How Much Time Do You Waste on Your Computer?

Posted to Self-surveillance  |  Nathan Yau

A few months ago, I started monitoring how I spent time on my computer to procrastinate less. One month later, I found that the way I kept track of what I was doing wasn’t detailed enough to be useful. I knew that I was spending a lot of time online, but I had no idea what I was doing that time. Was I working and researching or was I wasting a lot of time on YouTube and Facebook? So I switched to RescueTime to get the breakdown and my goal to stop procrastinating started over.

It’s been two months now, and here are the results.

May Was a Time Waster

RescueTime logs your computer activities and lets you tag them. I tagged activities like programming as work, Google Reader as reading, and FlowingData as blogging. RescueTime graphs your time spent split by your tags. Here’s the graph for May.

May was a slow month. There was a lot of blogging, reading (other news and blogs), and networking (email). While I wouldn’t count these as a waste of time, they don’t exactly count as work either.

June Has Been More Productive

There was been a larger percentage of work this month. I think it’s largely in part to a deadline. If I didn’t work, I’d be screwed.

Working Towards More Production

There’s still a lot of improvement to be had. I haven’t really been consciously trying to be productive so these are data to compare against more than anything else. In the coming months I’m going to try to get that work category up and the rest of the categories down. Will this insight motivate to waste less time? I guess time will tell.

How do you spend your time?

(This would be a great source of data for your FlowingData summer project.)



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