Do you ever sit down to do something at your computer, only to find that the "thing" didn't get done but you've just whiled away an hour of your time?
In the past, I've talked about some techniques for auditing your time (Audit time! - 1 March 2006), but it can be tricky to track how I'm spending my time on my computer. That's where "TimeSprite" comes to the rescue.
I recently discovered TimeSprite thanks to its author Andrew Rowley who pointed it out based on some of the posts on my blog.
TimeSprite is a cool program (there is a trial version, and the full version is $19.95) that monitors what you do on your Windows-based computer all day. It does a nice job of tracking what programs you're running, when you're idle, etc. It even tracks window names so you can get more granular than "Internet Explorer" or "Firefox" and actually see what sites you've spent most of your time viewing.
What's the Use?
I plan on incorporating this into my weekly review process to figure out if there are time sinks that are out of whack with where I want them to be.
A nice feature is the ability to create arbitrary, higher-level groups to organize blobs of related activities into projects or other meaningful categories.
This can help you with tracking how much time you spend working on specific projects, actions for particular clients, etc. Or you could simply create categories like "Research," "Blogging," or "Weekly Reporting." Pretty cool stuff.
You can't improve what you don't measure (or at least you can't prove it's improving). If you want to put a bit more rigor in your time auditing, TimeSprite is a rockin' way to do that. Check out the free trial and see if it's for you.