Introducing the New RescueTime

If you are an individual RescueTime user you have probably noticed that your RescueTime Dashboard looks a bit different!

I am very excited to introduce to you the combined product of many years of user feedback and many months of development efforts – the New RescueTime.  This is a quick blog post to go over the highlights of what you are about to experience with RescueTime in hopes that the transition from old to new is quick and easy and you can enjoy the site improvements as soon as possible.

This new version of RescueTime has given us the opportunity to use feedback we’ve received over the last few years to provide a better experience for our existing users.   It will also make it easier for new users to become acquainted with the RescueTime product.  With these changes we have undergone a huge technical upgrade replacing aging components and bringing our entire stack to modern and in some places bleeding edge technologies.

A lot of the changes you see were driven by the meteoric rise of mobile device use we’ve seen in the last few years.  The RescueTime dashboard and reports will now work just as well on phones and tablets as they do on desktops and laptops.

dashboard

New Feature Highlights

We have packed over 30 new features into this latest version of RescueTime and we will have a follow-on blog post [future link here] that goes over them in more detail, but I’m too excited not to mention at least a few of them!

  • A completely rethought dashboard, based around common use cases
  • A ‘spotlights’ section giving you a better sense of your daily patterns and things that have changed over time
  • An ‘insights’ section that highlights notable information about the current day / week / month
  • An Achievements block showing your lifetime total time logged, top productive day, and some other really cool information, especially for our long time users
  • Reports have a new “daily patterns” view that shows you what time of day you tend to spend more time on particular activities, categories, or productivity levels
  • Reports have a “changes over time” view that shows you how the current time period compares to the several days/weeks/months prior
  • You can now set goals for applications (previously you could only set goals for productivity or categories).
  • You can now compile a list of “highlights” about a given day.  It’s a great way to remember what you accomplished
  • New “What work did I get done?” view that shows you a filtered view to jog your memory about the productive work you spent time doing.

Old Features Missing

With all of the changes that were made, there were a few features that have been removed or are not yet ready for release.  If there is something gone that you need, “Don’t Panic!” - you can still access the old site for a period of time, see the end of this blog post.

  • The Projects feature as it was originally developed is no longer available in the new version of RescueTime.  Our plans are to develop a much better replacement, but I can’t give you any time frames as to when that will be yet.
  • Custom Reports AKA Saved Searches are not yet available in the new version.  We will have saved search capabilities released soon.
  • The Document and Details report is not available in the new version.  You can still access all of your document details by first going to the Application & Websites report and clicking on specific applications to view the available documents.
  • The Customizable Dashboard is no longer available in the new version.  (Our new dashboard is perfect!  So why would you want to customize it!? ;) ) Seriously, though, the customization features were a lot of technical overhead that really didn’t get a whole lot of use, so we decided to go with a more structured approach.
  • The Comparisons Report is no longer available as as single report. We’ve taken some of the things we learned from that report and applied them across the site. We will be adding even more new ways to view your data soon.

What does all this mean?

For the time being, the new version of RescueTime is only available to our individual users (both free and premium).  If you are part of a Team account, a Research Project, or actively use the Projects feature, you will be automatically redirected back to the older version of RescueTime.  The data is seamlessly shared between the two versions of RescueTime and will be for at least the next month or two.

If you are currently viewing the new version of RescueTime and want to switch back to the old version, you can do so by clicking the “old version” link at the top of the RescueTime Dashboard.

If you are an individual user and are currently viewing the old version of RescueTime, you can switch to the new version by going to the “settings” link on the old RescueTime Dashboard and selecting the “Click here to switch to the new interface” link on your Account Settings page.

Team users don’t despair, we’ve got some nice shiny new love coming your way soon.

We hope you love the new version of RescueTime as much as we do.  We’re going to have a few bumps over the next couple of days, but we’ve got all hands on deck and will be addressing issues as they arise.  I encourage you to take a bit of time to wander around the new site, take a tour of the new features and then come back and give us some feedback!


15 Comments on “Introducing the New RescueTime”

  1. Hello,
    I’d like to clarify, is there currently a smartphone version of RescueTime for the Team account?
    And if there isn’t, when will it be available?
    Many thanks

    • Robby Macdonell says:

      Good question. The updates we’ve launched today are for the individual version of RescueTime only. We will be working on an update for the team version, but we don’t have a set release date yet.

      However, we do have an Android app that provides data collection on smartphones (Android only at the moment, I’m afraid). I’m not sure if that helps you out, but that WILL work for team accounts. That app is currently pretty much just for collecting data, though, and currently doesn’t provide any dashboard viewing. You can find that in the Google Play store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rescuetime.android)

  2. Andrew says:

    awesome update to the dashboard!!!!.

    I use rescuetime to help prepare time sheets. If I could change one thing – I would promote the activities by day of week report to the main weekly dashboard and use it to replace the spotlight on activities this week. It would be even better if it had a simple table with top 5 activities with separate columns for monday to friday would be really helpful for building time sheets.

    Also, I dont know if there is a bug or not, but I tried to re-categorise some of my uncategorised activities in the weekly report view and the changes were not saved.

  3. Hugo Veloso says:

    I can’t connect the google chrome plugin to my account, so there is no individual webpage tracking it just tracks google chrome

    • Joe says:

      @hugo we’ll take a look into why that might be happening – you may want to open a ticket at help.rescuetime.com to make sure we can do the proper troubleshooting. Thanks!

  4. Roser says:

    I really like Rescuetime, but with the new version I have to say that I LOVE Rescuetime! Thank you!

  5. Andreas says:

    Nice changes overall. Some thoughts and experiences so far:

    - It misreports the morning/afternoon data in daily patterns ( perhaps taking “am” as afternoon and “pm” as morning). This maybe the reason why “daily patterns” on the dashboard says something about my productivity in the afternoon (which shouldn’t have any data yet).

    - the filters/time periods have been relegated to a very minor thing. I made filters for each 2 hours of the day to quickly spot if I have a tendency to lose concentration at certain points during a working day (using the crosstable at the “Efficiency Summary”). Now I can only use them one of the time. That is, I can see how I have performed from 8-10 or 15-17 during the day/week, but I cannot see how I have performed in these intervals during the day and compare them. Nor can I compare them between weeks.

    I really enjoy many changes you’ve made, but the last one seemingly removed something I really appreciated and have had a lot of benefit from.

    Kind Regards

    • Joe says:

      We are looking into a few issues that are related to timezones and the types of problems you are seeing morning vs afternoon. We should have those fixed today.

      Great feedback on the filters. We do have a “productivity by time of day” view that will allow you to compare productivity by the hour for a specific day, for example https://www.rescuetime.com/browse/productivity/by/hour/for/the/day/of/2013-10-7 We’re considering adding another report on the Productivity page to bring back what you were looking for.

  6. AMR says:

    “The Document and Details report is not available in the new version. You can still access all of your document details by first going to the Application & Websites report and clicking on specific applications to view the available documents.”

    I hate to complain but I built custom spreadsheets out of the total data set that I exported from Documents and Details: to help me track what projects (by filename) I’m spending time on, or to determine things like if a flurry of google searches were productive or not.

    Rescuetime has been a big help to me, but if this functionality is to be gone forever after a period of time, I may have to look elsewhere. (Please keep it: I don’t want to look.)

  7. Bob says:

    Just came to know about this service via an interview with Matt Mullenweg. For now, I had signed up a free plan, let me use it for a while…later on I’ll go with subscription :)

  8. Linden says:

    I just found out about the launch of the new interface today, randomly checking on the blog. I immediately returned to my account and turned it on, and WOW! You guys have done an AMAZING job.
    * The pages are more responsive.
    * It takes less wandering about to access the charts I’m most interested in.
    * The new trending and daily/hourly comparisons are sleek and informative.

    Special thanks to Hugo Veloso for commenting on his Google Chrome plugin issues. I hadn’t realized that there WAS a plugin and had been frustrated that Chrome wasn’t allowing individual pages to be tracked. I was mainly using it for only one task, but days when I strayed resulted in mixed activities showing up as “Utilities: Google Chrome”. Now I can finally see down to the document data for the times I’m over there! I hope the troubleshooting helped — the RescueTime team’s always done a great job of fixing my own snags.

  9. Gary Hides says:

    Rectegorizing tasks now takes ages and is a lot more complicated. SO MANY CLICKS!

    Before it was just up and down arrows. I check my neutral tasks on a weekly basis, but this is creating me more work :(

    Other than that it’s looking good!

    Another point – on this blog when posting a comment, it then takes you to wordpress.com to login… Huh I don’t have a login for this.. very confusing!

    • parasight says:

      Love the new website! The design is great, the charts are more useful and it’s easier to find things. Thanks for this update!

      The only issue I currently have is the same as Gary’s: categorizing is a lot of effort. Here are two reasons why:

      1) Placement is a bit of a nuisance. I’m on a 15″ laptop and a lot of times the category drop-down menu will be somewhere along the bottom of my window and I have to scroll to see its content. In fact, even the very first entry in the list has a drop-down menu that protrudes outside of the visible area. I know it’s a minor issue and I feel pedantic for even bringing it up, but it’s one of those usability things that just get really frustrating after you’ve encountered them enough times. It would be nice if the drop-down menu respected the window height and placed itself within clickable bounds.

      2) Also, I’d appreciate a system that will let me select multiple tasks and categorize them in one go, perhaps with check-boxes. This is especially important on the “Uncategorized” page. It would shorten the time needed to work through the weekly list of 120+ entries quite significantly, I believe.

    • Robby Macdonell says:

      Thanks for the feedback on that! (both Gary and Parasight) I can see what you are talking about and how it may be a step back in terms of ease of use. We made some choices to visually simplify the UI, thinking that categorizing would be more of an occasional task. Looks like we may have made a bad choice there. We’re going to spend some time thinking about how to improve that.

      The multiple select to re-categorize is something that we’re going to bring back. There were some details of how it was implemented in the old version that we didn’t like, so we wanted to rethink it and do it correctly. Unfortunately it didn’t make it into the first version of the new site.

      Gary, you might want to have a look at the dedicated “categorize activities report” to deal with your weekly neutral activities:

      https://www.rescuetime.com/categorize/activities?show_only_uncategorized=true

      I don’t think that will solve all of your problems, but it should eliminate some of the excessive clicking.