Time Tracking

I’m not very consistent about tracking my time.

It has always been something that I want to have done but not something that I particularly want to have to do myself.

The dream is that by tracking my time, by making the invisible visible, I would be struck with inspiration about the things I should do less of and the things I could do more efficiently.

There are some obvious answers that I can identify without even having to look at the data:

  • I refresh my email inboxes too often
  • I check the “All Unreads” section of Slack too often
  • When I watch something on YouTube over lunch, sometimes that lunch goes longer.
  • When I go to check my favorite writer on Twitter/X just “real quick”, sometimes it is not quick at all.

Would having data about these diversions actually help me to reduce them? Unclear. But it is something that I want to experiment with.

There are apps that will automatically track what apps/websites you are using, but I’m skeptical that my employer would be thrilled if I had one of those on my employer-owned machine.

So I’ve started hacking together my own solution. So far, I’ve only started collecting the data, next steps are to build tools to help process the data.

I have made the code available here: https://github.com/RobertBolender/personal-activity-monitoring

Sample output:

2024-01-11 21:18:01 - [Code] .gitignore — activity-tracking
2024-01-11 21:19:00 - [Code] README.md — activity-tracking
2024-01-11 21:20:00 - [Arc] https%3A//crontab.guru/%23%2A_%2A_%2A_%2A_%2A
2024-01-11 21:21:01 - [Code] README.md — activity-tracking
2024-01-11 21:22:00 - [Code] active-window.log — activity-tracking

I’ve never worked with AppleScript before, and there were some challenges even getting this simple script to work, but I’ll write more about those later and update this post.