I’ve been looking around recently at products to help me optimize my effectiveness when working. One thing I’ve recently found (thanks to LifeHacker), is TimeSnapper.
TimeSnapper is a small application that runs in the background and copies your display to a file every 30 seconds or 5 minutes or whatever duration you choose. At the end of the day you can then play back the series of images to see how long you took on tasks throughout the day. During playback you can set the animation speed, so you can choose how quickly you watch your day.
Right now I have mine set to take a snapshot every 10 seconds, and I’ve been playing back at the end of the day with a 10ms delay between images. So I can whip through my day pretty quickly.
Fortunately you can adjust the resolution and file type of the images stored; at full resolution yesterday my dual-screen recording resulted in 800 MB of PNG files, and there were huge periods of the day that I was away from my machine. TimeSnapper doesn’t record images when you are away, which helps a lot during playback at the end of the day.
I’ve been finding TimeSnapper very useful for examining how I get distracted during the day. I doubt I’ll run it all the time, but it’s definitely proven useful in giving me insight into how I work.
And did I mention that the “classic” version, the one that I’m using, is free?
Check it out!