Do you ever wonder just HOW much time you’re spending on your computer, and how you are REALLY allocating your time at the keyboard? Today my “onscreen” time by application looked like this. (It’s pretty evident what time we ate dinner tonight!)

Slife reveals computer use

This data and graph was created by Slife, a free software program for Macintosh and Windows users which I learned about thanks to a post by Clarence Fisher this past week. For most of this afternoon and evening, I’ve been working on “version 2” of a curriculum DVD for the museum and historical association where I work. Should I be giving up most of my Saturday afternoon and evening to complete this project? If you ask members of my family, that answer would certainly be “No.” Yet the project needs to be done and delivered on time, so today was what it was. Thankfully I’m looking forward to more vacation time around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays this year than I’ve had in many a moon, so hopefully my professional/personal time balance will even out a bit later in the month.

It is VERY interesting to see this breakdown of computer use by application. Since I do virtually all my blog writing using Mars Edit, I can see that my total blogging time today has been / was just under an hour. That doesn’t count the time spent online reading webpages in Safari and FireFox, of course, but it does represent all my WRITING time. (That time, incidentally, was mainly during the export/compression time for my Final Cut Pro videos.)

Slife also automatically generates a graph of application use over the course the day, which is interesting.

Slife - My Application Visualization Today

I didn’t use Skype or iChat at all today, as I often do, but I’m not surprised by the prominent frequency of use for both Skitch and TextWranger. Among the applications I run on my Mac, these are two of my most prized. (They are also free.)

It is going to be interesting to see this dataset and these graphs continue to grow in the days ahead. If my wife and I decide to declare another “evening technology fast” this holiday season, it should be VERY apparent visually thanks to Slife!

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2 Responses to Tracking computer use by application with Slife

  1. Mandy says:

    Slife is good but very very limited when compared to FruitfulTime ProductivityMeter.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    FruitfulTime ProductivityMeter is Windows-only, while Slife is cross-platform running on both Macs and Windows computers. I haven’t used ProductivityMeter so I can’t attest to its utility or value.

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