Time is your most valuable resource—but sometimes it seems to disappear into thin air. You planned to be productive today—but somehow, nothing was completed. You have that big project to finish—but somehow, it never gets done. Our time slips away from us, without us intending it to.
We all know that time management is a big problem. We all want to get better at it. But you can’t improve what you don’t measure. So, while you could always read a time management book or take a course, an app or software can allow you to better measure and see what is happening with your time. That’s why RescueTime is here to help. This time-management tool wants to help you not only see how your day is spent, but also how to spend it better. Let’s see if RescueTime is right for you in this review!
What Is RescueTime?
RescueTime is a time tracking and management software, that integrates right into your browser. There’s no need to write down your time on sheets of paper, or to input it into a log every hour—Rescue time tracks your work itself, and works on Apple, Windows, Chrome, Android, and iOS.
This app allows you to see where your time goes, block your worst distractions, and have the power, tools, and reports you need to improve every part of your life. It boasts over 2 Million users, and 1.37 Billion hours of work logged.
How Does RescueTime Work?
RescueTime has two levels, their free one and their Premium option. For either, you simply download the program from their site, for all the applications you need it on. Once it’s connected, you’ll see a little green dot below the icon.
RescueTime offers a step-by-step start up guide for their users, and while there’s a few tasks to complete at the beginning, once you fully optimize RescueTime for your life, it’s ready to go!
RescueTime mainly works by tracking how much time you spend in different categories online, or in documents. You can see the breakdown of different categories: reference and learning, software development, communication and scheduling, shopping, entertainment, and more. You can customize categories according to your needs.
Each category also has a built-in productivity score—that tells RescueTime how productive you’re being when you’re using that site. RescueTime uses this to then formulate your Productivity Pulse. This indicates how productive you’ve been each day, and helps you to compare how well you’re doing. The average productivity score is 67%–after all, you can’t be productive every second of the day!
You can use the built-in productivity scores for categories, or customize them. RescueTime is more useful when you customize it, so don’t be afraid to change it! Your work may mean that some categories will be different. For example, sports pages could usually have a rather low productivity score for most people, but if you’re a sports reporter, that’s when you’re doing your most productive research! Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into RescueTime’s settings—they’re easy to use, to see, and the more customized they are to you, the more useful they will be to you.
You can also set your work hours with RescueTime, telling it when you want it to track. You can see your reports each day, with the time recorded laid out in bar graphs, pie graphs of distribution of your time, as well as lump sums of your activity. You’ll also receive a weekly report in your inbox each week, so you can compare over longer amounts of time.
For its premium service, RescueTime also offers Focus Time—a site blocker to help you concentrate when you need to. You can manually start it at any time (like when you want to use the Pomodoro method), set a daily limit (so you can’t spend over 4 hours on Facebook), or schedule a focused period to work every day.
RescueTime also integrates with many other sites—Google Calendar, Slack, IFTTT, and more
How To Make The Most Of RescueTime
RescueTime gives you two powerful tools—knowledge and habit builders. Through reports, you’re able to see when you’re most productive. This allows you to schedule your most intensive work for that time, so you’re working with your natural flow, rather than fighting against it.
You’re also able to see what’s most distracting to you. You said you’d only hop on Instagram for a minute—but you had no clue how much that dozen 5-minute increments ate up your day. By seeing which sites are most distracting to you, you’re able to deal with it. That may be yourself, by deleting certain apps for certain days, or you can use RescueTime’s blocker to do it for you.
And that Focus Time is a very useful blocker. There are several ways you can take advantage of it. Know when you’re most productive? Safeguard that time by schedule FocusTime to block all distracting sites during that time period. Do you have a big project you need to finish? Manually turn it on whenever to allow you to get into the zone. Did you set a goal to waste no more than 2 hours a day answering emails? Set up a limit with FocusTime, where it will block a site when you exceed your limits.
Finally, RescueTime’s built-in goals are a great way to motivate you. These goals can be either positive or negative—you can make a goal to log 3 hours of productive work, or a goal to not spend more than 3 hours on social media. These goals are prominently displayed on your dashboard, and show your progress throughout the day. Wherever you’re browsing, you’ll receive a small pop-up alerting you when you’ve attained (or exceeded) your goal.
Is RescueTime Secure?
It might be a little creepy to think of a site tracking all of your information. But RescueTime has the highest of security standards. It will only track within the hours you tell it to, and your personal information is never shared. Even your reports aren’t shared, except in aggregate—so it will be lumped in with thousands of others anonymously, which allows researchers to know what hours of the day most people work.
Your information is encrypted, and no other user can see it, unless you share it. And if you ever get tired of RescueTime, you don’t have to worry about them keeping your information—you can delete it all at any time.
Is RescueTime Premium Worth It?
While Rescue time does offer a free Lite version, their Premium version costs $9/month, or $72/year (which gives you 4 months free). Premium includes the ability to include you offline work in your reports—which is a great advantage if you’re working with books, or in-person meetings. It also allows you to customize your categories more, have more modification to the time periods tracked. You also get access to all historical data, rather than the 2 months previous that Lite can see—and you can even generate yearly reports.
The biggest tool Premium boasts, and what makes it worth the cost, is the Focus Time blocker. This allows you to schedule in or manually start productive work quarantined away from any distractions. RescueTime offers a 14-day free trial, so it’s a great way to see if Premium is right for you.
RescueTime Versus Toggl
Toggl is another time-tracking site, marketed towards freelancers and other people who need to keep record of their hours. It is cloud-based, and comes with a Pomodoro timer function built-in.
However, while Toggl focuses on time-tracking, RescueTime focuses on time-management. Thus, their productivity pulse helps you to make sense of the numbers, and they offer a FocusTime blockers for distracting sites. RescueTime also offers a lot of free training—they have entire productivity guides free for you to download at any time.
Conclusion: RescueTime And Time Management
There are tons of time management apps out there, but RescueTime makes it easy to manage your time, as there’s no data entry, and the multitude of different graphs, reports, and explanations makes it easy to see where your time is going. Their Focus Time Blocker is a great tool that can be utilized in many different ways, and the ability to customize the productivity scores of each category is great. RescueTime is an excellent tool to help you be more productive. Knowledge is power, and when you know where your time goes, you’ll be able to take it back.