Mindful time use with Time Heatmap

In Web Historian the Time Heatmap can help you understand how you are using your time online. You can see the time and day of the week when you tend to use the web more heavily, and delve in to see which sites you were visiting at particular times with a right-click. This could help you track your time for client work, or assess how you spent your own time. Unlike other tools, Web Historian can go back in time (up to 90 days), since it doesn’t create data, it just requests access to data that is already in your web browser.

In my own case, I decided to look at my browsing over the past 12 weeks by selecting “All 12 Weeks” on the dropdown menu. You may see fewer weeks if you have cleared your browsing history. I see a peek of high usage at 9pm on Mondays. Since I am looking for an overall pattern I right-click the Monday 9pm cell and choose “View in Web Visits.”

Clicking “View in Web Visits” brings me to this view of the data that is only from the chosen time:

I see Google Docs dominates, and YouTube is second largest. This makes sense since I use Google slides when I teach, and I often use YouTube videos to illustrate key points and keep lectures interesting. I had two classes starting early on Tuesdays this semester. I don’t think it is a good pattern to finish my slides at the last minute, although it’s bound to happen occasionally. Viewing this pattern helped me realize that I want to distribute this work better throughout the week, so I decided to make a plan to accomplish this goal.

Looking back at the 12 week pattern, I see that I occasionally used the web at very late hours of the night. There are two visits on Thursdays at 4:00am, which I can see by hovering over the cell.

I’m interested in the details, so I right-click and this time I select “View in Data Table.”

I see that I was viewing the conference program for the conference I was attending in Berlin, Germany at the time, as well as a Google document (probably my presentation for the conference). Web visit data is stored in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and displayed in the current local time zone, which for me is US East Coast time, so it makes sense that my browsing when I was in Germany would look to be at odd hours.

In general, when exploring the Time Heatmap “View in Web Visits” will provide an overview, while “View in Data Table” gives more detailed information.

There are more ways to explore time use in Web Historian, stay tuned for future posts!

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