I’ve gritted my teeth, and started using RescueTime. I didn’t want to; as a (failed) employee, I hated bosses who actually kept track of how much time I worked because — well, because I spent so much time off in my head in the stories I never wrote down.
But now, I’m a boss with an employee (me) who spends her time off in her head in the stories she doesn’t write down — or rather, the stories she hasn’t yet written down. What I thought I would get when I started using RescueTime was a picture of how I “wasted” my time, and ways to help me stop doing that.
What I got was rather different.
I’ve told RescueTime which websites and apps are actually tools I use to write. I’ve set up Beeminder to automatically suck down how much time I spend writing (on my Mac only; RescueTime doesn’t support iOS). I’ve set a very gentle goal of (currently) 12 hours per week. When I started, it was only 6 hours per week.
Look at the graph to see how far I’ve come — despite my anxiety hiccup last week.
I never look at how I’ve “wasted” time, or even at how much time I’ve “wasted.” I pretty much know; always have. I’m gaming, or shopping, or reading. If I’m on my phone or on my iPad, it’s pretty much a given that I’m “wasting” time these days; if I’m actually writing, I can post it in RescueTime as “offline time.”
But there is a subtle push now, that if I’m off in my head in storyland, I really need to be putting it on the page, or saving the research, or starting a new project, or documenting my backgrounds. Something productive, because I’ve known for a long time that if I don’t record it, it doesn’t count. So, I open up my Mac and I do that. The results are obvious.
Most of the time I don’t think about the fact that RescueTime is “looking over my shoulder.” I asked it to, just as I’ve asked Beeminder to crack the whip. But these subtle little changes in my attitude, as a result of deciding that I want to be more focused, get more work done, get a freaking story out the freaking door, are adding up.
I don’t know if it impresses you, but it impresses the hell out of me.