RescueTime best practices

I was wondering if anyone had advice about how to best use the RescueTime integration. Specifically, I have a question about recording offline time and how to avoid the slippery slope of lying to RescueTime to get your Do More goal for the day satisfied.
I first started off using the free version of RescueTime that tracked my legitimate productive time on my computer. However, I also legitimately do a lot of offline work (lab/meetings etc), so I purchased the premium version. Unfortunately, I found myself lying to RescueTime this past weekend about whether I had worked enough hours to avoid derailment. So it seems that my options are to stick with the free version of rescue time and lower my beeminder goal or keep the premium version of RescueTime and figure out a way to keep myself from cheating. Any ideas?


I doubt that there are settings on Rescue Time that will help that. The way to keep yourself from lying is probably to realize that the slippery slope you’re talking about is less of a slippery slope, and more of a Grand-Canyonesque cliff.

Beeminder mostly relies on self-reporting. If you’re wiling to lie to it (whether through rescue time or directly) it probably won’t prove very motivating for you and it probably won’t work for you for long after that. If you consider yourself as having the “meh, I could just lie” option, it takes away it’s teeth and makes it pointless.

That’s probably the best advice with regard to cheating, actually: one of the things that makes avoiding fudging data easy is that realization; realizing that doing that would invalidate the whole thing, and you’d lose the tool by making it useless. (After all, if you’re just going to lie on every would-have-been-derailment, where will the motivation to stay on track come from?) Better to ask very little of yourself in your goal and to make an inviolable “never lie” rule if it’s going to keep the derailment fear alive in you when you need it to get you moving.

(Or did I totally misunderstand the question and this was actually about how to do intended weekends vs intended working days without fake data?)


Thanks for the advice. I had tried to set it up so that I didn’t have to manually enter any data into beeminder, but you’re right about the realization that I’d lose the tool if I cheated.

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@chipmanaged is right. Lie one time, then it’s just easier to lie another, then even easier the next time. And then the whole setup is pointless. If you don’t think you keep yourself inline then only monitor online activities for a while.
Why do you need to count meetings time anyway on Beeminder? Meetings are not exactly in your control and neither very productive.
If you have a category that reflects your core (productive) activities, you can monitor just that. For example, I have a Beeminder goal for Software Development time tracked by Rescue Time.


See also Combatting Cheating, aka “7 Reasons Not to Cheat on Beeminder” (hover over the link for a summary).


Use the derailment (or near derailment) as a part of the feedback loop and evaluate your goal and work out if you derailed because your goal was unrealistic or if you were just lazy and then adjust the road as appropriate.
I find that it’s way too easy to be over-optimistic about how much future me will be able to achieve.
If you think you should make your goal easier you probably should.