I’m trying out RescueTime, a free service that basically breaks down time use on your computer. Here’s today’s distribution of time over my tags:
(You can, in theory, embed a script that will update dynamically and all that Web 2.0 stuff, but I think wordpress.com is stripping out all the relevant code. So you get a JPEG. Sorry.)
It’s definitely interesting to look at the graphs, and it’ll also be interesting (and probably mortifying) to have a real sense for how much time I waste on the computer. (I’m also anxious to know whether having the analytics will work as a motivator. My guess is no, on the theory that most things don’t, but we’ll see.)
The main problem I have so far is that I use the same program (TextWrangler) both for coding and writing, tasks I’d really prefer to separate. I could get a good approximation of this behavior if I could assign time on all “.m” files to coding and all “.txt” files to writing, but as far as I can tell I can’t do that — and even if I could, it’s only luck that it would work. Alternatively, I could start coding Matlab in the native editor, now that I have it on my machine… but it seems a little perverse to modify my behavior just to make the analytics shake out more easily. On the up side, the native editor has better syntax highlighting, since TextWrangler doesn’t really know Matlab syntax. So maybe this is more a case of analytics doing what they’re supposed to do, i.e., showing you what you’re doing wrong — in this case, programming in a proprietary language with no good IDE.
Be it resolved: I will do my postdoc in Python.