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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What do I spend my time on?

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I've known for quite a while that I spend far too much time glued to my laptop screen. I've also instinctively known that the majority of time that I spend in front of my computer is actually in front of email. To test that theory out, I installed a product called RescueTime that actually records and plots out the applications and web sites used during the course of a day/week/month.

Here's a quick look at my week for the week of March 8, 2009:

As suspected, I am currently trapped in email for almost 10 hours a day. I spend more time in email than most people spend working. How that's possible, I'm not entirely sure - but I tend to believe it! After email, my next largest chunk of time is used up by Netnewswire, coming in at just under 5 hours a day. Although I know that I subscribe to way too many blogs and spend too much time catching up on news, I also know that it can't possibly be 5 hours a day. Initially I thought that RescueTime may be recording the amount of time that an app is open - not necessarily when I'm using it. But then I took a look at my Adium and TweetDeck usage - both are open all day long but show up at under 30 minutes each, which is probably aligned with how often I actually use them. According to the RescueTime FAQ, the data should only be tracked for applications that are in focus, but perhaps there's an issue or two with the software as it stands. As a side note, it's interesting to see that my recent desire to purchasese a house is being picked up (..tempo5.sandi...) by my browsing behavior.

Below is a "live" chart that will update every week, allowing me to track my progress:

I'm definitely curious to see if visualizing how I spend my time helps me to manage it better. And ultimately, I'd love to figure out a way to decrease the amount of time I spend in front of a computer, but I don't think I'm there yet...

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