Data Driven New Year’s Resolutions

Gearing up for a Productive New Year – What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s that time of the year when many fellow RescueTimers and other professed Lifehackers begin to look back at their work and accomplishments to measure what was completed in 2011 and what is on deck for 2012. Since joining RescueTime as the VP of Product Marketing earlier this year in May 2011 I’ve logged 1120 hours in RescueTime in total. Now that I know what I’m doing with my time and my personal patterns of productivity, I want to set out what I’m going to accomplish in 2012. Before answering this question let’s take a look back at 2011.

According to RescueTime in 2011 I spent the majority of my time:

  1. Buried in email – 200+ hours.
  2. 50+ hours doing RescueTime Support (answering emails, feature requests, bugs and voicemails).
  3. 100+ hours of food (includes lunch, coffee and sometimes dinner).
  4. 50+ hours chatting with my co-workers and colleagues.
  5. 50+ hours of meetings.
  6. 30+ hours of using my Social Media toolset,

All Activities 2011

What else does this data suggest? …I need to log more hours.

1100 hours is impressive, but when you realize that I had the potential to log close to 1600 hours I would have had a much clearer picture of my time. I plan to spend the next year logging more of my time – even the mundane stuff. For example when I’m not working productively I need to mark the time as Family or another similar category that demonstrates I have spent time away from work and everything needs to be tracked.  Additionally, I plan to set some goals for hitting specific task related objectives, like 1 hour in business intelligence. Let’s look at a graph for some more ideas.

Taking a deeper look at the long tail of my activities with lower usage statistics
Chart - showing low activities
This is one of my most actionable charts. From looking up at the following graph you can see how it compares against the graph above. These are the areas where I need to spend more time or turn ideas into action. Specifically, I need to spend more time doing the following:
  1. I’m not spending enough time on our company blog – My goal is to create 2 blog articles a month this next year and institute a RescueTimer of the Month program, posting of FAQ and sample real world examples of how RescueTime could benefit other knowledge workers.
  2. I’m a rabid fan of OSX’s sticky notes and I spent approximately 12 hours in it this year, but I need to move more of the ideas noted there to action, so I need to dig through them to review and prioritize.
  3. Phone calls – I’m an iPhone user and right now we do not have a client that supports call logging like our Android counterpart. In the meantime, I can log offline time as Phone Call – I just need to get in the habit of better documenting it.
  4. Hosted Google Docs – not entirely sure what to make of this statistic. At RescueTime we all share Google Apps accounts with access to a central Hosted Google Docs for knowledge share such as best practices, design docs, customer testimonials, but over the last 4 years many of these docs have grown outdated and we’ve relied on tribal knowledge. There needs to be a consistent effort to document what’s important and reusable. And whatever is usable and would benefit customers needs to be posted on our online support site at or our company blog.
Examining my Social Networking time

Let’s take a closer look at my time spent on social sites and social networking. At first glance there is an obvious hole – As a marketing professional, I need to spend more time using Google+ and I need to be using it daily. I also don’t spend enough time relative to other networks on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. I’ve recently upgraded to their Premium service in the hopes of connecting with more potential partners and users via their InMail and statistics package.
Social Net Time

What are my New Year’s Resolutions given the data above?

Knowing that my job is very communication intensive what are the things I can do to improve my productivity for the upcoming 2012 year?

  1. Utilize Inbox Zero and Get Things Done to respond to the most important emails first – reduce inbox time sink.
  2. Develop a social media strategy that leverages the fewest amount of tools and time to accomplish the required tasks.
  3. Keep working with RescueTime development team to put the data closer to our users! Not just PC, Mac and Android, but iPhone, iPad and Linux clients as well. Once we have a complete offering almost all of my time will  be completely tracked.
  4. Help close more sales of RescueTime Team Edition accounts utilizing Skype to have the necessary global reach. Currently Skype only consumes 5 hours of my time for the year – I expect this number to grow next year and potentially utilize Google’s new Hangout features.
  5. Create a smooth onboarding process for Team Accounts. We need videos, tutorials, customer reviews. Many of these docs will be hosted in our Google Docs for RescueTime.
  6. Analyze moving our support system to Assistly from Tender. Right now, we require a login to get support which prevents those with login problems from working to resolve their issues. Assistly could give us new functionality that will allow us to more easily connect with our customers.
Without RescueTime it would be difficult to track exactly how you spent the year of your life – sure you spent time on Facebook, but just how much time and what did you accomplish? What are you going to do next year and how are you going to track your progress? We’d love to hear from you. Email us, or post here.  We’d love to feature a few users on our blog rotating monthly.
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