Tip: Use RescueTime alerts to block distracting websites when you need to focus!

Middle of last year we rolled out a feature allowing alerts to start a FocusTime session.  Not to brag much, but it is an awesome feature that you may want to try if you are a premium user.  Sometimes those distracting activities are too tempting, “what just happened on …“, and the thought of focusing with, “let me start FocusTime” doesn’t really cross your mind, or if it does it may be followed by, “in just a moment.”

Here are some alert recipes that will trigger after set periods of Very Distracting time, allowing yourself a moment while keeping strict about your own productivity goals.

Alert Recipe: Triggers 30 minute FocusTime session first thing of the day

Alert Recipe: 10 distracted minutes triggers a 15 minute FocusTime session

Alert Recipe: 20 distracted minutes triggers a 30 minute FocusTime session

Alert Recipe: 1 hour of distracted time triggers FocusTime session until midnight

You can start with these or create your own custom alerts that can even be set on a time filter of set hours/days that you want to be productive so they don’t trigger when you desire the enjoyment from these distractions, say the weekend.


Making Games in a Weekend

Ludum Dare is an event held three times a year, where thousands of developers come together to create games, by themselves or in small collaborative teams, in 48 hours.  You did read that correctly, their games are created in 48 hours rather than the many months or years it would usually take.

I created a game small flash game, Precise Shot, during the 31st Ludum Dare event and with RescueTime data I was able to learn a few things about that weekend.

  • Sleeping was the single most time consuming activity: 15 hours 29 minutes.
  • Six hours of development efforts on the second day didn’t make it into the final game.
  • 76 minutes spent on twitter, composing 41 tweets.
  • The final hour was spent on the art, sounds and counting effects for the results screen.

Check out the results in more detail below: (click the image to make it larger)

precise_shot_time_graphic

What are some things you have learned since using RescueTime?


Build up productivity momentum early

Working from home is certainly a great experience, and simply put not for everyone.  I tend to feel cruddy when I get distracted and am not giving a full day of effort.   Last week I got stuck in a rut where I was more distracted than I demand of myself.  I started a massive open online course (MOOC) a few weeks back and started getting distracted by this and letting it leak into my desired professional time (roughly 8am to 5pm).  Lucky for me, I am able to see this in my daily reports and jumped on attempting to do something about it before it became a major issue.

Tending to wake up and start working between 8am and 9am, and wanting to start a little earlier like 7am, I took measures to push me into making the first hour or two the most productive I can make it.  Setting up a few alerts on my RescueTime account has helped drastically.  The first alert is triggered once I’ve spent approximately 1 to 2 minutes on the computer, it greets me with a “Good Morning” and encourages me to get something awesome done today.  It also automatically starts a 15 minute FocusTime session to get the gears spinning in the right direction.

rescuetime_morning_alerts

The next two alerts I set up as a goal to monitor how well I am doing over time.  They run on a filter from Monday to Friday between 7am and 10am.  They will trigger once I spend 1 hour of time on productive activities and a challenging 2 hours of time on productive activities.  So far since starting this I have been able to reach the 1 hour productive goal, but since I am still waking between 8am and 9am, I haven’t yet been able to hit the 2 hour productive goal but am looking forward to continuing to try.

What I have found, is that spending the first hour or two in a really productive state, it actually carries you throughout the rest of the day.  It acts like momentum, helping you plow through distractions like the stone above.