RescueTime Time Tracker Offline Version ManicTime
I’ve been a fan of RescueTime for a while. I like the way that it automatically logs what I’m doing, when I’m doing it.
I frequently finish writing up a great article or other project and look up the clock and wonder, “How long did that take me to write?”
The issue is that as a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and business owner, I multi-task, a lot. Whenever I read some time management guru give advice about focusing on one thing I laugh out loud. Anyone who has ever run their own start-up knows that breaking your day out into inviolable blocks of scheduled time during which you ignore other tasks and activities is a fantasy.
That means that sometimes, I start an article, and then get a phone call from an important client (Let it go to voicemail the “experts” say. Yeah, right. The reason I’m their first phone call is because I not only answer the phone, I answer on the first ring. You don’t get the high paying, emergency, super-short deadline project when it takes you 30 minutes or an hour to get back to them. By then, they’ve already called six other firms.)
That phone call may lead to six other tasks I have to do, some quickly, and others later. Some of those tasks may require waiting (like having a call returned) during which time I might work on the article. The extra tasks may cause the time I am spending writing the article to run into an appointment that I have scheduled, so there is a pause while I go to the meeting, and so on and so forth.
In other words, an article that took from 1:30 PM until 4:20 PM in total, may have only taken me 45 minutes to write all together. There is no way I would ever be able to find that out without an automated time tracker.
What I like about RescueTime is that it only counts the active application as using my time. This means I don’t get fake counts because I have Word open in the background. Also, it stops counting automatically when I stop using my computer so that those 4 minute phone calls don’t end up falsely adding an extra 16 minutes.
But there has always been one thing that really bugs me about RescueTime. It’s a web enabled Internet application for no reason. (After reading Tony’s comment below, I am retracting the no reason thing. There are good reasons. They just aren’t the ones I have use for.) Sure, if you are collaborating with a team, or if your boss is reviewing how you spend your time, the online thing is great, but if you are a single freelancer working out of your basement office, there is no reason to be sending all that data out into cyberspace.
Unfortunately, there is no offline, no network, local install version of RescueTime.
Today, I found ManicTime, which is, for my purposes anyway, everything that RescueTime is without the online web-based part. ManicTime installs locally, doesn’t make me register (and give out my email address), and doesn’t make me log in so that someone, somewhere could find out exactly what I was doing every day for a week, a month, a year, or longer.
I’m still testing, but so far, so good. It looks like RescueTime will be out and ManicTime will be in.