Find Time to See How You Spend Your Time with Rescue Time

Finding time for what matters most can be very difficult, if you don’t know where your time is going to begin with.  Time, as we all well know, isn’t endless by any means.  And how you spend your time is how you live your life!

That’s just one of the reasons that I was fascinated to read about Rescue Time, a self-described “software tool that allows businesses and individuals to understand exactly how they spend their time and attention– and helps them spend it more effectively.”

You can use Rescue Time to track how and where you spend your time on the computer, as well as to track off-line time.  The nice thing about the on-line tracking function is that once you have set up Rescue Time, it does the tracking for you.  There is nothing you need to record.  And this means that you get a much better picture than would be otherwise possible, of how you are actually spending your on-line time.

Here’s a very brief video overview of what Rescue Time is about:

In a review of Rescue Time on, the writer briefly describes how it works:

Rescue Time’s background application is constantly running, and tracks the window of focus. So if you’re using Photoshop, the app will track that. If you’re browsing the web and have 20 tabs open, the app will track which tab you’re currently using. Every few seconds the time tracking software refreshes, and every 30 minutes the collected data is uploaded to Rescue Time’s servers. If you don’t use your computer for 2 minutes or more, recording is automatically paused.

The service is based on the cloud, and requires no hard drive space outside the 6MB application. Once you start using the service, you can quickly access the online dashboard, where Rescue Time provides a summary of your time as well as detailed analytics. One of the neat features is that Rescue Time has access to a huge pool of national data, so you can compare how productive you are in comparison to others. Read more …

There is a free version of Rescue Time, as well as a paid version which offers additional capabilities.  There’s a searchable Knowledge Base, as well as discussion forums, and a Rescue Time Blog.

When you set up Rescue Time for yourself, you can define categories of activity as productive or as distractions, and Rescue Time will track your online activity accordingly.

Here’s another video with more information about Rescue Time, and some helpful hints about how you can create a Rescue Time widget for yourself.

Rescue Time is very customizable, but for starters I suggest that you set it up fairly simply and try it out for a week, just to see how you spend your time.

Once you’ve got a base line, you can fine tune what you track, set goals for yourself, etc.  With the paid version you can also set yourself up with “Focus Time.”  During that period, Rescue Time will block the activities/sites that you have identified as distracting.

Are you interested in learning more about how you spend your time?  Consider taking a look at Rescue Time – and let me know what you think … I’d love to hear!

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Let’s explore time together …

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have no material connection with Rescue Time and have not received any compensation for writing this content.

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  1. emma dcosta says

    Obviously to keep track of rescue time is not that easy task. I think a good time tracking software would help businesses a lot for easy project and time management. We had been using Replicon’s time tracking ( solution which is a hassle free cloud based solution with lots of good to use features and great back up support!

  2. Thanks for the tip, Emma!

  3. I’ve never tried RescueTime, but I’m using a software called TimeDoctor (, which is very easy to use and it does everything I need for monitoring my employees. It records keystrokes, mouse clicks, screenshots, when and how long each employee was working, and how much they spent actively or being idle during work.

  4. Hi Sam – Thanks for sharing about Time Doctor. It certainly sounds like a useful tool if you are in a position where you need to track employees’ time. Do you use it for tracking your own time as well?

  5. Hi Paula,

    I only use it to track my workers time as they were not able to email me any updates of what they have done in the past weeks. But, I can use it too if I like to track my time. The software will send you reports on what you have done the time you start working on a task/project until you’re finished working. It works perfect for my needs though.


  6. Hi Sam –

    Time Doctor certainly looks like a comprehensive and flexible tool, and it sounds like you have put it to good use.

    I’d be curious to hear how your workers have adapted to having their time tracked in this way.

    Was it challenging, or do they accept/appreciate the information themselves?

    Given the amount of time people spend on-line, tools like this can give a big boost to efficiency/effectiveness at work!



  7. At first, I was having a hard time explaining to them that I need to closely monitor their work but later on they’ve understood my point because I’m not usually present in the office at all times. It was indeed a challenging part as a boss telling your workers to have their time tracked in that way instead of using the old fashion method without having a constant screenshot on their computers just to make sure they are really working when they say they are. Actually, it was my friend who referred TimeDoctor to me then I tried it for a 30-day trial. Good thing the software impressed me, so without having any second thoughts I grabbed their business package. 🙂

  8. Hi Sam –

    It sure sounds like you managed a potentially difficult situation very well. It would be my guess that, as time goes on, you’ll see productivity improve (because your employees, themselves, will be that much more aware of how they are spending their time). I am glad that you have found a tool that works so well for you – and appreciate your sharing it with Time Finder readers. Hope you’ll continue to share your ideas, challenges, and comments!



  9. Paula, thanks a lot for allowing me to share my experience. Yup, I’m seeing progress every week on attendance, productivity and the way my workers behave in their work. I hope my sharing in your blog could help others find the right time tracking software for their needs. Thanks and more power!

    All the best,

  10. Congratulations, Sam – that is great to hear. And thank you for sharing your experience!

    To your continued time success …


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