Do you frequently feel guilty for spending too much “unnecessary” time on the internet? Do you seriously begin your tasks early morning pledging to be productive till lunch, but within minutes get sucked into social networking, streaming videos, news sites, chat groups, internet forums etc, and later feel guilty for “wasting” your time? Do you spend all your time at home (and weekends) watching silly YouTube videos and continue it for hours by checking out the related videos and related videos of those related videos and later wonder how you ended up wasting 4-5 hours at a stretch on irrelevant stuff on the internet websites/YouTube?
Well, you are not alone. With the “invasion” of internet into our lives and the limitless access it offers, most of us have indeed been “wasting” lot of time surfing a plethora of websites on the internet. In fact, almost every survey conducted even in workplaces reveals that employees themselves have been admitting that their #1 time waster is the internet.
The real concern now is that despite acknowledging the internet as the biggest time-waster, most of us seem to be helpless. It is taken for granted that wasting significant parts of our time on irrelevant internet sites is now an integral part of our lives, be it at office or at home, thereby affecting our psyche & deteriorating our lives. However, as with any problem in life, this also boils down to “habits”. i.e The quality of our lives depends on our habits and this issue is also no different. Unlike other issues, this is a bit tricky because most of us are not even aware of the problem itself, let alone the solution. By the looks of it, we just know that we tend to waste lot of time on the internet, but we might not know how exactly we are wasting it.
Here comes “Rescue Time” to the rescue. Basically, it is a tiny software which runs in the background, continuously tracking your internet (and utility software) usage, collating all the data including details like time spent on each website/utility and stores the data in your “Rescue Time” account (basic version is free). Now that we have data of our usage patterns, we can do wonders with it.
To begin with, just login to the rescuetime account and you will be welcomed with a crisp dashboard which gives an idea of how your day has been, with quick details like the percentage of your time spent on different types of sites along with measured index called “Productivity Pulse” to show how productive you have been.
If you are seriously interested in further analyzing & improving your digital life, it is advisable to explore other options in the dashboard which help you go in-depth into your digital habits. For example, you can select the appropriate drop-down menus (in the dashboard) to find out your hourly usage patterns of a certain website. The following screenshot shows the hourly usage patterns of facebook on 11th October.
The first step towards changing a habit is to first be aware of the existing habit, analyze it and take steps to gradually change it. As you begin to analyze your usage patterns, you will easily be able to incorporate relevant changes in your habits and track the progress on the Rescue Time dashboard. For example, following is a screenshot showing YouTube usage patterns on a daily basis in the month of September 2015.
Similarly, you can get detailed data (with graphs) of your usage patterns for each website, presented in hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can install Rescue Time app on your smartphone as well and sync it with your account so that your whole digital life (computer + smartphone) can be seamlessly integrated, measured & optimized.
All the above screenshots are from basic (free) version, while the premium (paid) version has much more details and offers a host of innovative features like goal setting, offline mode, alerts, enriched reports & more.
Try “Rescue Time” for a week to analyze & track your digital habits & make relevant changes gradually in your habits to improve your digital life.
Rescue Time Website:
Rescue Time Android App: