Tracking Procrastination

It might just be me, but I think I have cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would want to know how much time they are spending in each activity on their computer.

I recently came across a couple of software programs that claim to help its users to improve their productivity by tracking the amount of time they spend in each Windows program. The latest one I found, ProcrastiTracker, is a case in point.

The tagline on the page I discovered says that “Spying on yourself Was Never this Much Fun!”

Essentially the program produces a chart that shows how much time is spent on each program. With this simple tool, the user is supposed to (I guess) determine that they need a better balance between Excel and Word, or between Firefox and Outlook.

Unfortunately, when the phone rings, all bets are off, as the system only records that the user is “idle.”

This program strikes me as one of those “tools” that was invented and never actually used by its programmers. These kinds of tools are easy to devise with the languages and skills that are available today, but they do little to actually improve our productivity. In my manifesto I called for users to “Focus on the Fundamentals, and Toss Away the Tips.” I also should have said, “Toss away the nifty tools”… such as this one.

If am terribly wrong about this, would someone please shed some much-needed light?