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The Several Advantages of Contemporaneous Time Entry

The dictionary defines contemporaneous as occurring, originating or existing in the same time period. Thus, contemporaneous time recording can be said to be when time is recorded as a task or job is being completed. Contemporaneous time recording within the legal industry was not feasible, or even possible until recently. This is essentially due to the fact that time recording was restricted to the office. Most attorneys could not adopt contemporaneous time entry because they are constantly on the go. They spend a large portion of their working time attending to court dates, or meeting with clients.

Nevertheless, in recent times, mobile devices such as smartphones have altered the way lawyers perform their duties. With these devices, attorneys can do more work while on the go. They allow legal experts to record their time as each task, phone call or client meeting is completed. They do this by recording or dictating time into an app in their mobile devices.

Contemporaneous time recording is not the same as reconstructive time entry. In reconstructive time entry, time is computed utilizing historical data like phone logs, emails, and calendars. Nevertheless, recent investigations indicate that compared to contemporaneous time recording, reconstructive time entry is less precise and takes a lot more time to finish. This article will highlight the numerous advantages of contemporaneous time recording.

Contemporaneous Time Entry Advantages

  • With this type of time entry, you can work however or wherever you want to. Whether you are catching up on your emails while traveling in a train, or holding a meeting in an eatery, you can still record the time. The great thing about mobile time recording is that it goes with you wherever you go. As you make the most of available bits of time in different places to accomplish tasks, you can record the time immediately. As you go through your day, you can effectively manage time entry, instead of it being an additional task you have to bother about.
  • By adopting contemporaneous time entry, you can save a great deal of time. If you have ever done reconstructive time entry, then you know that it can be a real hassle. Browsing your outlook calendar, digging through phone logs and emails is hectic and wearisome, particularly when you have several other important tasks to accomplish.
  • Contemporaneous time recording will make you more precise with timekeeping, and that can help increase your earnings. If you record time contemporaneously, you can easily remember the quantity of time it took to complete a particular task. As time elapses, you may have to guess or estimate the quantity of time it took to finish that task. A recent study suggests that legal professionals who record time monthly can lose as much as 60% of their time. Not billing this amount of time can cause you to lose a great deal of money in a year. Conversely, lawyers that record time contemporaneously typically make twenty to fifty percent higher revenues compared to attorneys that do not.

Tips to Develop the Habit of Keeping Time Contemporaneously

1. Start small:

When trying to adopt the habit of keeping time contemporaneously, the first thing you need to do is make a pledge to record your time every fifteen minutes or whenever you start doing a different task. Regardless of the recording method you adopt – utilizing software timers, filling out a time sheet, entering time into your time entry device, or making handwritten notes, taking note of the work you’ve done in little increments is the initial big step to more effective timekeeping.

2. Expect shortcomings:

There are days when you will forget to record the time it took to complete certain tasks. On such days, rather than quitting for the remainder of the day merely because you “messed up”, just start keeping time again once you notice you are off course. Your time recording will be more precise if you only need to reconstruct three lost hours, instead of those three hours plus the remainder of your time for that day.

3. Use aide memoires

Once you start contemporaneous time recording, make a little alteration in your office surrounding. For example, you can move an important item (such as your computer, a clock, or phone) to a different location, so that the alteration will help you remember that there is something new. Also, you can leave sticky notes in your office reminding you to enter your time. These sticky notes should be placed in visible areas such as your computer screen.

4. Find ways to remain motivated

On days that you fail to record time contemporaneously, take note of the length of time it takes to reconstruct the time. Apart from the likelihood that reconstructed time will be imprecise, it takes a lot more time to reconstruct the quantity of time you spent, compared to spending a couple of seconds or minutes before and after each task to record the present time. In addition, reconstructing the time you spent means that you will either overcharge your client or short-change yourself. Thinking about how inaccurate and inefficient the process is will serve as a motivator to enhance your time keeping.

5. Keep reminding yourself that contemporaneous timekeeping is your best option

Many legal professionals regard timekeeping an indispensable evil, or merely an administrative task that allows them to earn some money. From time to time, remind yourself that it will be difficult for your firm to prepare timely bills which your clients will likely pay without objection.  Furthermore, you will appreciate the importance of accurate timekeeping by realizing the value of knowing precisely how you expend your professional time. If you are able to accurately evaluate how you spend your working hours, it will be easier for you to assess your time use options and decide whether the choices you have made are in harmony with your immediate and long term objectives. Always remember that law firms that keep time contemporaneously typically generate 50% higher revenues compared to firms that utilize reconstructive time entry.

How to Avoid Time tracking pitfalls

It is not always simple to keep the resolutions you make or the goals you set. You will have an excellent chance of reaching your goals consistently, if you can avoid certain drawbacks, or even better, be prepared to tackle them. Presented below are a few time tracking pitfalls you should avoid.

1. Not having an hourly action plan:

You should consider utilizing a time template to block out time during the day for returning calls, answering emails, meeting with individuals in the office, and so forth.

2. No plan of action for each day:

Make sure you have a schedule for each day. It does not necessarily have to be a rigid schedule, but one that ensures that your work time will not be interrupted.

3. Do not let email control your day:

Email can cause a lot of disruption to your everyday activities, except if you choose not to allow it. Many attorneys work with their email programs open, waiting to see a window pop up informing them of the arrival of a new message. Such individuals typically stop whatever they are doing, log into their email program, read the mail, and perhaps send a reply, and then return to their previous activity. You can save a great deal of time by checking your email five times daily, or every four hours, rather than responding whenever you receive an email in your inbox.

Remember: once you notice that you’ve gotten off course with your contemporaneous timekeeping, get back on. Do not wait until next week or wait till tomorrow.

Sources

http://www.bellefield.com/articles/what-is-contemporaneous-time-entry

http://apps.americanbar.org/lpm/lpt/articles/bot03071.shtml

http://www.lawfirmfinanceblog.com/

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