything else".
This software is a good step for entrepreneurs toward the feedback advantages of a traditional work environment, while retaining the benefits of freelance accountability.
EDIT: Welcome, StumbleUpon users! Thanks for checking out my site.
A while back someone e-mailed me and asked me how I had so many interesting experiences in my life. I meant to write him back, but couldn't find the e-mail.
First of all, what constitutes an interesting life? Do we care if OTHER people think it's interesting? Do we care if WE think it's interesting? Does it just have to be different?
Last week I set out to see how many hours of programming work I could do in one week on CodeCombat, our multiplayer programming game for learning how to code. I clocked in at 120.75 hours. Here's the epic time-lapse video I generated from Telepath (watch in 1440p if you can):
So what did I learn from this experiment?
Adjustable height desks are amazing.
I bought one from Ergo Depot a few days before. I must have switched between sitting and standing fifty times last week. I would never have survived otherwise.