Billable hour question: is anyone else just completely incapable of keeping up with your time? I’ve been an attorney for 3 years now and tried everything I can think of to figure this out but I just can’t do it. It’s the same thing at the end of every month - staying up late entering in an entire month of time. Luckily most clients I work for are flat fee/percentage based but I still feel like a failure for not being able to do this thing that seemingly every other lawyer can do. Any tips?

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I'm a 7th year and still just can't seem to do it. But it's like a lot of the adhd coping mechanisms.... I'm not stupid, I know what they are and that they would help, I just can't. Make. Myself. Do them. No matter how much self inflicted agony there is.

In part I'm sure it's anxiety/insecurity about numerically proving to myself that I can't do this job from a productivity standpoint. I feel like I'm really good at the substantive stuff that I do... I'm just not good at doing it 7 hrs a day, every day.

Which I guess is why my timesheet is usually more like 2 hrs, then 12 hrs, then 4 hrs, 15 hrs, 5 hrs, etc...

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AA2 - I used to literally make myself sick every month with anxiety over reconstructing my time. Monthly deadlines are torture. I'm now weekly and it's definitely better, maybe you have a staff member who would be willing to email you every week demanding your weekly total?

My current motivation to keep up *daily* is that I calculated how many hours I have to bill per week to qualify for my bonus, and it's not good, bordering on arguably impossible. If I get to the end of a week *thinking* I hit target and I'm wrong (which is very likely considering, you know, my brain doesn't acknowledge time passing), I'm fucked. I cannot let it get away from me again and am actually caught up through yesterday... Send me good vibes for the rest of this week and I'll do the same for you 🤪

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I was the same, but during covid our firm requires us to enter time daily. I hate it but it’s helped me avoid being in this end of month boat. Hard to self impose but maybe try each week

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Also, if you are doing transactional work, mine your email at the end of each day because there is probably a lot of time there.

I still do paper notes (that I scan in) when I talk to a client on the phone, too. So, at the end of the day I can double check to make sure I entered all of those in.

Transactional law can be tough because you bounce around from matter to matter so quickly as calls come in left and right that shift your daily priorities. So, I get it. I still struggle with this fourteen years in.

When I’m on a call on a matter, I try to open up a time entry and start entering the time while the client is saying something non-substantive. That way, at least I have something in there that I can edit later if I get pulled into something else before I can get it perfect.

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I hear you. You do what you do because your brain can handle all of those interruptions in a way others can’t. We’re like the super heroes of transactional law.

But, we need someone sitting beside us taking notes, capturing time, directing downward actions, etc. so our brains can focus on what they do best: putting out fires, calming clients and opposing counsel, deep researching something that will let us win when we get angry about some shenanigans someone is pulling, etc. I dream that someday I will be so well paid by clients that I can afford to launch myself into super woman realm and pay someone to be my co-pilot.

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I literally enter every single task I do as I go. I have no idea how anyone can not enter time immediately and know what they did. Even if it was the same day or the day before, there is no way I’d remember everything. I just keep my billing software open and as soon as I finish something, enter my time. If I have 50 emails to go through, I start with all emails regarding one case, deal with all the emails on that case before moving on to any others, and bill that client for however long that was. I also use a timer on every task/client matter I’m working on.

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Sometimes I’ll open up a prior entry and just add to it. Like if I’m prepping for a motion and get a phone call on another matter, I’ll bill say .5 for the motion prep, take the call, go back to motion prep, and then when I’m done, I’ll edit the first entry to be 1.0 instead of .5, or whatever.

Daily time entry is the best way to capture it all. My clients are flat fee, too. So there is this thought that you can spend your time capturing your non-billed out time or you can spend your time getting them through their transaction. But, if you don’t track your time then you are not showing your full worth to the company. Also, it has to be tracked so the firm can identify whether the flat fee rate continues to be on point or needs to be adjusted.

My system shows me what was charged versus what would have been made on the same case as an hourly matter. It helps me see when I need to figure out a way to try to make a case more efficient because it’s eating up so much time.

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My firm requires daily entry and without it I would probably struggle with this as well. Before that I tried to use time entry for project planning. If I don’t know how to write out what I’m about to do, I probably don’t have a clear sense of the task. Writing it out as a draft keeps me focused and grounded.

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