7 Habits of Highly Effective Timekeepers

Bellefield has written about the importance of timekeeping for law firms and its impact on revenue and profits, and now we would like to make our contribution to the 7 Habits ecosystem.

If you haven’t read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by best-selling author, Stephen Covey, you’ve at least heard of it. Covey sold over 20 million copies (in 38 languages!) of the famous book, which remains one of the best selling business books of all time. This inspired many other titles of the same theme – kids, marketers, programmers, and even law firm rainmakers. At this point, just about everyone is highly effective. Everyone, well, except timekeepers.

While we have blogged about the importance of timekeeping for law firms and its impact on revenue and profits, we’d like to make our contribution to the 7 Habits ecosystem.

Be Contemporaneous

Contemporaneous time entry is the cornerstone of effectiveness in timekeeping. Entering time as the task is completed prevents time-consuming and inconvenient reconstructive time entry. It also increases timekeeping accuracy, as the timekeeper is much more likely to have a realistic assessment of how long a task took to complete immediately after finishing that task.

Begin with the End Goal in Mind

Yes, timekeeping can be a bit of an annoyance when you are thinking about how to manage your caseload and win new business. That’s why it is important to understand the overall goal of keeping time. Timekeeping is important for the firm to get paid, however, it’s not just about that. Timekeeping is important for the firm’s financials and projections and sets the stage for billing accuracy, which can play into client satisfaction and loyalty.

Put Your Firm (and Its Clients) First

Your time records serve as an additional layer of communication between you and your clients. When a time entry deadline is looming, lawyers can be found rolling their eyes and huffing “I don’t have time.” Not that you would be guilty of this, of course. However, it is important to honor this process for the benefit of the firm and your clients.

Adopt a Win-win Approach

When lawyers are disciplined about entering their time, it not only benefits the individual, but also the practice group and the firm. This can make a big difference to the firm’s bottom line, and it also sends a message to the firm’s management that they are valued and respected.

Teach by Example

As you begin to experience the benefits of contemporaneous time entry, don’t be shy about sharing your success with other lawyers. The more lawyers that embrace contemporaneous time entry, the better the firm’s financial performance.

Prioritize Compliance

Billing accuracy is the key to shortening payment cycles and maintaining client relationships and loyalty. However, maintaining compliance with client payment terms is best managed by the lawyer. Lawyers are empowered to control this process when they are conducting mobile time entry. When compliance is the focus, everyone wins.

Take It One Day at a Time

Shifting to contemporaneous and disciplined time entry means changing your habits. It can take time, and you might not be perfectly consistent right out of the gate. Don’t beat yourself up. Be sure to keep going and strive to do your very best, taking it one day at a time. If you fall off track, don’t give up.


Bellefield is committed to helping lawyers improve their work lives by developing innovative and intuitive applications that solve real-world challenges. Bellefield does this by identifying a problem, evaluating it from many different perspectives, and working tirelessly to create the best possible solution. Bellefield's flagship product iTimeKeep ranks #1 as the most adopted Mobile Time Entry solution for lawyers. Founded by software veterans Gabriela Isturiz, Daniel Garcia, and John Kuntz, Bellefield is an independent, privately held company headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Click here for more information.

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