One Year of Writing (And Procrastination) Data

I’m a big fan of gathering data about my processes and productivity, particular when it doesn’t require any particular effort on my part. That’s why I pay for a yearly RescueTime subscription, giving me a week-by-week (or mont-by-month) snapshot of how much of my computer time is actually spent working versus goofing off on various projects.

This year RescueTime rolled out a feature that gives me an entire year in review, breaking down my computer and phone usage across the entirety of 2017 based upon a number of categories.

I know that I logged 1,496 digital hours across 2017 (that’s out of a possible 8760 hours available in a year), which means I’m spending about 4 hours on average logged onto a computer or using my phone.

Of that 1,496 hours, 416 have been dubbed Productive, which is how RescueTime logs any computer or phone usage in which I’m working in Word or Scrivener. It’s not a purely accurate list, given that I also use that software for non-writing purposes, but I can get those breakdowns and pull them out if I want to get more specific. My goal for 2018 will be getting that up – from 1/4 of the hours spent at-the-computer being productive to 1/2 of my at-the-computer hours

I also logged 292 Distracting hours, which is generally a measure of how long I spend on social media or playing computer games. This number is much lower than normal, and mostly social media driven, as I acquired a playstation at the start of 2017 for the expressed purposes of removing Netflix and Computer Gaming from the machines where I do my work. This means that I’m still clocking up a bunch of screen hours that aren’t logged on RescueTime, but also means that they tend to be intentional rather than “oh, look, I logged on to my work computer and actually started watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine instead of working on a draft.”

Fun as these are, they’re just numbers – what I’m really looking at is the section of the report that breaks down my screen-hours by month. By and large I’m pretty consistent here, but there’s a definite pattern in my yearly report where March and June are low months – the report gives me a chance to go back and look at my bullet journal to figure out why (and, more importantly, whether I need to start incorporating something into my forward projections and adjust my work expectations accordingly).

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