Do you know how you spend time on the computer? How much time you spend using apps, which websites you visit, and how work and non-related activities stand in relation?
A time-tracking program can help you find that out, and if you let it, also control what you may access and for how long.
Seriousd is a free time-tracking app for the Windows operating system that works right out of the box. The program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, SQL Compact 4.0 and VC++ Redist 2013, and includes them in the installer.
It will install the programs on the system during installation if they are not already installed.
The program itself displays a widget on the screen that you can move around. The widget displays all open apps sorted by length of activity.
It picks up the process names of active windows and bases its decision on that. I'm currently writing this review in Firefox and it is recording the time in minutes and hours that I'm using the browser.
A switch to Google Chrome starts to record time for the browser instead and puts a stop to the recording of Firefox's time. While it is reasonable to do, it means that it is possible to cheat by running two windows on the system.
A simple example is to run a video in VLC Media Player and activate another window to make it the active window afterwards.
While cheating may work, it does not really make sense to do so as you are cheating yourself. Plus, the program records system sounds in addition to whatever window is active.
There is more to the program though than the recording of system processes. It offers various statistics about the applications that you have run on your system.
A click on Live View for example displays various stats about application switches, keyboard/mouse ratios, and the correlation between application switches and keyboard/mouse ratios on the system.
Timeline view on the other hand displays a timeline of the processes that are running on the system that is refreshing automatically.
You can go back to a specific data using the view as well.
The activity history finally is the applications core feature. The listing is sorted by time as well, but instead of just seeing the processes run it is also displaying individual page titles in the window.
Want to know exactly which websites you have visited in Firefox or Chrome, which videos you played in VLC Media Player or the music you have listened to in AIMP?
The program displays all of those information in the activity window and displays the time of each title as well here.
You can set up rules here based on processes and window titles. Just right-click a window title here or a process name and select the rules option that appears in the context menu.
There are two types of rules. You can allow a process to run for a specific amount of time which gets reset based on your preferences, e.g. every 12 hours, or simply reduce it to 0 seconds if you do not want it to run at all.
If a process or window title exceeds the allowed time, a full screen reminder is displayed on the screen that you need to click away. The process or tab is not deleted or killed, but whenever you switch to it, the full screen information is displayed again.
Nothing is stopping you from adjusting the time, or simply killing the tracking application, but that is cheating again.
The program ships with a set of rules by default. It restricts Steam for instance to 1:35 hours, and both Internet Explorer and Firefox when it comes to YouTube and Facebook.
Seriousd is a powerful time-tracking application for Windows. What I like about it the most is that it will keep track of all window titles and not only of processes that you run on the system.
I'd wish it would also keep track of background processes, or give you the option to track select ones at the very least.
The rules are self-restricting and can help you spend less time on time-sinks such as Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and other sites on the Internet.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.