How much time do you spend fluffing pillows, making coffee, fiddling with the thermostat, or otherwise distracting yourself when you're supposed to be working?
A new machine designed by students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design will tell you.
The SideTracker helps you track your procrastination in a highly visual way. The creators describe the tool:
The Sidetrack table peripherally records you as you work in the home, tracing a pattern as you move from space to space. Marker pens plot this pattern as the table spins, oscillating in time with your movement between rooms. Sensors are placed in the areas you want to observe, for example the desk or the kitchen. By placing tags on the table, you purposefully work towards set tasks, with the patterns reflecting the journey towards these objectives. In this way, giving value to the intangible effort and pockets of time you devote whilst working from home.
A small triangular "presence sensor," placed strategically around your home and workspace, watches you, then communicates your movements to the SideTracker, which was built using a parts from an old printer and turntable.
Although the SideTracker is just a concept, there are a growing number of tech tools designed to track workers' productivity. For example, one company has developed an accelerometer that could be installed in employees' cell phones to spy on their activities and see whether or not they're working.