What are reasonable numbers for productivity pulse?

There are several factors that can contribute to where the baseline productivity pulse lands.

Are you running RescueTime only at work? Or at work and home, or on your phone/tablet, etc.?

Many people have many different contexts for the time they track which will cause the productivity pulse to have different patterns. We don't want to push the idea that people should have a score pegged to 100 all the time. Balance is critical. 

So you could be running RescueTime on your work laptop, on a computer at home that you only use for personal reasons, on your phone, and on your Android Tablet. Your overall productivity pulse hovers around 58. But it rises and falls depending on the day or time of day. 

Are your activities well-covered by our default categorizations?

If a number of categories are showing up as "uncategorized," and you don't categorize them, your productivity pulse will fall more towards the absolute middle of the scale (50). 

Are you customizing scores and categories?

We do our best to provide good default scores, but we cannot fit everyone's situation perfectly. A great example of this is the person who works in marketing who spends a lot of time on Facebook for their job. That would fall outside the criteria on which we base our default scores. If someone didn't update their scores to reflect this, their productivity pulse would have a much different baseline. 

How are you scoring your activities?

The productivity pulse is based on a value judgement by the user (or by our defaults) of how productive that activity is. It is something that tends to be very different from person to person. A great example is email. Many people consider email productive, as it is work. But email is the number one distracting activity in a work environment, and unfortunately necessary. 

So does this mean that the productivity pulse is meaningless?
No. It's an excellent tool for understanding your patterns and getting you to think about how you're spending your time. It's also a great motivator for the times that you want to be productive. For instance, the productivity pulse for the time you might spend on nights and weekends isn't much more than interesting trivia. But if you filter that time to just "Monday-Friday 6am-8pm" you would get a better sense of what your working productivity pulse is.
The other place where it comes in handy is with the use of our "daytimer" widgets. You can open the productivity pulse day timer and leave it open on a second monitor to give yourself a live-updating view of how your productivity pulse is changing. When you are actively trying to stay focused and get work done, you know you are doing a good job if the number rises. The browser plugin for Chrome or Firefox makes something similar possible if you don't have the dedicated screen real estate available for the day timer window.
The other really interesting way to use the productivity pulse is as a baseline that you can measure results of other productivity efforts against. For instance, try limiting your email to a single daily session, as opposed to checking it repeatedly throughout the day. Many people report considerable boosts in productivity by doing that. The productivity pulse gives you a number you can go back and compare to see if there was a difference for you personally.

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