Measure your day with Rescue Time

I am not a time management expert however like many of us, you probably struggle, at times, with time management and distractions at work place. For example, we observe that some of us spent their time in social networking, which is distracting for most of us at work and perhaps such activities need to be managed. However, the real problem is that at the end of the day we don’t know exactly how much time we spent doing what? We need some facts and figures so that we can work on it. As they say,

  “You cannot improve what you don’t measure”

I found a great tool Rescue Time (courtesy of Scott Hanselman for adding in his Tool List). Rescue time gives answer to one of the most fundamental and important question.

Am I really spending my days the way I want to?

Rescue Time helps you figure out the answer by showing you how you spend your time on the computer. (take a tour).

So the way it works that it keeps track of application running on your computer, categorize them, and mark them as either ‘productive’ or ‘distracting’ or ‘neutral’ etc. which we can definitely configure our self. So at the end of the day/week/month it gives us a nice dashboard to know that each day how much productive time we spent and further drilling down to category-wise activities  we have done.

As an example, below are few graphs copied from my dashboard (this week).

RescueTime - Productivity

RescueTime Categories

The good thing about the tool is that it lets you customize it. You can categorize activities, mark them as productive or not and you can set monitoring timings as well.

settings

So I would suggest you to give it a try, measure your day, track down your activities and start improving. As quick start just install the software and forget it, few weeks later check your dashboard and I am sure it would surprise you to some extent. Register and download Rescue Time.

Disclaimer: Please note that I have no association with Rescue Time. I am neither paid by the company nor do I take any guarantee of the software. I am just sharing my experience because I like using it.

Further Reading: There is a great book I came across some time back on productivity and time management “Getting Results the Agile Way”, a personal result system for work and life. It’s available free online and it’s very practical. There is a highly recommended chapter in it “Monday Vision, Daily Wins and Friday Reflection”. Go for it.

Visual Studio Underutilized Features


Visual Studio is a powerful IDE and have grown remarkably over the last decade. Perhaps used by great number of developers out there for building products for Microsoft platform yet I have came across so many developers who haven’t fully explored IDE features yet and are not utilizing all goodies in it.

Do you know that?
– There are around 4500 Commands in VS
– Over 750 key bindings
– More than 100 tool windows
– A large number of extensibility areas

I believe that it is essential for every software craftsman to master its tool set.

So I have decided to write some blog posts, as shout out from my side, mentioning worth while features, tips and stuff under the hood. I will add the link to posts below.

If you have any tip or feature you would like to share, please feel free to add in comments below or contact me via my blog.

Thanks, stay tuned!

Search using Navigate To

Navigate To is a great feature that lets you search and navigate to symbols especially when you are not sure for what exactly you are searching for. You can open up ‘Navigate To’ dialog either from menu Edit -> Navigate To or using shortcut Ctrl + , (comma).
For example, consider we are looking for controller for shopping cart but not exactly sure of what were the name. So we what we can do we write “cart” “controller”, for which it would come up with matching results containing ‘ShoppingCartController’ which is exactly we were looking for.

Note: For this blog post I have used MvcMusicStore, an open source project for ASP.NET MVC to demonstrate feature

Few things to remember:

  • The results does not include namespaces or local variables however it may include definition, file names etc. 
  • A search string is case-sensitive, if search term has character in uppercase otherwise it would be case-insensitive
As a developer, it’s better for me to avoid mouse intervention and perform quick navigation. Now if I want to jump to any file, I can quickly open up the code element I want to edit using Ctrl+, (comma) and typing the file name. This is fast and saves a lot of time in avoiding scrolling through solution explorer especially when you have many projects as part of your solution.
“Navigate To” feature was first shipped with VS 2010 however I have observed that many experienced developers are not utilizing this feature to increase their everyday productivity. 
So gets your hands on this feature and start using Ctrl + (comma) for search or quick navigation to different types and its symbols.