Iris Classon
Iris Classon - In Love with Code

Stupid Question 157: How can I monitor how much time I spend on different activities on my computer?

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

How can I monitor how much time I spend on different activities on my computer?

You might have noticed I always have like a trillion things going on at the same time, I simply love it when time doesn’t stand still and I am in a good spin. But you need time for that, and good time management skills. So I was keen on actually analyzing how effective I am when I work, and simply see where I can save some time, and where I should spend more time. I asked this question on Twitter and several devs jumped in and said they would also love to hear what others replied.

I had Rescue Time recommended by several devs and also read a blog post written by Scott Hanselman where he gives thumb up for this program. I’ve only used it for a few days on the free account, but so far I like it. You have to spend some time (ironically) on configuration to have it set up so it accurately labels things.

I’ll give it a try for a few months and let you know what I think about it :)

Here is the link for the blog post Scott Hanselman wrote about this tool:
Productivity and Continuous Improvement - Measurement (and RescueTime) makes it happen, both Personally and at Work


Leave a comment (via email)
Steve Smith
2/25/2013 5:38:59 AM
Rescue Time (via Hanselman) is what I've used.  It works pretty well, if you stick with it and make sure to categorize the things you're doing.  It's not good at showing multi-tasking (like right now I'm watching a video while skimming this), but it's the best thing out there I've seen.  For actual billable time tracking, we use, which has a nice API and apps for many devices as well. 
2/25/2013 6:51:59 AM
Rescue Time rulez. it's my third week and it's useful to see what u spend time on. for example in the days i have meetings my productivity takes a nose dive. 
Iris Classon
2/25/2013 7:00:08 AM
Reply to: Steve Smith
I will check that one out! I probably need to upgrade to the Pro version, the free account is OK but I need some more control :) it's a shame with multitasking, I do that a lot, but it's still a fairly good tool so I wont complain (yet LOL) 
Iris Classon
2/25/2013 7:02:36 AM
Reply to: Cosmin.Net
Yeah meetings do that :( 
Stuart Clement
2/25/2013 8:31:09 AM
I use TimeSnapper ( and it's brilliant. 
Steven Evans
2/25/2013 1:11:03 PM
I've been wanting to try Rescue Time as well, but I don't feel I'd get enough out of it for the cost. I did come across Grindstone though that looks intriguing (and free): 

Last modified on 2013-02-22