When I started working at Ghost, John told me about RescueTime. It’s an app (with a website counterpart) that you install on your computer. It tracks what application and websites you use, and analyses how productive they are.

It lets you categorise. So set Sublime or your editor of choice as ‘Very productive’, as well as the URLs of sites you work on (local domains work too) and your score should go up. Then set YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook – and anything else that you tend to peruse on a daily basis – to be very unproductive1.

Brief introduction out of the way…

This is where I admit that I’m really fucking lazy. They say it’s the mark of a good developer, but I think I’ve taken it way too far.

That’s is my year so far. The headline figures are:

  • 500 hours of entertainment
  • 471 hours of development
  • 335 hours of sitting in Chrome dev tools (mostly)
  • 200 hours of email, Slack, etc
  • 110 hours of ‘learning’ (apparently)
  • 53% of my time was productive

Now, I’ve used this app for over a year now, but only the free version, which lets you do the categorisations stuff, but as we’ve seen, the figured don’t really help me focus.

This is where going premium comes in. It’s $9 per month{^2}}, and for that, you get to block distracting websites, and more detailed reports. You do get more, but those 2 things are what I care about.

You could argue that a little self control should be enough to stop me wasting too much time on social stuff, but I tried and and I’m obviously too weak. Paying the tiny sum to be reminded I’m being stupid when I visit one of my distracting sites is valuable to me.


I’ve set a few daily goals, and that is to have at least 6 hours of productive time, and no more than 30 minutes of distracting time. I’d also like a daily ‘productivity pulse’ of at least 80.

Now I’m financially invested in this, I think I stand a better change than before. I know it’s the same price as a really good beer you can drink in 20 minutes, but it’s still money.

Today was Day 1 with Premium. It may be a fluke, but something’s happening.

You probably want RescueTime

So go sign up. RescueTime is awesome, and well worth paying for. But you still get value for free.

  1. Unless you’re a social engagement pixie…