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The Habits of the Best Timekeepers and What Your Firm Can Learn

Posted by Gaby Isturiz on November 9, 2017 at 6:14 PM

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We’ve talked quite a bit about habits on this blog. Without positive habits, we would not be able to carry out the “good behaviors” that make us productive and efficient in our day-to-day lives. Of course, establishing new habits is not always easy - in fact, it can take a lot of work.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit discussed the formation of habits with NPR, which takes place within a three-part psychological pattern referred to as a “habit loop:”

  1. Cue/trigger - message to your brain to perform a behavior
  2. Routine - the behavior taking place
  3. Reward - a positive memory about the behavior that can be used to trigger the habit loop in the future

After time, Duhigg says, the habits become automatic, "In fact, the brain starts working less and less," says Duhigg. "The brain can almost completely shut down. ... And this is a real advantage, because it means you have all of this mental activity you can devote to something else."

Today’s best timekeepers have mastered habit formation around mobile time entry. In this post, we’ll outline some of the common habits and key characteristics of high-performing timekeepers.

#1: They value their time.

In order to form and keep a new habit, it is helpful to have a compelling reason why that habit is necessary in your life. The best timekeepers understand the value of their time and connect their timekeeping behavior with the ability to charge what they are worth (based on work performed) and spend time doing the things that are most important to them by avoiding administrative messiness like reconstructive time entry.

#2: They are role models.

The best timekeepers don’t just “talk the talk,” they “walk the walk.” Many top performing users of iTimeKeep are at the partner level, which of course means that they are leaders within the firm as well as timekeepers. They not only practice contemporaneous, but they set an example for others to do the same.

#3: They enter their own time.

Rather than relying on the outdated practice of having administrative assistants to enter their time, high-performing timekeepers enter their own time contemporaneously. This not only allows the timekeeper to increase the accuracy of billable time, it makes it more likely to capture time in smaller increments (thus preventing the loss of invisible time) and ensures that time entries adhere to client billing guidelines.

#4: They are always keeping time contemporaneously.

The most effective timekeepers are always connected to their mobile timekeeping software, whether via their desktop computer, tablet, mobile phone or smartwatch. They understand that anywhere timekeeping means using an app that allows for time entry on a variety of devices and choose their device depending on how and where they are recording their time at any given moment. They favor solutions that allow them to do this securely, simply and in real time.  

#5: They’ve identified an optimal workflow and they stick to it.

They have a method or workflow that delivers for them and they practice it every day. The optimal workflow depends on the timekeeper - there is no right or wrong answer (other than to practice contemporaneous time entry). The best timekeepers have identified the best way to work and they make it work for them.

#6: They keep tabs on their timekeeping performance.

Not only do top timekeepers prioritize contemporaneous time entry, they also keep track of their timekeeping performance in real-time in order to have an ongoing understanding of their progress in terms of minimum and maximum billable hours and other important timekeeping metrics.

#7: They discourage reconstructive time entry.

They understand that reconstructing time is not only a poor practice but also not what the client deserves because reconstructive time entry means that accuracy in time records is suffering. All forms of reconstructive time entry should be avoided, such as automated time entry solutions, which further encourage procrastination and bad habits leading to more hours spent keeping time records and less accuracy for the client.

What are the habits or characteristics that you have noticed in your top timekeepers? Share your comments below.

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