- It integrates with several tools such as Google Calendar, Slack, and Microsoft Word
- Available on desktop, mobile, and browsers
- Offers top-notch security features
- Excellent visual aids such as bar charts, pie charts, and line-item lists.
- Mobile apps don't work as well as desktop versions
- No 24/7 support.
Free plan available
Starting at $12 Per Month
Starting at $12 Per Month
If you want to manage your time better and gauge your productivity, there is no better tool than RescueTime. In the last few years, this automatic time-tracking tool has ranked as one of the best productivity tools and can be described as a rare five-star product.
Through web and app tracking, RescueTime gives individuals and teams insights into how they spend their time on their computers and mobile devices. Additionally, it helps users stay focused and motivated through personalized work goals, focus sessions, real-time alerts, visual time reports, and blocked distractions.
According to several RescueTime reviews and users, this tool is ideal for the modern workplace and freelancers. You can integrate it with many apps if you want to grant access to your RescueTime data. A few apps include Google Calendar, Slack, and Microsoft Word.
While the free version is adequate for personal use, the premium version will provide more detailed analysis. Read on as we analyze how the RescueTime app can help you manage your time better.
How Does RescueTime Work?
As an automatic time tracking tool, the RescueTime app works in the background of your computer and mobile device once it’s installed. Therefore, it doesn’t require any manual entries. It automatically tracks the apps you use, the pages you open, and the websites you visit.
A record of how much time you spend on each page and site is then presented in your reports and score charts. The data collected on time that you spend on your device is categorized and labeled as productive or distracting based on a five-step scale.
Defining your work
In some cases, you will have to classify whether time spent at certain sites is distracting or relevant to your job description. For instance, a website such as the Washington Post can be classified as a distracting or productive website, depending on the work in question. RescueTime is not limited to tracking time; as a productivity tool, it helps you stay focused and motivated and blocks any distractions.
Stay on track
To stay on top of your goals, RescueTime analyzes your focus and gives you insights on how you can stay on track. Additionally, it has focus sessions that, when triggered, blocks any distracting websites.
While the app is automated, there are options to turn it on and off and to enable it to run only during the days and hours that you want. In addition, there is a pause button preset at fifteen minutes and one hour to disable the app when you take breaks.
For most people, privacy is a major concern since the app is meant to track all their activities. However, RescueTime complies with GDPR and DPA policies. There are links to various pages where information collected by RescueTime is configured, giving you more control over the app’s activity. You can easily delete this information or your account if you so choose.
Time Management and Tracking
Through insights and reports of your personal productivity, goal tracking, time tracking, and activity tracking, RescueTime helps you manage your time better. One of the most important pieces of information provided by the RescueTime app is a comprehensive analysis of when you are most productive during the day. This information can be generated over a single day or shown as an average over a week, month, or year.
For a person trying to increase their productivity, this information will be a guide when applying a time management technique. For instance, when using the time-blocking time management strategy, plan demanding and top activities during your highly productive window. Other tasks that are less demanding, such as answering phone calls, emails, and meetings, could be forwarded to your least productive time of the day.
There are different versions of RescueTime. You can opt for the desktop, mobile, and web app versions. Regardless of which app you choose, they are all designed to work in the background of your device. The apps are compatible with the following devices:
- RescueTime desktop app: Windows, MacOS, Linux
- RescueTime mobile app: Android, iOS
- Browser Plugins: Chrome, Firefox
There are two packages for personal use on RescueTime: Lite (free) and Premium, which are billed monthly or yearly. In addition, there is also a team plan for organizations and groups that are billed monthly.
Teams can also sign up for additional training on time management, which is charged at $99 per person. The free version is adequate for first-time users who want to use the app for personal time tracking.
It’s recommended to use a free account before upgrading. Students can get special pricing by contacting customer support. Here are more details on the differences between RescueTime Lite and the premium version.
RescueTime Pricing and Plans
The premium version goes for $12 per month and $78 per year. Lite members get all the core functionalities of the service. The app can track how much time is spent on every website and app and categorize the time spent as productive or unproductive.
Additionally, they can set goals for how many hours per week they will spend on productive tasks and also designate a few hours for unproductive stuff. Currently, lite users are limited to viewing stats dated two weeks ago, whereas premium users have unlimited access.
As for paying subscribers, they get everything in the free plan plus additional reports and extra features. Some extra features include alerts to notify you when you hit your set goals and the ability to customize your offline time when on a break or in a meeting.
RescueTime records when your computer is idle, and when you touch it again, it automatically asks whether you were in a meeting, answering a phone call, or out for lunch. For paying members, you can customize those options and also choose how long your offline time will be.
Several features stand out when it comes to RescueTime. These include;
- Detailed reports and a productivity score that specifies how you spend time on your mobile devices or computer
- Focus time, blocking distractions, and monitoring idle time.
- An automated alert system
- Mobile apps are available for Windows, iOS, and Android devices
Scores and Reports
productivity pulse score and numerous reports generated by RescueTime are what make this app valuable. Not only are you able to track your time, but you can also make sense of it. Reports come with great visualizations such as bar charts, pie charts, and line-item lists.
For instance, the app could calculate that you spent 40% on work categorized as business, 40% on communication and scheduling, and 20% on social networking. These reports can be generated monthly, weekly, or yearly. Through this, you can easily understand when you tend to have increased productivity or be distracted the most.
To gauge how productive you are daily, the Productivity pulse score is a key metric. The score is a percent that is generated daily based on how much time you spend on highly productive, productive, neutral, distracting, and very distracting sites. This score acts as a baseline when comparing your productivity on different days of the week.
Goals and alerts
The ability to set goals and alerts is among the key features of RescueTime. This drives you to achieve your set targets every day. The app sets your goals automatically unless you customize your preferences otherwise.
Goals are set based on productivity levels and a specific category. There is a detailed report on Goals that helps you take note of all the activities you have done to achieve your targets within that time frame.
The report comes with visualizations, such as a graph with all the filters. For premium users, there is an advanced alert system that sends a pop-up message to your email, computer, or phone.
RescueTime has a mobile app version that serves two main functions. These include tracking your phone usage and viewing data collected on the desktop app. The user interfaces for both the Android and iOS versions differ, but neither has an intuitive design.
With the iPhone app, you will be required to enable GPS, allow the app to access your location, and turn on notifications in order to get started. Without allowing access to your location, the app won’t track your phone usage.
As for the Android app, you need to grant access to track your other apps. While the mobile app is reliable when it comes to collecting data from the desktop apps, it doesn’t track your phone usage well.
Overall, on Android, it mainly tracks the total screen time but not all the individual apps used. On the iPhone, it also fails to track individual apps used but instead tracks the phone pick-ups and their location.
This is a feature on RescueTime that enables you to separate work hours from personal activities. You can schedule work hours as per your preference. During this time, RescueTime will count all your activities as work hours.
This is important as it helps to set focus time and goals. To get a better overview of your work habits, there are some filter options. One of them is the ‘Spotlight Function’ which shows all your activities under the work hours category. You may also add breaks and shifts.
This is one of the features available in the premium version. Focus time is a tool that helps maintain concentration during your most productive hours by blocking distracting websites.
During this time, distracting websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok will be blocked automatically. You may choose to block distractions as immediate, normal, or strict. However, you can always unblock any of the blocked sites when you want.
App and Website usage tracking
Data from tracking apps and websites is at the core of RescueTime’s functionality. Contrary to providing time frames only, the service tracks the exact information and then rates it based on an activity score and category rate card. Categories include business, communication, and scheduling, design and composition and news and opinion.
Depending on the nature of your work, you can categorize your websites accordingly. For instance, time spent on Facebook would normally be categorized as distracting for others except for a marketing manager.
The RescueTime account has a well-organized and clutter-free interface. All your important data is neatly displayed on the dashboard. You can access your daily, weekly, and monthly reports from the dashboard. For more selective data, work around the date range to narrow down the information.
Listed below are a few pointers to help you understand the dashboard better.
- Access total tracked time from the left side of a graph representation.
- View your productivity report on a circular chart.
- Observe the percentage of time spent on all categories on the right side.
- Highlight your top activities, trends, and patterns by clicking on the Spotlight tab.
Here are detailed answers to some commonly asked questions.
TrackingTime: Intuitive time tracking tool for efficient project management.
Deputy Time Tracking: Streamlined solution for efficient employee time management and scheduling.
MyHours: User-friendly time tracking software for efficient project management and productivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, RescueTime mobile apps are available for Android and iOS devices. However, as per reviews, the mobile apps don’t work as well as the desktop versions. They are best suited to view data collected from desktop version.
This will depend on whether you have opted for the premium or lite version. The Lite version is free while the premium versions costs $12 for a month and $78 for a year.
Yes, it’s safe to use as it complies with GDPR in the EU and DPA in the UK. However, if you are dealing with sensitive information online it’s best to read the privacy and security policy closely.
Yes, this is a feature available to premium users. The software helps block sites that can cause you distractions to help you focus on your targets more.