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Faster Clio Integration

New Clio Integration

If you’re using Clio for your practice management, integrating Clio with Chrometa streamlines your workflow. The new Clio API is faster, more secure and adds automatic sync with Chrometa thanks to many new useful features like Webhooks, Bulk Actions.

If you’re not yet familiar with Clio, Clio is a practice management system that offers all you need to run a law practice from intake to invoice, with powerful tools to manage cases, clients, documents, bills, calendars reporting, and accounting. Integrating Chrometa with Clio will automatically build your Clio Timesheet.

Clio’s new features that you can directly use from Chrometa include Webhooks and Bulk Actions. With these, syncing is done in real time and is faster; only new and updated matters are imported or updated in Chrometa.

From Account > Integrations, click on Connect under Clio:

 

Connect to Chrometa to Clio

In Clio, allow Chrometa to access Clio data:

Allow Clio Chrometa Integration

 

Localizing Chrometa

Tracking in Greek is so easy!

…said no one ever.

This week, we launched Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek and Arabic localization in Chrometa. Our Windows and Mac trackers can now record time spent working on documents in these  languages. Documents can be Word docs, Excel files, websites, emails form Outlook, Gmail and many other apps

Tracking Time in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…
Tracking Time in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…

Chrometa in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…

We also upgraded our clients/projects and rules engines to [link] to allow clients, projects and keywords in different locales.

Clients in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…
Clients in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…

 

Your Invoices and Timesheets can be localized 100% in your desired language

 

Rules in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…
Rules in Chinese, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Thai…

Grab our latest versions for Windows and Mac to track in all languages

New features and improvements are being introduced all the time to make your tracking with Chrometa more accurate, faster and easier to use. To find out more about what is contained in each release, subscribe to feeds from this category.

 

 

 

The Effective Executive

Chrometa Effective Executive review

                                                                          Be effective, not busy!

What sounds like the memorable “Don’t think! Feel!” Bruce Lee line is actually the main lesson from Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive. I recently read this classic after finding out it was the number one book recommendation by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Feel!, don't think!

The book is concise and starts with the good news: effectiveness can be learned.
In it, Drucker explains that in his forty-five years of experience he has never seen a natural effective leader or executive. Effectiveness is a skill and we learn it the same way we learn any skill: practice, practice and practice some more. He even lays out the five habits we need to acquire to become more effective.

Habit number one: “Know thy time”

Our most valuable asset is time. Almost anything that is lost can be gained back: money, friendships, health… Once we lose time, it’s gone forever; so, we must learn to optimize it. Drucker lays out the three time management principles: Track, Manage and Consolidate.
Contrary to popular belief, we must track before planning. Tracking our time will reveal the time wasting activities, all those periods of time when we’re not in “Deep Work”mode (another great book by Cal Newport, by the way), checking our emails for the 10th time, toggling between the draft document we have to send and the latest headline from our favorite news website….
At this point I can’t help mentioning Chrometa!
Chrometa will do just that: give you insight on what you and your team are actually doing, shed light on the billable work while also showing an unbiased tally of distractions.

Feel!, don't think!

Distraction is unfortunately the norm, not the exception. According to this survey, the average worker wastes up to three hours a day. That’s 759 hours each year!
This is not only affecting business revenue but also employee motivation, which has a cost in the long run.
Once we have a clear picture of our time, we need to find out how to better manage it. This starts with eliminating all the time wasters.  In the words of Tai Lopez: “Double down on what works, crush what doesn’t!”
And finally consolidate: we must create large time blocks during which we focus on one single activity, which is what Drucker calls “deep work”. I was actually surprised to find out that Drucker recommends half a day to two weeks of deep work. Then I remembered that my most productive days are those when I worked on one thing only, until completion.

 

Habit number two: “What can I contribute?”

To be effective, we must ask ourselves: what should we be effective at? What is expected from us in our job, by our customers, coworkers or hierarchy? And how are our actions going to benefit others? Answering these questions helps us define the “why” of business strategy:
How are we adding value to our customers?
How are we keeping our employees motivated, happy and productive?
How are we increasing the owner’s return on investment?

 

Habit number three: “Making Strength Productive”

Abraham Lincoln famously said that “if the only weakness of General Grant is him drinking then I will gladly send him a case of his favorite drink, just as long as he keeps on winning”. In today’s world, this translates into assigning the most qualified person to each position. Rather than trying to minimize any weaknesses among our teams, we should maximize the existing strengths until all weaknesses become irrelevant.

Lincoln Grant Drink

Obviously there are some weaknesses that need to be addressed, chief among them are the lack of integrity and character.
 

Habit number four: “First Things First”

This habit is so powerful that Stephen Covet mentions it in his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and wrote a whole book titled First Things First. It’s a simple and powerful habit: do the first things first, second things? Not at all!
To get into “Deep Work” mode during the long time chunks Drucker recommends, we need to put all our focus and energy in getting the most important thing done. It means being clear about our priorities and acting on them. This is easier said than done, but with practice and some simple tools, we can master this habit. I particularly like the “Time Management Matrix” (aka “Eisenhower Matrix”, after the 34th President of the United States who created this matrix; Stephen Covey later popularized it with “The 4 Quadrants” technique)
The general idea is to categorize your planned activities within one of the four quadrants in the illustration below.

Productivity Quadrant

QUADRANT 1 (Q1):  urgent AND important
Examples include: fire drills, deadlines, client/deal emergency, etc.
Best practice: avoid by being proactive (Q2) and manage effectively & efficiently once the Q1 event arises.
QUADRANT 3 (Q3):  urgent, time-consuming, but with no real purpose or tangible result
Q3 events typically lead to frustration, fatigue and a sense of uselessness
Examples include: email interruptions, useless reports, long-winded meetings, etc.
Best practice: avoid completely.
QUADRANT 4 (Q4): complete time-wasters
An hour spent in Q4 is an hour gone with nothing of value contributed to yourself or anyone else
Examples include: TV, gossip, social media, pointless Youtube videos
Best practice: include (for a “mental break”) but limit extensively.
QUADRANT 2 (Q2): This is where you want to spend most of your time. It’s pro-active and value-additive to yourself and your environment (work, family, social circles).
Examples include:productive work,quality time with friends and family, proactivity, meditation, working out, proper nutrition, relationship building, reading & education, creativity, etc.
Best practice: spend the vast majority of your time in Q2.
This is obviously a simplified way to categorize activities as each task could also be judged by the level of required effort, available resources (delegating work to your staff for example), complexity etc. It is good to notice thoughthat we usually spend so much time and energy in Q1 that we get burned out and seek relaxation in Q4. So next time we found ourselves in Q4, let’s quickly shift to Q2.

And finally habit number five: “Better decision making”

I dreaded reading this chapter at first. Business articles about decision-making processes tend to be complex, long and boring but this one was a nice surprise and could be summed up in three words: Less is More.
Drucker states that effective executives make fewer decisions by identifying what he calls “Boundary Conditions”. In layman’s terms it means to find the one decision that makes the rest easier or irrelevant.
Drucker relays the story of New York power outages in 1965. One night, The New York Times had to move their printing over to New Jersey. This left them with only an hour and a half to print the papers. However, just as the paper was going to press, the executive editor and his assistants began arguing about the hyphenation of a single word. This argument took 48 minutes to resolve, so, in the end, only half of the press run could be completed. While to most this seems like an egregious waste of time, the boundary conditions of the paper were: The New York Times is the standard-bearer for American English grammar. In this light, the decision was correct and aligned with the values of the organization.
What a great way to end the book: boundary conditions help us make effective decisions once (and only once) as we concentrate our energy (first things first) on making our strengths so strong we make the best contribution to our organization.
So join us here to identify your time wasters (dreaded Q4 quadrant) and take an honest look at how you and your team spend the day, plan accordingly and play on your team’s strengths to make this an effective and happy day!

Turn your correspondence with clients into billable hours

Email to Billable hours

 

Based on millions of billable hours collected by Chrometa (approaching
1 billion 🙂 ),
our research team found that email reading and writing accounts for up to a third of the total billable time.

Chrometa records time spent reading, replying and composing emails from any device, whether you are using

Outlook
,
Gmail or MacMail.

Then a rule is applied to file the email under a client or project. This is the step that we recently removed to
make timekeeping at painless as possible.

Automatic Timesheet

Clients and Projects can have email addresses and phone numbers. When you add/update and email address to a
client/project, Chrometa will automatically move time entries with the email address to the client.

Same thing applies to phone numbers, phone calls and text messages sent or received from your clients are
automatically filed under the client’s timesheet.

All this is done through an auto generated rule: For each phone number and email address, a rule is created and
applies to new entries. As with any rule, it can be
applied to past entries.

When you remove an email address, Chrometa stops moving time entries to the project

Timesheets from the past

Outlook from the past in Chrometa; Credit: slamiticon

Microsoft Outlook activity has always been a good indicator of how much time you spend working on a project or matter: the work you do on any given day is very often linked to the emails you read and compose; the meetings in Outlook calendar are time spent working for a client.

With the Chrometa add-in for Outlook, time spent on emails you are reading, composing or replying to is automatically captured.

Now what if you wanted to go back in time, i.e. before Chrometa was on your PC? Well, thanks to Outlook exports, this is now possible!

When an Outlook app – such as Outlook 2016 – is installed on your computer, you can use it to move emails, contacts, and calendar items from one email account to another. With Chrometa, you can use this export feature to create a timesheet. Here’s how:

First export Outlook items by creating a .pst file, which is an Outlook Data File that contains your messages and other Outlook items and is saved on your computer. You can select the primary Inbox or any other folder (filtered by an email address for e.g., or a date range …)

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. Click Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK.
  3. In the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog box, in the File name box, type a name for the file, and then click OK.

Select then the pst file in Chrometa: Click on “PST File”
And finally click on “Process” , your emails are now time entries in Chrometa!

To turn on automatic categorization, add email addresses to your Chrometa clients and Chrometa will assign each email to the correct client.

Chrometa App for Android: Automatic syncing is here!

Android Time is Money
Credits: http://www.technologyace.com/

As professionals, we all know how important being able to log professional calls is. After all, we spend up to 30 hours of our work time on calls and text messages each month. Considering that professionals charge an average of $150 per hour, I’ll let you do the math (yup, you are right, that’s roughly $5,000)! Those hours are hours that MUST be tracked and logged. So, with that goal in mind, we set to create a Chrometa app for Android that logged phone calls and text messages, and assigned them to the relevant clients and/or matters. And the app did just that!. The challenge, though? We needed to remember to open the app on our phones and tap the “sync phone calls” button (when we needed the calls synced with our account)! With our crazy workloads and schedules and with timekeeping often being such a tedious task, having to remember to do all that was definitely not ideal.

Worry no more! The new version of our Chrometa app for Android now automatically syncs your call and text history for you. Every two hours, your calls and texts are automatically sent to your online Chrometa account, where, as per the rules you created, they are automatically assigned to the relevant client.

If you already have the Chrometa app on your Android smartphone, simply go to the Playstore and update the app.
If you do not have the Chrometa app on your Android smartphone yet and wish to install it, go to the Playstore and search for “Chrometa”, then click on “install”.

We are pretty sure that this update will make your billing process a little easier and save you some valuable time but feel free to share your thoughts about it with us.

With the new version of our Chrometa app for Android, you don’t have to lift a finger! Well, actually, you do, but only to make a call or write a text ;)!

Buffer Time – Adding the Element of Productivity Without Compromising Its Essence

Companies thrive with productive and efficient employees—as such, they seek and hire individuals who can dance the tango.

Employees, realizing how important productivity and efficiency are to their professional growth – seem to resonate with the company’s requirement.

Together, they work to cultivate a winning company culture

But somewhere, in the rush to be more productive and efficient—do more in less time—companies and employee themselves, overwork to such an extent that eventually down the line the productivity starts to suffer.

The Rush To Do More and Its Negative Implications

In the sight to do more and do more efficiently, employees lose sight of the important—the quality of work being produced.

When the quality of work that is being produced is not up to the mark, complaints from clients and customers start rolling in. When there is a pileup of negative feedbacks, the morale suffers. When the morale suffers, employees become demotivated and disinterested. When they become demotivated and disinterested, productivity and efficiency derails.

And that’s where, buffer time can help!

What is Buffer Time?

Buffer time is a type of microbreak that is exercised in between two tasks. When one task is over, you take a break before starting the next task. The break can be utilized in any way. This allows your brain to recover from the mental exertions of the previous task, and enables you to make a successful mental transition to the next task.

That little break you take, can help you retain the quality of work

And how quality retention correlates with productivity and efficiency in the long run… well that has already been discussed.

But what about the short term?

If buffer time is consuming a portion of your work hours — which in theory implicates to less time available for work, the question is, how are you able to do more in less time?

That’s where the correct implementation of buffer time comes in.

Correct Implementation of Buffer Time

You are taking a break and yet it is adding to your productivity in short term and long term—isn’t that truly wonderful?

Well that is what correct implementation of buffer time can help you achieve. From correct implementation, we want to imply using buffer time to do productive work and yet make it feel like a break.

  • You can use buffer time to organize your workstation, check emails and address other issues that otherwise serve as a distraction for you when doing a task. The time being served and wasted in addressing a work interruption gets compensated in buffer time.

 

  • By implementing buffer time as a contingency plan, you shorten the window of completing a task and tell your brain that it needs to get the task done within that defined time window. When your brain gets told it has less time, it reprograms itself accordingly. And if there are instances when you can’t get the work done in the defined time window, you can use buffer time to complete it. This way, your productivity never suffers.

Employees and companies should strive for improved productivity and increased efficiency, but they must remember that following a work-packed schedule is not the way to do it. Every work schedule should be punctuated with microbreaks and buffer time.

Looking for a solution that can help you get the most out of your limited time at work? Try Chrometa, a passive time tracking solution, that allows you to keep record of expended time on each activity and task you perform.

Using the data, you can conveniently decide the window of buffer time to integrate within your work schedule and further optimize your time management strategies for improved productivity and increased efficiency. Start your free trial today!

You Have a Time Management Plan, But It’s Not Working – Why?

You wake up in the morning, come to work early, follow a time management plan to assist you—you’re unable to complete work—then leave for the night.

It’s clear your time management plan, strategy, mantra or whatever you call it, is NOT working!

There are times you are not able to complete your work. And at most times, you’re leaving late, despite coming in early.

So, why is your time management plan not working?

Maybe you’re making these mistakes…

Mistake #1: Multitask to Get More Work Done in Lesser Time

Forget it – it won’t work!

Multitasking means continuously switching between two tasks at the same time. When you keep switching from task A to B and B to A, you are not able to give your brain enough time to recover and adapt before moving on to the other task. Your quality of work suffers, your efficiency fails and your productivity suffers.

You see, even Mike Cannon-Brookes is against multitasking.

Mistake #2: The Time Management Plan That Does NOT Accommodate Work Breaks

Work breaks are important—not only vacations but those mini breaks that you should take frequently during working hours. Research suggests that a 17-minute break is a must for every 53 minutes of work you do.

Make space for microbreaks in your time management plan—it will do wonders for you.

Mistake #3: Focusing on the Secondary

You need to plan your day as such, so that you get the ‘real work’ done in early hours of the day. Because that is when you are most upbeat and high on energy. Leave meetings, reading and replying to emails, organizing your desk and other secondary tasks later for the day.

Mistake #4: Not Keeping Track of the Time Each Activity Takes

A successful time management plan is a simple one. It is free of complexities and free of all those activities that are not optimized for time savings. But until or unless you don’t keep track of the time each activity is taking, how are you going to eliminate the complexities and work towards optimization?

Therefore, to make your time management a success, it’s important that you track time.

Review your time management strategy, and if you find any of these mistakes being a part of it, restructure the strategy for effective execution.

Looking for a Time Tracking Tool?

Chrometa has been designed to serve as an effective time tracking solution that can be installed on any device and can be used to track time for all types of activities—including your emails. Trial it for free.

The Temporary Knock-out: That Email Just Cost You 23 Minutes!

How can you improve your time management skills?

You are busy working. You know you have to get this file ready in the next couple of hours for it to be delivered to the client, without violating the deadline.

Suddenly, something pops up on your computer screen:

It’s an email notification.

For the time being, your instincts take over.

You click on the notification to see who has sent you the email. And while you’re at it, you click on the email to open it and read its contents.

That little pop of distraction has now turned into an interruption!

Naturally, after reading the email, you’re obliged to reply to it—that is, if it’s an important email.

Soon you realize, there are other unread emails in your inbox as well.

The interruption turns into a complete—albeit temporary—dissociation from work.

And yes, in the end you were able to sort it all out, getting back to work…

… getting back to work

You don’t remember where you were.

You have been temporarily knocked out!

The Actual Cost of Workplace Distractions

Situations like these characterize our routine office life. Sometimes, these distractions are in the form of email, a call or a message on your mobile, while at other times a gentle tap on your shoulder from your colleague – asking you to join in for a 5-minute microbreak.

But the promised spans of these distractions, hardly ever prove to be so—the actual cost of workplace distractions is so much more.

In fact, according to a study conducted by a group of researchers from the University of California Irvine, the cost of a single workplace distraction amounts to a total of 23 minutes and 15 seconds on average.

This includes the time served in the corresponding activity and the time taken to recover from the after-effects of the distraction.

You had to deliver the file to your client in the next 2 hours. You are now only left with 1 hour, 36 minutes and 45 seconds.

Tips to Minimize Workplace Distractions

Obviously, you cannot eliminate workplace distractions but you can take steps to minimize them. Here are few tips:

  • Re-set your email refresh rate to at least 30 minutes. It can be varied depending on the nature of your job.
  • Keep your mobile phone at silent.
  • Maintain a microbreaks schedule and let your colleagues know about it.
  • If possible, wear headsets to keep background noise to bare minimum.
  • Use a time tracker app, like Chrometa, to monitor how much time you spend on the various daily activities. This would help you to identify the sources of distractions and then strategize accordingly.

For every employee, effective time management skills are very important to be productive and efficient at work. It also helps to keep off work related stress, thus making sure, you remain in good health.

Take that first step towards productive, efficient and work related stress free life, with our 30-day free Chrometa trial.

A Billion Dollar Advice: Effective Time Management Skills from Richard Branson et al.

As business professionals, we respect them, look up to them and some of us even worship them.

We are talking about the self-made billionaires—Richard Branson, Nathan Blecharczyk, Mike Cannon and others.

They are our inspirations

And when they say something, we listen closely. For their words serve as a billion-dollar advice.

Today, through this post, we would like to serve our readers with such golden nuggets of information—bringing you the time management tips that these successful people implement in their own lives to accomplish and excel.

So, let’s learn!

How Richard Branson Makes Most of the 1440 Minutes in a Day?

By being physically active!

Richard Branson talks about the standing and walking meetings, labelling it as one of his “favorite” tricks. In an interview to Kevin Kruse, which was later published in the book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, Richard Branson says that stand up meetings help him to get his work done more quickly. It helps him to make a faster decision.

Expanding on the established theme further, in an exclusive interview to FourHourBodyPress, Richard Branson says:

“By working out and exercise. It keeps me going, it keeps my brain functioning well and I end up achieving twice as much in a day…”

How Nathan Blecharczyk Effectively Manages His Time?

By swimming against the current—not literally!

Nathan Blecharczyk adopts a very interesting approach to managing his day to day tasks effectively and productively. He fills his calendar in a reverse order, i.e., the tasks that many of us perform in the morning—such as meetings—he reserves them for later hours in the day. This allows him to focus his early day energy in tasks that are “real work”, and get them out of the way quickly.

How Marcus Lemonis Gets Everything Done in the Space of 24 Hours?

By staying organized and prioritizing the important stuff.

Every morning when he gets up, the first thing Marcus Lemonis does is, he writes down the five most important things that he wants to get done on that particular day.  He calls it “My knockout list”.

This allows him to channel his time and efforts towards getting the most important things done for the day, and if there is any time left he then focuses on the secondary.

How Mike Cannon-Brookes Manages to Do Everything So Smoothly?

By focusing on just one task at a time.

Mike Cannon-Brookes believes that multitasking makes us less productive. In theory, this makes sense as multitasking in essence can prove to be a source of interruption. Where the practical proof is considered, Mike Cannon’s success supports the practicality of the theory.

Let’s implement!

Shape Effective Time Management Strategies with the Help of Chrometa

Chrometa allows you to automatically track the time spent by you while performing your daily activities. This way, you can remain organized, streamlined and where there is scope for time saving, you can shape effective time management strategies on the basis of generated time sheet. Start your free trial today!