Have you ever had one of those days where you were busy all day? You moved from one item to the next, dealt with interruptions and was able to get a lot of work done. Problem is, you look down at your timesheet and it is almost blank. You try to reconstruct your day but all you can really come up with is about 5 hours when you know you were busy for 8. Where did that time go?
Entering your time immediately after you finish each task is the way to go. We all know that. The problem is that this is not always realistic. Emails are pouring in, you are switching between applications and you get into a rhythm as you do things. Entering your time breaks that rhythm. Many legal billing applications have timers – PCLaw and PracticeMaster have very good ones. These work but you still have to start each time entry and classify it at the beginning when you start timing it. This helps but, at least for me, it does not completely solve the problem.
Enter Chrometa (http://www.chrometa.com). For a small monthly fee, Chrometa monitors my computer. It determines which window is active and automatically records the time I spend in that window. It uses information from the active program to specifically identify that time. For example, if I write an email to my Lawtopia partner Carol Schlein with the subject line “Chrometa Is Really Awesome,” Chrometa will record how much time I spent on that specific email. Same for documents (where it uses the document name) and Internet browsing (where it records the site and time spent on it). Periodically, everything is sent to Chrometa where I can view all of my time. I can even switch computers although I have to remember to pause Chrometa on the computer I am leaving or it will record me as away.
At the end of the day, I log in to my Chrometa account and all of my time is there. From there I can check which items belong to specific clients. If, for example, I worked on an email and reviewed a document for a client, I simply check both entries and assign them to that client. I can annotate the entry before I assign them. Once everything is assigned, I can export a report to Excel that groups all of my time by client. Chrometa also has built in exports to several legal billing systems as well as .csv for exporting to just about anything. I will cover those in another post.
Chrometa is a very useful tool. It does not replace my billing system but it compliments it very nicely. I spend most of my time at my computer and Chrometa helps me keep an accurate record of everything I do. It also allows me get things done without the immediate need to stop and record it. Now I know where my time is going.Billing, chrometa