This month’s tech corner is not for the faint of heart – but it is for the students who find themselves spending too much time on distracting apps and websites.

RescueTime is an online tool that helps you understand your digital daily habits (like I said, not for the faint of heart). The goal is not to shame you for spending hours spiraling into the depths of YouTube after that first initial search (we have all been there), but rather to help you focus and be more productive. As it runs securely in the background of your computer or mobile device, RescueTime tracks the amount of time spent on any given app or website. Let’s be honest, some of us could be in denial about how many hours are sucked into time-consuming apps. RescueTime’s detailed report might be what students and working professionals need to get back into work mode.

The free option, available on Macs, PCs, Androids, and Linux computers, is the perfect tool to give you perspective and increase productivity. With features that allow you to set goals, like spending less than one hour per day on Facebook to help you stay focused, and alarms that notify you when you have spent more than two hours on Netflix, there is little to no room for excuses. It also sends you weekly summaries detailing your activities and productivity score so you can better plan the next week.

The premium option, which costs $9 per month and $72 per year, blocks distracting sites for any given amount of time and logs highlights about the goals and activities you accomplished, so tracking progress has never been easier.

With a tool that runs in the background of your computer, privacy concerns may arise. However, RescueTime can be turned off or paused at anytime. The data it collects belongs entirely to the user and it is not sold and your privacy is not compromised.

The founder of reddit.com, Alexis Ohanian, said “you’ll discover things about yourself that will make you wonder how you ever got any work done without RescueTime.” If you are up to the challenge, and some potentially surprising details about your digital habits, check out RescueTime. We have a feeling it might lead you to your ideal work-life balance.

By Bianca Chan

For more articles, see CUOL’s story archive.

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