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Automated Time Tracking

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What’s new in Chrometa: April 2019

Tax season is – finally – over, it’s time now to give your business a boost. With our latest Chrometa updates, you’ll get time-saving features to help simplify your time keeping and team management.

What’s new in April

Practice Panther Integration
Beta update: Time and Budget targets are on their way!
Enhanced Team Timesheet
Bulk Time Entries / Rules Import

*New! Practice Panther Integration

In a nutshell:

PracticePanther is an easy and secure law practice management software for lawyers. With our seamless integration, PracticePanther users can now effortlessly sync accounts and matters from PracticePanther into Chrometa clients and projects. Once connected, Chrometa and PracticePanther stay in sync: A new or updated matter in PracticePanther is automatically synced with Chrometa. After assigning time entries (manually or automatically) in Chrometa, you can export your time (and your team’s data too) to PracticePanther time entries.

Practice time tracking has never been easier!

How it works:

Want to see how to effortlessly integrate Chrometa with PracticePanther. Let’s take a closer look…

Step One: Open the Integrations page and click “Connect…” under Practice Panther


Step Two: After being redirected to Practice Panther, click “Grant Access”.

Step Three: Back in Chrometa, click “Import/Sync Clients and Projects with” and select “Practice Panther”

That’s it!, after moving time entries to newly imported matters, you can export them to Practice Panther. You can do this either for each matter individually

Or export time entries for all Practice Panther matters in the view.

Not already a Chrometa user? Set up a trial account today and test it out for yourself!

Beta update: Time and Budget targets are on their way! Or how to monitor team work and check team progress

While still under development, beta users get to be the first to try out the budget and time Targets, enhancements, and interface—all designed to help keep very contract and project on time and budget.
This month, beta users were the first to try out Targets. With Targets, you can:

  1. Set a minimum number of hours for a project
  2. Set a maximum number of hours for a project
  3. Set a minimum number of billing for a project
  4. Set a maximum number of billing for a project

Each target is defined by project and for each team member involved in the project. To ensure project success, you need to stay on budget, track time accurately and avoid overbilling.

Next up?

Now that Targets is released in beta, we’ll follow up with

  1. Setting recurring targets
  2. Defining targets on clients
  3. Getting email notifications
  4. Setting targets by phases – tasks

Want early access to new features like Targets? Or, do you want to share feedback to our developers as they work on the app? It’s not too late to participate in the beta program!

Sign up for Chrometa’s mobile beta by sending us an email .

*New! Enhanced Team Timesheet

This month, we’re spotlighting the main tab on the Team Timesheet page that team admins use every day.

The first tab, “By Project”, groups time entries by project, then by day, then by team member and annotation (aka description). Each line follow this template:

Project Name – Date – Team Member – Annotation – Duration

For each project (aka matter), you also get the total time and revenue and options to export to Excel, Clio or create an Invoice. You can also create invoices in bulk for all projects listed in your view from the top menu.

When mousing over a specific line, a link appears “View Details”, click on it and you’ll see the detailed time entries for the specific annotation (they belong to the same project, date and team member as the current line and have the same annotation).

All underlined text is also editable, click the underlined text (in blue), enter the new value (description, duration, or new matter), then hit the ‘Enter’ key

*Featured! Bulk Time Import and Rules

In a nutshell:

This powerful new feature allows you to import a CSV containing your rules and – past – time entries. This method is useful if you want to input time entries and rules into Chrometa and have a large number of lines to enter. It may be useful if you already have exported time from another system (Excel for e.g.). Once the rules/time entries have been imported, Chrometa cleans up duplicate data lines.

How rules import works :

The 3 steps below outline how to upload your rules in bulk

Step One: Click Import from the Summary page.
Step Two: Select ‘Rules’
Step Three: Select a csv file to import. A sample template is available here.

How time import works :

The 3 steps below outline how to upload your time in bulk

Step One: Click Import from the Summary page.
Step Two: Select ‘Time’
Step Three: Select a csv file to import. A sample template is available here.



Not already a Chrometa user? Set up a trial account today and test it out for yourself!

That’s all for now—but we’ll be back next month with more exciting updates!

Have I missed any of the latest and greatest updates from Chrometa? Are there any of the above you’re currently using and loving? Let us know in the comments!

RingCentral Integration for Tracking Phone Calls

Our holiday present to you

With RingCentral and Chrometa, say goodbye to underbilling!

Do you know how much time you spend making and answering calls every day with your RingCentral VoIP phone? You probably spend several hours each day reviewing documents with a remote client, being on the phone for a court hearing or sitting in a conference call… For the majority of lawyers, the total time varies between one and three hours.

No matter how diligent you are at keeping a log of all your calls, chances are you sometimes forget to log a call… or two… by no means a big deal at the end of the day, but a pretty big deal at the end of the month.

And even if you have unrivaled timekeeping skills, reconstructing your time at the end of the day (as it often happens) can be difficult and time consuming, resulting in delays and possible errors. While most people are usually pretty good at remembering what they did over large blocks of time, they tend to forget all the short  calls.

The real problem is under billing…

Our mission at Chrometa has always been to help you stop underbilling, so it is only natural to also focus on tracking phone calls. As you may know, our Android time tracking app integrates seamlessly with Android mobile phones since 2013 and you’ve got all your calls in an automatically built time sheet thanks to our dedicated app.

Landlines and iPhone calls, however, do not offer a similar option – Apple does not allow any work time tracker to keep a call history, and landlines usually don’t have a public API.

… and we have a solution

But here is some good news: if you are using RingCentral, it is in fact now possible to track your landline and iPhone calls thanks to the newest  integration with Chrometa.

After the initial setup, Chrometa imports your RingCentral contacts and syncs them with your existing clients’ contact information. Once created, new contacts are automatically added to your Clients list while existing contacts are kept in sync.

Then the exciting part begins:

Ten (10) minutes after the end of a phone call, the phone call appears in your Chrometa time sheet. That’s right, automatically. You no longer need to write down the exact number of minutes you just spent talking on the phone – and with whom – every time you hang up.  Now, that’s nothing short of a holiday miracle!

The Chrometa – RingCentral sync happens in the background, you do not need to be logged into Chrometa or even have Chrometa running on your PC or Mac for the sync to happen.

Happy holidays!

Here is a step-by-step explanation of how you can set up this exciting new feature:

Fist Connect Chrometa and RingCentral from the Integrations page.

Connect RingCentral
Connect RingCentral to Chrometa

Create rules based on the contact name, phone number and/or extension. Your calls are then automatically to the client. You’re just one click away from the Invoices (or exporting to your favorite Invoicing/Practice Management system).

Phone Number Rules
Phone Number Rules

Review your call log in the Timeline and Time Summary views. The time entry contains all the call details you need to invoice your work: the start time, call length and the contact you called or who called you.

RingCentral Phone Call
RingCentral Phone Call

RingCentral Timesheet
RingCentral Timesheet

PS: Our development team is actively working on adding text messages to the sync process. Also keeping the RingCentral address book in sync with the list of clients in Chrometa, so stay tuned to future announcements!

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.