Computers make us more productive, at least when we use the computer simply as a tool for realizing your ideas. When I have the 1% inspiration, my computer will do the 99% perspiration, which allows me to have some more inspiration or enjoying some free time.
And there I hit the problem: will I use the computer as a workhorse, where it actually has been invented for, or as a collection of games (I admit, sometimes I do play Chess or Go at my computer), like a communication centre (Skype, IM, SocialWeb), or simply as a multimedia collection of mp3’s, funny pics and movies (don’t ask)?
The only way to know is to track the time you spend behind your screen to evaluate your behaviour. There are several applications avaialable on the web, all with their own pros and cons. However, you can’t have all the goodies in the store, so I use Manic Time, especially while it stores a lot of data, all locally.
That is also the downside of it, because who on earth only works at only one computer? So time you spend behind your computer is only partially measured.
Recently – I didn’t visit their website for a longtime – I noticed they also build a portable version and that, as you, dear reader, may know, is entirely my thing! So now I have Manic Time on my 350G Portable Disc and I can log all my activity wherever I am.
Okay, ManicTime is a private thing, and there is nothing wrong with that, but this is not the purpose of the Web 2.0! You should share everything you do – and this is also a great incentive to be as productive as you can. So, is you go all the way and want to confess to the public about your counterproductive behaviour you should use Wakoopa, that has everything including widgets for your Blog and full Facebook integration.
Another tool is the Toggl-timer. This is a great tool if you have your own business and want to determine what to charge your clients (supposed this is time-based).