Habit update 6 – code everyday

My coding habit has been going well, coding for at least 1 hour a day, partly due to a certain software I have been using.

There’s this productivity software called RescueTime. And as its name suggests, it really has rescued me from the demons of productivity, namely Facebook, YouTube, the news, etc. I had the non-premium version for a while, since April 2014. But just recently, on Halloween, I opted to pay for their premium version, especially since they had a discount for $54/year, down from $72, which is huge for a debt-ridden student like me.

I also started applying what I learned. For example, RescueTime has this great (premium) feature called Get Focused. Basically, it blocks all your very distracting websites (which it categorizes, and you can add onto the list and change things) for as long as you want your focused session to be.

Since the pomodoro technique worked wonders for me, I usually stick with 25-30 min. focused sessions. They’re fantastic. I also like the way that when you accidentally (or even deliberately) go to a distracting website, like Facebook for example, it’ll block you from there, and also say how many times it’s blocked you from that site this week. I think last week RescueTime blocked me a good 11 times! And every single time, I’m thankful and remind myself that I need to stay focused and focus on the task at hand.

Basically, what ends up happening is the snowball effect, from the 2-minute rule, which was something I said I learned from my last post. When I just start working on something, I notice that I’ll stay focused on it, and then even when the session ends, I’ll still be staying on the task, not wanting to get away from it. It’s that powerful, which shows that essentially you need willpower for getting started, and the momentum will power you through.

RescueTime’s goals feature is also really cool and helpful. Just as I was about to power down my laptop, a bit frustrated that I had wasted time doing other things, I saw that I was still 30 min. away from my goal “5 hours of all productive time”. Not only that, but I had already missed my goal of “no more than 2 hours of distracting time”, going over by 3 min. Well I couldn’t just let that slide, so I pulled up Sublime Text, cranked out some code & web design, kept going without noticing the time, and then I got a notification that my 30 min session ended and I reached my goal too! Yet, I kept going for another 10 min., and then decided I needed the sleep too.

I’ve become more conscious of my time with RescueTime, which in turn has helped me identify where I waste time, certain habits that I could eliminate (like checking email and Slack updates first thing in the morning), and given me motivation and the opportunity to learn from the past by letting me set daily highlights, goals, etc.

Now, I do want to clarify that I’m not a RescueTime ambassador, nor am I in any way affiliated with them. I’m just sharing my experience with their product, after it’s helped me a lot, with the hopes that it will help many others too. I was never the biggest fan of paying for premium services, always looking for free services/trials, like Gmail, Mint, Do, Pocket, Evernote, Slack, Google Drive & Dropbox’s free space, Apple Music’s 3-month free trial, etc. But that’s changed to some extent, and I now find that paying a small fee for these services pays off in the long run. My time has become increasingly important to me, and as I truly care about maximizing it, I have decided to invest in it. And turns out, it has already paid itself.

So far:

  • Total: 35/38 days
  • Current streak: 18 days (just broken!) 🔥
  • Longest streak: 18 days
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