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There are people now, at this moment working really hard to get your attention and distract you! Your attention is being drawn away from where your focus should be. You are trying to work and be productive or you are seeking to meet your life goals and objectives.  Whatever may be the case you are distracted by some internal or external source.

In the ”old days” Television was considered the top major distraction. Still today the average American spends 5:11 hours per day watching television. That is about 9 years of their lives watching mostly, in my opinion unproductive, meaningless, worthless television. Now of course I do not want to offend anyone, without getting into the subject, not all TV is bad. There is a lot of entertaining and educational programs that are worth to spend some time watching.

Even today, in what is referred to as the ”Digital Era”,  we are still glued in front of a screen. We have our tablets, smartphones, laptops and computers hooked up to high-speed internet. We spend A LOT of time watching TV Shows, movies, playing games and interacting on social media. We do not even need statistics to know and prove that we have all at one point,  faced a deadline and were constantly fighting the urge to check our Facebook messages or to see if we got any new email. Finally we give in to the temptation just to spend a few minutes watching the video our friend posted on Twitter and before you know it, time has flew away, never to be seen again.

Thanks to our advanced era, there is a way to understand better how we spend our time. Once you are serious about becoming more focused and productive you will appreciate the tools that exist. The one tool that I have appreciated the most so far is Rescue Time

Rescue Time will help you gain perspective and become better at managing your time. It will give detailed reports showing which applications and websites you spent time on. Additional reports show how much time you spent in different categories, how productive you were, and whether you achieved your goals. Weekly email reports will summarize your activities and give you a productivity score, which will help you plan the next week. You can set goals to help keep you on track and improve your productivity. Then log in from your mobile smart phone or any computer logged to the internet and view your progress on your dashboard, in the weekly email report, and in the goals report.

Rescue Time is Free or you can sign up for the Pro Version. The premium subscription offers more features like; manually logging time away from the computer, block distracting websites, get notifications about anything, faster software updates and better ways to view your data. So far personally I am satisfied with the Free version but as you will see in the article, premium subscription offers some really handy features.

Features of Rescue Time

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You will need to download a small application that is installed in your work computer and accessible via your system tray. They have thought of multiple platforms as it is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and as extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Installing the app or extension saves you from having to log in to the website each time. Do not worry if you want a break, you can pause the application for  15, 60 minutes or until tomorrow, simply by right clicking on the icon. Other options from the same menu include; go to dashboard, preferences, get focused, check for updates and help.

dashboardThe dashboard is very simple and refreshing to look at, it gives you a great overview and allows you to keep an eye on your productivity on a daily, monthly or yearly basis.

You will see how much time you have logged and the percentage breakdown in each category that you have created or selected.

There are graphs and a productivity pulse that helps you make more sense of the time the application has collected.

There are several visualizations, including a ‘spotlights’ section showing your daily patterns and comparisons with past time periods.

The Lifetime milestones gives you data on your best of days since you have began using the software. You can give yourself a trophy or a pat on the back if your total productive time exceeds your distracting time.

Oh and I just love how the green notification bar gives me regular inspirational quotes as well as personalized messages keeping me up to date on my productivity.

 

rescuetime_03-100154185-galleryRescue Time tools gives you options to click that lets you get started, set goals and alerts, categorize your activities and even to use your Rescue Time data with other services. Currently Rescue Time has integrations available with BeeminderGeckoboard, and Panic Status Board. The premium service offers features to block distractions, daily highlights, enter daily offline time and advanced filters.  When you categorize your activities you can select from groups already created in Rescue Time. It is possible to set the productivity level to Very productive, productive, neutral, distracting and very distracting. In my case I had to change the Entertainment/Music category from very distracting to productive because music is a part of my business since I run an online radio station and host my own show.

 

 

rescuetime_reportsReports are accessible in the dashboard via the top menu. You can consult and compare all of your activities by application throughout the day or per hour. The same options are available for results in categories and sub-categories. A feature is available to view your productivity level as well. You will appreciate the ”goals by day” option to set and meet your objectives that you have personally customized. Another cool gadget you can click on is daily timer, just to keep an eye on things.

The premium subscription has a “daily patterns” view that shows you how what time of day you tend to spend more time on activities, categories, or productivity levels.

It also offers  a “changes over time” view that gives a historic perspective on how you are spending your time.

After closely spending productive time analysing the data you can go ahead and share the results by email or through Twitter.

 

 

Premium Service Features

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You can add personalized alerts for just about anything. They will let you know if you have reached a certain time in any category or productivity level.

Alerts are highly configurable, for example: “total time logged”, “all communication & scheduling”, “very productive time” or just simply “Gmail” A simple alert or nudge may be the only thing needed to get you back on track and focused.

Distracting websites can be blocked for a configurable time after receiving an alert.

 

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Keep a log of your daily highlights. It is a great way to put into perspective what you have accomplished in a day.

There is a filtered view of your activities to help you recall and bring up what you worked on earlier days.

 

 

 

offlinetimeYou can even track your time away from the computer with Offline Time. The design is mobile friendly so it makes it a lot easier to track the time you are doing something offline like;  meetings, social activities, hobbies or any other activity you want to log.
Enter in the name of the activity and details that you are doing and click save. All of the data can be tracked and analyzed like your online activities.

 

 

 

blockwebsiteWhen it is time do some serious focus time and you can not seem to control your urges to visit your favorite social media site, you will appreciate the premium’s service called Block Distracting Websites.

You can stay on your task by letting this option block all the sites that you have configured as distracting so you can use your focus time to the max.

The ironic thing was that as I was writing this article I found my mind wander off to Facebook and I began to poke people. Boy oh boy, I think I could seriously use the premium feature to stay on track and focused.

There are many distractions just waiting to take control of your mind and waste your time. Most websites today are designed to keep you there as long as possible to maximize their revenue streams. Do not let it happen to you, take your life into control. Aim high to be productive and to meet all of your goals and objectives. Take the time and try Rescue Time, sign up is fast and easy.