I set up Rescue Time after our first MAS.700 class (February 8) and tracked my time through February 21. I entered offline time, trying to be especially diligent when the time was dedicated to media consumption. For example, during this time period I spent a considerable amount of time reading actual print media for another course I am taking.
I found Rescue Time to be fairly accurate, though I had to customize and clean up the data. I removed times that were idle (i.e., new browser tab, login screen).
A day-by-day comparison of top activities reveals Facebook is the top single time consuming activity.
When I customized the categories in Rescue Time to reflect their productivity value, the data revealed a shocking amount of time is spent on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). Perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising, but seeing it displayed in a bar graph, provided visual confirmation of my suspicion.
The visual display of my “productive activities” showed a fairly high amount of engagement spread across a variety of tasks.
Another useful visual is the output of productive versus non-productive engagement by time of day. My productive time, which includes reading, research, and writing occurs between 2:00pm and 10:00pm. There is a large spike in social media use around midnight or 1:00am, during which time no actual work occurs. Additionally, I often have some type of video streaming simultaneously at this time. This content ranges from news reports to comedy clips to TV shows.
This was a useful graph as it helps me understand how my schedule breaks down. I would have hypothesized that my most productive time actually began around 10:00am, but it turns out that time is spent on email and scheduling—time that is spent using gmail, google calendar, and other similar tools.
I come away from this experiment with two commitments. First, I would like to cut my communication time in the morning from two hours to one hour. My second goal will be to reduce my overall social media time, especially during the window of time before I go to sleep.
I will repeat to myself, “there’s no such thing as multitasking” and try to avoid losing efficiency by working on unrelated topics at the same time.