I was just reading an article called, "8 Surprisingly Counterproductive Productivity Apps," which has some interesting items on it. My favorite is one called iNap@Work, which took the #1 spot:
No. 1 with a bullet? iNap@Work. It’s the productivity app gone so wrong that it could help you lose your job. With counterproductivity as its aim, the app will make you seem busy while — you guessed it — napping at work. To fool the waking dead (read: your cubemates), the app will play a series of sound effects at varying frequencies, including typing, stapling, and mouse clicks.
I played around with this (not for napping, but out of curiosity) and it's pretty entertaining to say the least. The rest of the list is interesting, as well.
What are your "time sink" apps?
That post reminded me of a tool I've been using called "RescueTime" which automatically tracks your time on Windows and OS X. I really like it because it not only tracks which apps you are using, but it asks you what you were doing when you return to your desk after a meeting or other reason for being away (sample dialog is below - and you can customize the categories if you want):
WIth RescueTime, you get a very nice breakdown of your productivity through the RescueTime dashboard, along with a categorization of which were the most and least productive categories of time. The scale ranges from -2 (very unproductive) to +2 (very productive), and you can adjust the categorization to better fit your real view of the world in case you disagree with their classification of an activity. For example, RescueTime considered LinkedIn to be a -2 (very unproductive) on their scale. I adjusted LinkedIn to be a +1 (productive) since I use LinkedIn to help me in my work and save time.
Once you've been using RescueTime for a while, you can use various reports to see how productive you are and find places where you waste time (your 'counter-productive apps' in a sense). Here is a sample category breakdown for the month of September so far, based on my utilization:
I don't obsess over these reports, but I do check in a couple of times a month to see how much time I've been spending on distractions. You can monitor as much or as little of your week as you want, so you can audit all of your time or just your work hours, for example. I didn't have too many surprises other than realizing how much time I spent playing Diablo 3 last month.
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to track where you spend your time and identify when you are at your most productive, check out RescueTime. And if you want to take naps at work or engage in other unproductive activities, go read up on 8 Surprisingly Counterproductive Productivity Apps!