The Rescue Time Topic

I’ve been participating in a weekly “self-research” chat with participants in the overlapping Open Humans and Quantified Self community, and was inspired by @Paula’s project visualizing activity and productivity data to start collecting more data using Rescue Time. I have had Rescue Time installed on my main work computer for some time, but haven’t done much with the data. Now that I’m looking into getting a project going using Rescue Time data, I thought I’d start a topic here to post what Iearn about setup, data access, analysis and visualization, as well as learn from others. If you are using Rescue Time and want to discuss practical aspects of setting up and using the service, this topic is for you.

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I have used RescueTime in the past, it’s a great tool!

Two limitations I ran into: 1. There is no notion of “sessions” (so you can’t look at how often you use your computer or other device, and for how long at a time), and 2. You can’t distinguish time spent by device (other than computer vs mobile).

I’ve been using Rescuetime for quite some time now, and it’s pretty integral to my tracking. Over the years I ended up finding three use cases for it which rely on making it easy for me to review information when I need it.

The first, is a real-time dashboard in the corner of my room that tells me where I’ve spent my time (top text), and how much time i’ve spent on unproductive websites (my goal is <1h).


The second is a weekly check-in bot on Messenger which pings me every Sunday @7pm and gives me a review of the week.

For the third application, I write a daily journal in VimWiki which pulls in a template of my data for the day, including top rescuetime sources and total unproductive time.

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I’ve transferred over my visualization to the platform so if you have a RescueTime account, all you need to do is sign in to OpenHumans, add your RescueTime data and run this notebook to generate your own chart :slight_smile: There are also a ton of other great notebooks you can run seamlessly with different data sources.

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 11.11.54 PM

For more info about my project and how I incorporate RescueTime data, please feel free to check out my repo here: