The first step to increasing personal productivity is to understand how you spend your time. Tracking and reviewing your time on a regular basis will provide insight as to what you spend too much time on, where you should be focusing more effort, and how you can adjust your schedule to be more productive.
Time Tracking Software
Whether you bill clients by the hour or through another fee arrangement, track your time at work - all of your time, not just casework. There are several time measurement and time management tools available for download.
Daily – Daily is an application available in the Mac App Store. The application installs itself in your computer’s toolbar and allows you to track everything you do on your machine each day. It even reminds you to log your activities throughout the day without being jarring. Daily provides printable daily, weekly, monthly, and annual reports breaking down your workday computer usage. Unfortunately, there is not a mobile version of the application to continue your workday monitoring across your mobile devices.
Harvest – Harvest a user-friendly time tracking and billing platforms that not only tracks your time throughout the day, but also sends out invoices. Harvest is a web-based service with a corresponding mobile app that allows you to track your time on the go.
Hours Keeper Pro & ATracker – Both are fairly robust mobile time tracking applications with no web versions. Hours Keeper includes a billing component and ATracker has a lite, free version. If you often work on the road, and mobile functionality is the most comfortable option for you, be sure to check out these two apps.
Monitoring Your Time Offline
While the applications mentioned above will automatically track your computer usage and time spent on your machine and on the clock, you will also need to manually enter your work time spent offline. Track your time honestly, including everything you do during your workday - the time you spend getting your morning coffee, your lunch breaks, all of it. After tracking your time for at least a week, review each day. Do you spend too much time in the morning reading blog posts or the news? Are you spending too much time performing administrative tasks, editing documents, or standing at the scanner? If so, reconsider your workday, workload, and your need for staff assistance.
As with so many things we have discussed on our blog, the more specifically you can track your day, the more detailed reporting metrics you can provide yourself. View the potential annoyance of monitoring your every move as a way to gain greater control of how you spend your time. Knowing and analyzing your workday metrics will help increase your productivity exponentially. If you want to increase the efficiency and productivity of your law firm, I’m here to help you create a lean, mean law firm.