Thank you to Bellefield Systems, the creator of iTimeKeep, for sponsoring iPhone J.D. again this month. I cannot think of a better time of year to use a product like iTimeKeep. It is the start of Summer, and whether you are headed to the beach for a vacation, traveling with your family for a roadtrip, or just spending more time enjoy the sunshine, you are more likely to be out of your office for the next few months. But being out of the office doesn't always mean being away from work. Opposing counsel may email you a new motion, requiring you to send a note to your client with an update. Or maybe you need to handle a quick phone call on one of your matters. With iTimeKeep on your iPhone, time entry is fast, simple, and accessible. When it is easy to enter your time immediately after you finish a task, you are far less likely to forget to record your time entries.
Forgetting to record a few 0.1 or 0.2 time entries may not seem like a big deal, but over three months of Summer it can really add up. This time that would have otherwise been lost is what Bellefield refers to as invisible time. With the iTimeKeep app on your iPhone — which is likely with you all the time — you can enter your time contemporaneously and before you forget about it. As soon as you enter time, the app quickly talks to your firm's time management system so that the activity is officially recorded. By using your iPhone to record your time entries at the time that you do the work, you don't have to worry about losing time that you forgot about as you try to reconstruct your activities at a later time.
Contemporaneous time entry is good for another reason. It is much easier to keep track of what you are doing while you are doing it than it is to try to reconstruct your time entries at the end of the day (or on a subsequent day). We've all been there before — you are doing your time entries at the end of the day, and you find yourself staring blankly as you try to remember what it was that you worked on in the morning. Eventually it may come to you, but you are wasting your own (non-billable) time as you attempt to remember what you did. If you instead enter your time as you are doing tasks, you save yourself the agony of reconstructing your day. And because iTimeKeep makes it so easy to keep track of your time contemporaneously, over time you will find that you do it more and more.
I started using this app in my own law practice last year, and I posted a comprehensive review in August. I have used this app on more occasions that I can remember to record my time when I am out of the office, time that I might have otherwise forgotten about. Thus, the app has helped me to get paid for the work that I am actually doing, plus it ensures that my timesheets accurately reflect all of the work that I am doing for my clients.
iTimeKeep validates your time against client billing guidelines, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to add a needed issue or task code for a file, or entering time in 0.1 increments when the client requires 0.25 entries. And you can use built-in timers to keep track of precisely how long you spend working on a task.
What surprised me about iTimeKeep is that it isn't just a tool for avoiding missed time entries. It is also a fantastic tool to use every day for recording all of your time. The iTimeKeep interface is so incredibly well-designed and fast to use that I often prefer using iTimeKeep over the interface for my law firm's time entry software. And fortunately, it doesn't matter which one I use — time that I enter in iTimeKeep shows up on my firm system, and time that I enter in my firm's system shows up in iTimeKeep if I have to go back and edit an entry.
iTimeKeep is not just a product for your iPhone (and iPad and Apple Watch, and even Android). You can also use iTimeKeep on your computer via a secure website interface. When I am in my office on my PC and at home on my Mac, the fastest way for me to enter time is using iTimeKeep in a web browser. With the web interface and the iPhone and iPad apps, it is very rare for a day to go by when I haven't used iTimeKeep at least once.
Speaking of the interface, iTimeKeep just rolled out several new changes to iTimeKeep desktop to further enhance the experience for attorneys. iTimeKeep offers something called “One Experience Timekeeping,” which means that the way you enter time is the same whether you are on a mobile device or at your desk, entering time from your desktop. This seamless approach to timekeeping is designed to allow you to conduct timekeeping on your terms, the way that you work. I've been using the new desktop interface almost every day since it debuted, and I'm a big fan; it makes it even faster and easier to enter time.
No attorney enjoys time entry, but it is a necessary part of the practice of law for most of us. With iTimeKeep, you significantly reduce the friction associated with entering your time, especially when you record it contemporaneous with performing the work for your client. Thank you to Bellefield for sponsoring iPhone J.D. again this month, and thank you for creating this perfect example of an iPhone app that greatly improves the practice of law for attorneys.