As a Web designer, I've always tracked the time I spend on projects. About a year ago, I started using RescueTime to track everyday activities in order to be more productive.
The best part about the program is that I don't have to use it proactively. If my mouse hasn't moved for more than two minutes, a window pops up and asks me what I've been doing, then gives me the option to check off one of several activities -- meeting, phone call, offline work, or break. The program also tracks the computer programs I use and the websites I visit. You can use it to create custom categories as well. I manage a fantasy football team, so I made a list of sports websites related to that.
Each week, I receive an e-mail with a detailed daily productivity chart that I use to pinpoint areas of poorly timed work and budget my time accordingly. For example, if I see that my fourth highest activity of the week was fantasy football, I cut back. If I realize that I spent time cleaning my office one morning instead of focusing on client work, I remind myself to tidy up after hours.
For the past year, I've been able to count 75 percent of my time as billable hours, which is great for a designer. RescueTime certainly played a role in that.
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