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Staying on track in 2018

Staying on track in 2018

Journal  / General · January 25, 2018 at 1:01pm

There are two apps that I use to help me stay productive and encourage me to live a better life.

The first is Rescue Time which I've been using for years (except for a gap at the end of 2017 after I switched laptops). It has been a wonderful tool to help me understand how my time is spent while I'm working.

The app keeps track of what websites and apps I use throughout the day, makes best guesses about what is productive vs. distracting time, and then helps me generate daily, weekly, monthly, and annual reports about how I'm doing.

Here's my report so far for January:

I'm fairly happy with an 84% productivity score here; that's giving myself time to respond to messages, reply to emails, read some blog posts, and of course check Spectrum and Twitter. Moving closer to 90% would feel good, but each percentage point gained in productivity at this stage is hard-earned.

The second app I only picked up earlier this month, called Moment. Moment hacks around the iPhone's location tracking API to understand when I'm on my phone throughout the day. I can set screen-free time, turn on reminders about high phone usage throughout the day, and even track how many times I pick up my phone (so far I'm averaging 78 per day - yikes).

When I first downloaded the app I assumed that my usage would be lower. Overall I try to stay mindful about how much of my time gets absorbed in the phone. But, of course, I'd just been fooling myself - I'm on this thing a lot.

Here are last week's figures:

There are days this week where I was hitting 3 hours of phone time! At first I didn't think these numbers were right; surely I wasn't spending that much time on my phone. But time adds up in surprising ways, and without this little app I wouldn't have guessed that I was this...hooked.

Sure, a good chunk of that time is texting with friends and family - things I'd consider important and meaningful. It'd be unreasonable to try and get my phone time to 0. But 3 hours per day? I'm kidding myself.

My goals going forward are to get phone screen time down to under 2 hours a day (which is still insanely high if you think about it as a percentage of my waking life - 12-15%!). Eventually this year I'd like that phone screen time to come down even further, ideally below 1.5 hours, but I will work my way there.

And in terms of work productivity, I'm focused on maintaining an ~85% working time productivity score. Getting this to 90% would be ideal, but challenging - I'll work my way there.

Are you using tracking tools like these? Have you found any successful tips for getting screen time down or productivity up?


January 25, 2018 at 6:00pm

I've been using https://habitica.com to track daily habits and goals for this year. It's been pretty cool so far! It uses RPG style gaming dynamics for working towards self-improvement. I've found the gaming aspect has made it stick a little bit better personally more than other habit/todo tracking apps I've used in the past. It's also an open source project so anyone is able to help improve it while it helps improve them. :) https://github.com/HabitRPG/habitica

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That Moment app looks useful, but I'm almost scared to peer into how bad my numbers would be. 🙈

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January 25, 2018 at 10:32pm

@brian is there a way to upvote or like this post? Thought this would be really great to check back later. Wasn't sure if “Follow conversation” saves this post somewhere

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January 26, 2018 at 5:26pm

Hadn't seen Habitica @bricksroo - thanks for the link. RPG-ifying my life sounds awesome :P

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@victorkernes - no upvotes or saving at this point; it's on our mid-to-long-term-ish roadmap though, but for now the 'follow conversation' button will notify you of new replies

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@brian Cool! Good to know. I've been really enjoying Spectrum and trying to hop into to convo's as best I can.

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