It may not be your favorite thing to do and it is certainly not the reason that you became an attorney, but timekeeping is an important part of gaining and maintaining your clients’ trust. The good news is that timekeeping doesn’t have to be painful or a source of stress.
In the following list, we’ve identified the 6 most important timekeeping resolutions that you should commit to this year.
Timekeeping Resolution #1: Go contemporaneous.
If you adopt just one time entry habit this year, start tracking your time contemporaneously!
Timekeeping Resolution #2: Follow the 24 hour rule.
Get your time in no later than the next day. If you are not 100% contemporaneous, set some goals to have that time entered no later than 1 or 2 days after the activity happened. The greater time that passes from an event to its recording, the less accurate your recollection of exactly how much time it took to perform the task. Accuracy takes a hit. It is worth mentioning that there is a benefit to complying with your firm’s time entry practices. After all, waiting until the last day of the month will not only create more work for you, but the process of reconstructing time will lead to inaccuracies.
Timekeeping Resolution #3: Nail down the details.
Be as detailed and specific as possible. Your timecards and billing statements provide the opportunity to communicate to the client in a detailed manner regarding the time expended and the services performed on a matter. Provide detailed task descriptions that on the specific activities performed, but also how they relate to the matter.
Timekeeping Resolution #4: Don’t hate it.
You are your outlook. If you are positive, you will feel positive and drive favorable results. The opposite is also true. Change your approach to timekeeping and avoid saying things like “I hate time entry” and “time entry is evil.” Sure, maybe it isn’t your favorite thing to do, but complaining won’t make it any more pleasant and will only make you feel worse. Why torture yourself?
Timekeeping Resolution #5: Reward yourself.
At the end of the month, take time to recognize your efforts toward improving your time entry habits. Remember, developing solid time entry practices that are contemporaneous and detailed take time, practice and the right tools. Make sure you give yourself credit for trying and recognize the improvement that you’ve made. You deserve it!
Timekeeping Resolution #6: Stay on Track.
What’s that saying about falling off of the horse and getting right back on? You are human and you might get off track with you resolutions when life gets hectic. Like your diet or your exercise program, timekeeping success depends on making a commitment to a goal and developing habits around it. If you find yourself getting off track, don’t give up - get back on!
What are your resolutions for 2014? Share them in the comments section below!