Installation and Setup
The installation process for this system could not be easier. In about 2 minutes a data collector is installed on your computer that tracks your every move. That is, it tracks which screen is in front on your computer and not idle for more than a few minutes. According to the company literature it captures "application name, web site URL (if the application is a browser), start time, end time, OS username, and computer name." The software that stores and analyzes the data is on the company's server and is considered software as a service.
Next, you are prompted to answer a few questions about productive and distracting activities, which you can later revise. The screen shots on the right show the questions asked. (Click on the screenshot to enlarge it.)
Finally, sign out of the website and begin going about your daily activities. At the end of the day, data is available on all the sites and applications you visited. Each site/application is associated with an activity (business, social networking, etc.) and has a productivity score (very distracting to very productive.) The most time-consuming part of setup occurs when you review this list for the very first time and decide whether you want to change the category or score for a particular website or application. If you bounce around to a lot of different sites (for example, doing research on the Internet,) then this can take quite a bit of time. The screen shot at the left shows the screen that allows you to adjust the category and productivity score for a particular website or application. Each major category also has a subcategory. The main categories can't be changed. (A list of the main categories is shown in the screen shot above.) But, you can add custom subcategories.
RescueTime has a solution if you visit too many sites and for others who want some privacy. It is called "whitelisting." Essentially, you list the websites that you want captured. You also have options to select the days of the week and times that are tracked.
Once you have done the initial analysis and changed the settings to accomplish your tracking goals, you are done!