A Month of Rescue Time

rescue-time

Who wants to get more done? Based on the number of productivity apps, books, blogs, podcasts and strategies out there, my guess is…everyone.

We all want to work faster and more efficiently so that we can achieve that mythical “work/life balance” everyone is going on about, right? Or maybe just get out of the office before it’s time for bed. Or <gasp!> take a day off now and then.

Rescue Time claims to help by showing you exactly where you’re wasting your time, whether it’s browsing Pinterest or reading the latest Hollywood gossip. It works by watching your every move online, and categorizing your activities into productive or non-productive time slots.

The Good

It works in the background. You don’t have to remember to click a button on or off, select a task type, or even do any kind of setup. Just download the app, select your most distracting and most productive activities, and Rescue Time does the rest.

It’s even teachable, so if Rescue Time reports your favorite recipe blog as “entertainment” (and therefore a distraction) when in reality you’re researching a new book, you can fix it. Just click to change the category to “Business” or “Learning” and select a productivity rating. Rescue Time will remember your choices and adjust its reporting.

The Not-So-Good

Sometimes social media really is work. At least in my business it is, so the reporting in this area is less than accurate. Admittedly, though, the amount of time I spend on “work” social media is small compared to the time I spend there just hanging out procrastinating.

The free version only tracks online activities. If you’re like me, that’s the majority of your waking time anyway, but for people who have lives outside of the Internet, it might not be enough.

The Results

productivity-score

According to Rescue Time, I have a productivity score of 65, which is just 2 points lower than the average user. While it’s not horrible, I’d definitely like to see some improvement.

Some things I’m trying to get that score up:

  • Single tasking. While we all like to think we’re masters at juggling multiple tasks, it turns out no one does that well, including me.
  • Working fewer hours. “Work expands to fill the time available.” When I have an appointment or other unbreakable time limit, it’s amazing how much more I can get done. So by forcing myself to take time off (you know, leave the office at 6pm) I’m hoping it will make the hours I do work more productive.
  • Time blocking. I know what my deadlines are, but until now I only manage them as due dates. I’m experimenting with actually scheduling time to work on certain projects. By blocking off the time in my calendar, I’m setting an appointment with myself (and creating that unbreakable time limit) and fitting the work inside it, rather than allowing a single task to take over an entire day.

Overall, I can’t say I’m shocked by what Rescue Time revealed about how I spend my days. But it did give me the insight I needed to begin to make changes. So with that knowledge in hand, I’ll set about trying to raise my productivity score and actually get more done.

It’s All About Me

Lots of people choose a word as their framework for the year to come. You may have even done it yourself.

Big, fat, meaningful words full of untapped potential and the promise of grand adventures are popular.

Achieve

Encourage

Captivate

Then there are the words that seem to embody all that is wrong with us, to lay out our past failures for all the world to see.

Focus

Finish

Discipline

Or what about the words meant to lift us up, to inspire us to be our very best at…well, something.

Joy

Peace

Faith

One of my words in the past was, in fact, Focus. It’s something I struggle with, and something I don’t think I’ll ever truly achieve. There are simply too many new and exciting things in the world, and that’s ok.

What’s Your Verb?

Last year, I heard Alex Mandossian speak about choosing not just a word, but a very specific type of word: a verb. Something you do, rather than simply dream of attaining.

It was just different enough to be intriguing, and it certainly got my circle of friends talking.

My word that year was Solve.

That is, after all, what I do. I solve problems.

That was a good word. It did help me clarify my goals and build a better business. But it’s still not quite there.

2015 is Different

This year, I’m going against the grain. I’m brushing aside all the feel-good words and take-action verbs in place of something real and tangible and desperately in need of some attention.

This year, my word is ME.

I was cleaning up this blog getting ready to start a new chapter here and I came across a post I wrote a couple of years ago about finding my why. My dream was to build a rescue for German Shepherds. It’s a cause that’s very near to my heart, and yet, two years later, I’ve made no progress.

Why? Because I’ve been too busy worrying about other people. Family. Friends. Clients. Everyone but ME.

I think you’ll agree that’s not a very healthy attitude.

So 2015 is all about me.

Practical Matters

What does all this self-centeredness mean? Well, it’s not as narcissistic as it sounds.

It simply means that every day, in every decision I make, my first consideration will be, “Which is the best choice for me?”

Should I have French fries or steamed broccoli with dinner?

“Which is the best choice for ME?”

Should I take on another client or spend that time learning better marketing techniques?

“Which is the best choice for ME?”

Should I continue on with a project I don’t love, or let it go so I can move on to something else?

“Which is the best choice for ME?”

Ironically–for as self-indulgent as this all sounds–the best choice for me is almost always the best choice for others, too.

My choice of steamed broccoli might seem insignificant to you, but to my husband (who presumably would like me to live a long and healthy life) it matters.

That client I passed on? She found a terrific VA to help her out, and that VA needed the work, so everyone, including ME, is happier that I turned it down.

And that project? It has a new home now with someone who will do great things with it, and my heart and mind are lighter now that it’s gone.

Being focused on me doesn’t mean less love or attention to my clients, my family, and my friends. It means the love and attention I give them is that much sweeter, because I’m a happier, healthier person.