I’ve spent more time this year than probably in any other thinking about lawyer productivity. One of the recent software developments has been improved time tracking. In fact, this software is not designed primarily for lawyers but seems to have come from the freelance, self-employed world of creative types. It can be a great tool for lawyers who are trying to figure out where their time goes. I wrote an article comparing three products in the October 2009 Law Technology News.
You can read the article, entitled Tech Turbulence: Lost in Time, here (local copy) where I compare Chrometa, NesterSoft’s Worktime, and Black Hills Software’s TimeSprite. There are other similar products, all of which perform the same basic function. They start when your computer does, and they track every application you use. These are not security or monitoring tools, which might look at each keystroke you type.
It was interesting to see the different features each developer valued or thought a user would want. Chrometa was buggy when I installed it but the customer support team was very responsive – even without knowing I was evaluating it for the article – and an update was soon released to fix the problem.
From a productivity standpoint, it would seem to me that any knowledge worker – lawyer, paralegal, librarian, developer – or creative type could benefit from using one of these applications even temporarily. After a few weeks, patterns might emerge that show you where you can make productivity gains by shifting how and when you do certain work.