Time for a Progress Update #amwriting

Focused Writing Time

Focused Writing Time

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.

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4 thoughts on “Time for a Progress Update #amwriting

  1. High praise for both RescueTime and Beeminder! We’re actually friends with one of the founders and have heard stories about how often people struggle with that feeling at first. We can very much vouch for them that they work hard to make sure there’s nothing creepy about it.

    Thanks again for this post. Super heartwarming!

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  2. Good question, — ignore my previous reply. I will correct my blog post shortly — it IS auto-generated directly by RescueTime. I’m mentally confusing it with my Misfit Points goal — which will record steps rather than points if I do it directly.

    My bad.

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  3. Pingback: Honeymoons, True Love, and Yet More Buzz | Beeminder Blog

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