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December 11, 2013
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The Measure of an Annum

December 11, 2013

Today's Think Kit prompt was to "draw a pie chart or venn diagram of your year."

So, how do you measure a year?

If you said "in daylight, in sunsets" and burst into song about "seasons of love," you're amazing! But unfortunately, you're also sorely mistaken.

The answer I was looking for was "analytics."

Since March of this year, I've been using a program called RescueTime to get a better understanding of where my time goes when I sit down at a computer. It's given me a lot of interesting insights on how I work and use my time.

RescueTime Productivity Graphic

Think of it as Mint.com for productivity. It runs in the background and automatically logs and categorizes the time you spend at your computer. You can even set goals and have it send prompts to keep you on track if you're trying to spend less time on emails or looking at cat .gifs on Buzzfeed.

In Productivity?

If you've ever wondered "Where did my day go?" or asked yourself, "How can I be more productive?" RescueTime is an invaluable tool for understanding how you use your time.

At the end of the week, RescueTime sends you a report about where your time went and scores your productivity, progress towards goals and more, to give you insights about the way you use your time. It gives you a lot of control over your data, to help you figure out what time of day you're most productive, what you spend the most time working on and much more.

If you want to dive deeper, there's also a slick (but excruciatingly slow) interface that gives you even more control over your data. And if you're really hot for data, you can download the raw data and play with it in Excel and sync it with other reporting tools.

So, Where Did My Year Go?

After about 8 months of tracking my time at my computer, here's what I found:

  1. I'm using my time "productively" about 70% of time, slightly above average for RT's user base
  2. This drops to 32% on the weekend (probably from catching up on "Basketball Wives")
  3. I spend almost as much time on emails, scheduling and in meetings as I do working on videos
  4. In my downtime, I'm either making music, watching videos on Vimeo or listening to music on Spotify
  5. I spend far too much time on the computer

I wasn't surprised by the amount of time I spend on watching videos, for me it's as much research as it is entertainment. However, I was surprised by how much time I spent on email (and scheduling, too). I've set up a goal of spending less than 45 minutes on email and having RescueTime alert me when I go over that quota. The "misc. stuff" category refers to a collection of mostly productive activities, including word processing, photoshop and other tasks, that would have been too tedious to chart separately.

How Do I Want To Use My Time in 2014?

Now that I have an idea of how I spent my time in 2013, how do I want 2014 to be different?

2014 Venn Diagram

  1. Fewer hours on email
  2. More time for radness
  3. Fewer categories (to spend more meaningful time on)

What do you think your year would look like if you tracked it through RescueTime?

How would you have used a pie chart or diagram to describe your year?


This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: Draw a pie chart or Venn diagram of your year.

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