What’s new in RescueTime: Calendar updates, scheduled FocusTime sessions, iOS Dark Mode, and more!

Summer’s over. The kids are back in school. The out-of-office replies are becoming fewer and fewer. In other words, it’s time to buckle down and end 2019 on a high note. And we’re here to help.

At RescueTime, we know the value of vacations and downtime. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been slacking.

Instead, we’re bringing you a set of major new feature releases and updates that will supercharge your productivity from now until the new year.

Here’s what’s new in RescueTime:

  • RescueTime for your Calendar comes to Outlook / Office 365 with a big update
  • You can now schedule FocusTime sessions from your calendar (plus new block and settings pages!)
  • Our main website got a huge makeover
  • New Focus tools help you measure your attention when it matters most
  • RescueTime for iOS gains Dark Mode support and Weekly Reports
  • We added emoji support to almost every aspect of RescueTime
  • Quickly toggle between Work Hours and All-Time in your main dashboard
The majority of these updates are only available to RescueTime Premium users. Sign up for your free 14-day trial and try them for yourself. 

Supercharge your calendar: RescueTime comes to Outlook / Office 365 with new features

Thousands of people are already using our RescueTime for Google Calendar integration and today we’re bringing all those features (and more!) to Outlook / Office 365 users. 

Now, you can see key RescueTime stats right from your Outlook / Office 365 calendar, including total device time, a summary of your daily goal progress, productivity pulse, and a direct link to your full daily report

But that’s not all! 

Both Google Calendar and Outlook users now get added multiple calendar support to see all your meeting time as well as customizable daily summaries that let you change your calendar reports to plain text or view just work hours. 

Get RescueTime for your Calendar

Focus when you want to: You can now schedule FocusTime sessions directly from your calendar

RescueTime’s FocusTime feature is one of the most powerful ways to protect your focus. 

With FocusTime enabled, RescueTime automatically blocks distracting websites (like social media and news), puts your Android phone into do-not-disturb mode, and can even notify your coworkers that you’re focused via our Slack integration.

However, it’s not always easy to remember to turn FocusTime on. Until now. 

Now, you can now schedule a FocusTime session directly from your calendar.

Simply enable FocusTime blocking on the integration page. Then, add #focustime to your event name or description and RescueTime will block all distractions for the duration of the calendar event.

New FocusTime block and Settings pages

FocusTime was one of the earliest features we added to RescueTime. And while we’ve added tons of functionality to it, the design remained… dated. But no more!

Two of our new FocusTime block pages. You can also select an updated version of our “classic” design.

Today, we’re releasing not one. Not two. But three new FocusTime block pages you can choose from as well as an updated Settings page to make it easier to block the pages that distract you the most!

Update your FocusTime block list, add exceptions, and choose your level of blocking.

Go to your FocusTime Settings page

So fresh and so clean: We updated our main homepage with new branding and illustrations

There comes a time in every company’s life where you have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize it’s time for something new. And after 5+ years with the same homepage, we decided it was time for a makeover. 

We spent months stripping back our homepage and clarifying all the amazing features and benefits you get from using RescueTime. (Shout out to the incredibly talented Francesca Buchko for her beautiful illustration work.) 

Check out the new RescueTime

Going dark: RescueTime for iOS adds Dark Mode and Weekly Reports

With the release of iOS 13, your iPhone and iPad finally support Dark Mode. And so does RescueTime! 

Not only that, but we’ve also added Weekly Reports to our iOS and Android apps. Every Sunday (or Monday depending on your settings), you’ll be able to access your weekly stats (from both mobile and desktop) directly from the RescueTime mobile app. 

Get RescueTime for your phone (iOS and Android)

Find more flow: Track your focus with new (and updated) Focus Tools

If you’re a RescueTime user, you already get deep insights into your time. But while we do a good job at showing you when you were focused in the past, active and immediate feedback on your attention in the moment has been a crucial missing piece of focus.

This past quarter, we released and updated 3 key tools to help you track your focus when you need it most including updated Day Timers, a new VS Code integration, and our Slack integration.

Our new, simple extension for Visual Studio Code shows your total software development time as well as how focused you currently are on the app on a scale of 1–5.

Learn more about our new Focus Tools

????????????: Emoji support in Highlights, Goals, Alerts, Categories, Usernames, and fields

Everybody loves emojis. Now, you can use them pretty much everywhere you can imagine in RescueTime from Highlights to Goals to Alerts to Category and User names. 

Give it a try and personalize your RescueTime experience even more!

Get Work-life balance in a button: Quickly toggle between Work Hours and all-time in your dashboard

Your RescueTime dashboard is the quickest way to get a read on how you’re spending your time and how productive you’re being. But one thing that always felt awkward was quickly switching between all your time and just your work hours. 

What do you want to see next?

We’re always exploring new ways to make RescueTime better.

What features or new integrations would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.

Jory MacKay

Jory MacKay is a writer, content marketer, and editor of the RescueTime blog.


  1. Great news !

    Will the design of the apps and the website be updated too ?
    The design is very functional and not ugly, but its a bit old fashioned and rescue time is such a great tool that it deserves to be beautiful & useful.

    1. Hey Yorgo! Thanks for the comment. We’re doing some piecemeal updates to the design of the apps but no major refresh on the immediate horizon.

  2. Details on iOS activity! For me it is completely misleading to know how much mobile activity I have when I don’t know how much was spent on distracting apps and how much on productive apps.

    1. Hey Harri! I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, Apple’s blocked that functionality from third-party apps like ours. We’re working on some new features to help build out the value of the iOS app but for now, we see it as an important part of understanding your overall trends and how you’re spending your time across all your devices.

      One of the things I enjoy the most is setting Mobile Time goals. This way I can quickly see when I’m spending too much overall time on my phone and should be working on more meaningful tasks. I hope that helps!

  3. I’m definitely looking for FocusTime implementation in Chrome OS. That would pretty much seal the deal for me on bringing back RescueTime!

    1. Thanks Tom. I’ll pass that along to our product team and see what we can do! We’d love to have you back.

  4. How do I turn dark mode for the desk top version? Also how does focus time work with the calendar? I set it up on Google Calendar with the hash tag and everything but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

    1. Hey Andreas. No Dark Mode on the desktop app yet. For FocusTime in the Calendar, head to the integration page (https://www.rescuetime.com/integrations/google-calendar) and make sure “Schedule FocusTime on your calendars” is enabled. It’s under Premium Features about halfway down the page. If that still doesn’t work, give us a shout! support@rescuetime.com

  5. Would still love to be able to edit my highlights. It’s a real pain to have to retype the whole item when I make an error.

    1. Hey Kim. That makes total sense. I sent your request over to our product team and they’ll work it into a future sprint!

  6. I would really love to see a physical Outlook client plugin. I don’t work with outlook online and so that new AMAZING functionality from a status overview perspective is lost.

    Also my professional mail in O365 is inaccessible due to company policy which also places a tremendous dampner on the new functionality thats been provided because I cannot block out my mail working calendar etc.

    1. Hey Richard. Thanks for the comments. I’ll definitely pass them along to our product team. We’re definitely looking at more ways to improve these features and I’m sure this will make it on the roadmap soon.

  7. I use RescueTimee almost solely for the focus time feature. I would pay double for RescueTime if focus time sessions also blocked distracting apps & websites on my android phone. Currently I have to resort to clunky workarounds like installing parental control apps on my phone..

    1. Hey Sarah. FocusTime on Android is definitely something we’ve looked into. It’s a bit tricky to implement but we have some ideas that we’ve been trying out. However, there’s no release date on the horizon. (As a side note, you can already have FocusTime sessions trigger do-not-disturb mode on your Android phone).

  8. I really wish you’d let us hide certain activity categories. There are simply way too many and some are way too niche to be useful to general users (why is “anti-virus & spyware” its own category in 2019?) that it makes it very difficult to navigate. I know that you can make your own categories under “Miscellaneous” but then you lose meta summaries because your activities are no longer nested under Entertainment, Business, etc.

    A simple solution would allow users to hide categories irrelevant to them so the menu wouldn’t be as painfully cluttered. I’ve been asking for this feature for several years now.

    1. Hey Nacim. That makes total sense and definitely deserves to be updated. I’ve passed it along to our team and they’ll add it to a future sprint. Thanks for your feedback!

  9. I would find it really useful to have the lists of off-line topics be programmable- for now I find myself adding “new activities” almost every time (in the android app there are 3 previous topics available, but have a couple more would help).

    Also, being able to set in my calendar that any screen time in some window should be considered a distraction and any offline time should go to some set category (i.e. “lecture”) would be a really useful tool- during term I find myself adding in my lectures one by one every week, and they already are in my calendar…

    1. Hey Noemie! Those are both great ideas that I’ll definitely pass along to our team. We’re hoping to add some more functionality to the RescueTime for your Calendar integrations in the near future.

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