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Curbing those long, lucrative hours
Jul 22, 2010. As seen on The Economist.
That still leaves many hours being billed the old-fashioned way. Experts and surveys estimate that between 10% and 30% of hours are never billed by tired and overworked attorneys who cannot keep track of every piece of work they do. A firm called Chrometa addresses this problem by producing a software programme that automatically tracks a lawyer's computer usage, showing how much time she has spent on which e-mail, document or spreadsheet. These can easily be filed by case and client, so the client gets a more detailed invoice. This may not result in many more hours billed, but it saves strain on both lawyer and client in keeping track. Both sides can then focus on the case at hand, rather than the bill.
Maximize your laptop.
Nov 2010. As seen on The Chicago Tribune.
Chrometa is a revolutionary utility that actually answers the question "Where does the time go?" It's a Windows utility that automatically tallies the amount of time you spend on each task you do on the computer, such as e-mail, visits to websites, and work on documents.
Time management without timers? That's the draw of Chrometa.
By Brad McCarty | Nov 11, 2010. As seen on TheNextWeb.
If you're anything like me, and chances are that you are, then the end of the day comes all too fast sometimes. Keeping track of where you've been and what you've done can be more than a pain, it can actually cost you money if you're one of those who bills by the hour.
Effortless Time Tracking with Chrometa
By Meryl K. Evans | Mar 9, 2010. As seen on WebWorkerDaily.
Most time tracking and management applications require some up front work before you can roll with them, but not Windows app Chrometa. This utility starts working for you as soon as you install it. Running in the background, Chrometa tracks all your computing activities including emails, visits to web sites and open applications. It sorts the activities by application or tool and does it all without you needing to do a thing.
You don't need to work hard to figure out the simple interface, either. A calendar sits on the left side of the screen that lets you go back and review any day, week, month or selected timeframe to see how you spend your time. Categories appear below the calendar. The rest of the interface splits into two sections: Active Time and Away Time. That's it.
A Unique Time Tracker That Will Save You Time
By Jade S. | Jan 22, 2010.
I cannot rave enough about this program!
Chrometa gives you a gift like nothing else can. It gives you the gift of time! It is fully automatic, and you do not have to work at keeping records of how you account for your time for work. While there are so many other time trackers out there (a dime a dozen) None are like Chrometa. Chrometa uses the newest cutting edge technology to make the recording of your time not only automatic, but accurate, and has features that bury any competition out there.
I needed a tool that tracked all of the internet sites, and time spent on them, as a part of the recording of my work activities. Not only did I need a very specific time tracker that tracked time down to the seconds, but I needed one that broke down time into specifics. While most trackers would tell you that you have spent 5 hours on Firefox or Internet explorer (well duh!), Chrometa will give you the specifics, which is extremely useful to me. It will give you the exact titles of each webpage you visited, and how long you spent on that page. Chrometa will track your time in each application and in your emails as well. All automatically, as in you do not have to do a thing!
When I first tried Chrometa, I was worried about privacy, and whether a program running in the background would cause lag on my computer system. To my surprise, I could not tell the difference when Chrometa is running in the background, and when it is not. I have not experienced any lag issues, and am very happy about how little it affects my system resources.
As for the privacy issue, my mind is completely set at ease. Chrometa allows you to password protect the interface, so anything you do not want anyone to see is private. You can also block applications from being recorded which even further secures your privacy, and allows for a more versatile use of recording.
To top all of this off, it is extremely easy for Chrometa users to export data to excel, allowing you to tweak, copy, cut, paste, invoice, and more... for whatever ways fits your needs.
To further enhance my enthusiasm for Chrometa, the customer service of this company is supreme. There were a few features I would like to see implemented in Chrometa, which would be specifically helpful in my line of work, and I wrote them with my requests. I expected the usual response from companies when I write them giving a suggestion; "Thank you, we will forward your requests to the proper department, and take your requests under consideration." Then you never hear back from them, and you never see what you would like to see happen. They completely blow you off.
At first I received an email stating that they are looking into adding more functionality, in the near future, with some information on the plans they have. I thought that would be the end of that. To my surprise, I received another follow-up email a week or two later with further information about how some of the features I was hoping for were to be implemented in upcoming updates, and a conclusion of the email with"Please let me know if we can assist, or if you have other features we should investigate." This email really made me really happy.
By Elisabeta Ghidiu | October 2009. As seen on Quick Online Tips.
[Excerpt from Top 4 Paid Time Tracking Applications section] Chrometa is a great time tracking software that captures every second and you don't even have to enter dates. The application allows you to view activities from days, weeks or months before. You can set reminders, organize your work and export the dates into a Microsoft Excel workbook. A nice feature is the possibility to organize your time by dragging records into client or project categories.
By David Whelan | October 2009 As seen on Law Technology News.
The old challenge to "work smarter, not harder" can be hard when you are on a treadmill of activity. How do you slow down enough to make necessary changes?
Unlike stopwatch programs that have been around lawyers' offices for decades, automatic time tracking takes time management in a different direction. It focuses on eliminating incremental lost (billable) time that occurs as you move between different programs on your computer, or between your computer and other activities.
Let's look at three tools: Chrometa 2 (www.www.chrometa.com); Nestersoft's Worktime 4.2 (www.nestersoft.com/worktime); and Black Hill Software's TimeSprite 2.1 (www.timesprite.com).
All are designed for individuals, whether a solo or a firm lawyer. Worktime can be networked and operates offline when the network isn't available. They all install and remain running in the background on your computer at all times.
As you open a program, they record which program is open and for how long. Open a Microsoft Word document? Switch to a web browser? Open a second web browser tab? Not a problem. Each activity is logged, and as you toggle between websites and your document or other software, time is accrued to the correct program.
Here's the tricky part. Once you have captured all that time, how do you use it? The data overload can appear overwhelming at first. This is where the nuances of each software come into play.
One great advantage is the ability to block the programs you do not want to track. These might include PDA Hotsync or Truecrypt encryption, which you may use but are not billable. This can cut down on some of the time entries you sift. Chrometa employs a right-mouse click to block any application and stop future tracking. Worktime has a list that you can customize by plugging in the executable program name.
The programs also support away time: lunch, a meeting, a phone call. Obviously, we know when we are in or out of the office, and many of our phones already track call duration.
What about someone sticking their head in your door to ask a "quick" question? Each program will pause after a certain number of minutes, which assumes you are away from the computer.
Chrometa has a nice feature where it will prompt you, when you start to use the computer again, to tell it what you were doing. Neither Worktime nor TimeSprite are that proactive, but both allow you to add specific, manual time entries.
At the end of your day, you turn to your time tracking software and see what it has captured. You might be surprised. You might also be overwhelmed. Now it all has to be assigned to the clients and matters that you worked on.
TimeSprite is intriguing because it does some automatic categorizing as it tracks time. For example, if you use your web browser and spend a period of time at a given website, returning throughout the day, it will aggregate those visits. You can also drop time entries into groups, created in advance or on the fly. Unlike Chrometa and Worktime, you cannot create subgroups.
Worktime feels dated, as it has been around for nearly a decade, and less intuitive. You create your groups and subgroups in advance and then toggle to each new group as you move to a new project. It is very similar to stopwatches in this way, which is a drawback. It means that everything is categorized by the end of the day, but you will have to relabel some entries unless you have been diligent in changing groups.
Chrometa is most clearly born of the "web 2.0" world. Categories and subcategories can be created on the fly; entries are labeled by dragging them to the appropriate category. It is very much a tagging feel. It also groups activities by the software you were using.
These tools collapse your time into day, week, or month views. Chrometa calls its realtime view Timestamps, where you can see a chronological view of your work. TimeSprite calls this the Journal but also has a real-time pie graph showing how the groups and programs break down.
Worktime uses a reporting tool to display its real-time activity, and has filters so that you can create custom reports. Both it and TimeSprite export to a data file so you can bring up your time entries in a spreadsheet. Chrometa does not have any export functionality, and you use the information from within the program.
UPDATE: Chrometa now allows you to export to an Excel spreadsheet.
Automatic time tracking software can have a significant impact on your office whether or not you bill by the hour. You can rely on these tools to help you identify what you do, and when you do it, removing the unreliable variableï¿½you!
You may not realize that e-mail has become a three-hour morning sinkhole, or that you racked up an hour in unbillable YouTube visits in a week.
In some cases, you may find that you've done more work applicable to a particular client than your time sheets reflect. Just as helpful, you may notice weekly trends where you are getting more work product completed each Thursday, or get more phone calls on Monday. This sort of information can give you insights to make you more productive, which can help your practice as well as finding those lost minutes of billable time.
Toronto's David Whelan is manager, legal information for the Law Society of Upper Canada, and a member of LTN's Editorial Advisory Board. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law Technology News October 2009
By Laurie Mapp | Sep 1, 2009
As seen on Alyssa Gregory's Small Business Idea Generator blog.
I was given the opportunity to try out Chrometa, and I'll be honest, I was a little hesitant at first. I use QuickBooks right now for time tracking and it has been serving my purposes just fine. But knowing that the software is particularly targeted to both lawyers (my target clients) and service professionals who bill hourly (like me!), I realized it would be worth at least knowing how it worked.
I am extremely glad I decided to give Chrometa a try. Chrometa is software that runs in the background while you work. It tracks everything you are doing, whether you have a word processing document open, a website or your computer switches to idle while you take a phone call. This means that if you aren't careful enough in your own time tracking, you can always open up Chrometa and see exactly how you were spending your time that day. Or even the day before, or the prior month.
It's perfect for backtracking a project where you may have missed billing a client. In fact, the second day I had Chrometa installed I realized I had inadvertently forgotten to track my time while I completed a project. In the past I would have underestimated the time spent rather than take any risk of over-billing a client, but with Chrometa I was easily able to track how much time I actually spent on the work and enter it into my accounting program!
Other cool features:
- You can categorize so that you have a summary of time per project.
- You can password protect the application.
- You are prompted to enter a reason for away time, such as answered a phone call or went to lunch, meaning your non-computer time can be tracked with Chrometa, too.
- There's a one-time fee ($99), and no ongoing cost.
Chrometa is not for everyone, though. It is definitely suited best to individuals who want to track their time for hourly billing. If you bill on a flat fee basis or per project, you likely will gain little advantage with a program such as Chrometa.
Another thing to consider is that while Chrometa will handle the job of reconciling time spent each day, you will still need a program for the actual billing. Chrometa is a good, simple program that is just for tracking your time, not an accounting or bookkeeping program.
Also, beware that Chrometa may give you insight into the little time wasters that account for more of your time than you realizeï¿½and if you want to be sidetracked, read this cute post on the topic!
Chrometa is available as a free, full-version 30-day trial, and it currently runs on Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista.
By Denise Landers | Sep 1, 2009
As seen on Productivity Today.
Have you ever sat at your computer for hours and then wondered where the day went? Perhaps you spent more time on Facebook and Twitter than you realized. Now there is a way to tell exactly where your minutes went.
I recently tested a program called Chrometa that will tell you exactly what happened with your day. The minutes spent on each program and on each website are chronicled. It is an interesting tool to use if you are looking for ways to build in more productivity. For example, one general time management tool is to group similar activities. Processing your email in a batch and then returning phone calls, versus bouncing back and forth between the two, can increase productivity fourfold. You may think that you are already doing something along those lines, and then, upon reviewing the Chrometa results, find that you instead jumped around far more than you thought.
The program would be a good check to perform on a random day once a week to see if you notice any changes in habits when you are "accountable" for the minutes spent. It's one way of ensuring that you are getting the results from good time management training.
By Adrian M. Baron | Aug 21, 2009 As seen on The Nutmeg Lawyer.
Is Wasting Time Costing You Money? As a practicing attorney, I am always looking for ways to make our firm run smoother. I've been coming back from the office later and later. Although it made my wife happy, I was finding myself exhausted. I needed to become more efficient with my time. As such, I decided to test drive a time management program called Chrometa 2.0. If you are not familiar with it, I suggest you give it a trial run. In my case, it has made me a more efficient attorney.
Some benefits were obvious. As the program ran in the background, it was recording how much time I was spending preparing documents. If it took me 20 minutes to prepare a letter, the program indicated it under active time. It was a great help for when I was preparing billing. I could see how long I spent preparing my blog and how much time it took to update our firm's website. It even has a feature where you can enter the time you spend on phone calls. In some cases, I realized I was actually underbilling.
For me, the greatest benefit was the wasted time the program was recording. The results were an eye opener. 30 minutes spent watching you tube clips of yodeling dogs, 25 minutes searching for friends on Facebook to see if any of them were bald, 18 minutes of Googling my name to see if I was famous yet. There it was in black and white. I was wasting time. Chrometa was my wake up call. The reason I was staying so late at the office was not necessarily all the work I had to do. It was because I was wasting my time watching clips of the Daily Show. Chrometa is like having your mother standing over you to make sure you do your homework. Every time I have the urge to wander the internet, I tend to balk knowing it will be recorded by Chrometa.
The program is very easy to use. It runs quietly in the background. It does, however, have a drag and drop feature where you can categorize all of your documents. If you happen to step away from your computer, Chrometa starts an "away
By Neil Squillante | Aug 5, 2009 As seen on TechnoLawyer Blog.
If humans ever split into different species, lawyers will likely evolve into giant heads with no bodies. After all, you only need your body to transfer your thoughts to your computer. Otherwise, it serves no particular function other than creating more lawyers, which you could no doubt outsource. But for now, you may as well make sure you get paid for the long hours you spend hunched in front of your computer.
Chrometa 2.0 ï¿½ in One Sentence
Chrometa automatically captures and organizes the time you spend on your PC, facilitating your ability to accurately bill all your time.
The Killer Feature
As soon as the "ink" dried on our previous report on Chrometa 1.1, the company announced version 2.0. As you may recall, we pointed to Chrometa's ability to log all your computer activity as its killer feature. You can later transform these log entries into time entries in your billing system.
This automatic capture still exists, but the company has added a second killer feature ï¿½ drag and drop, which further automates the time capture process.
You can now drag one or more activities recorded by Chrometa and drop them on the appropriate client/matter account. Chrometa is smart enough to remember this action so that next time you perform similar work (e.g., editing the same document), Chrometa will automatically enter the time spent in that client/matter account.
"We found that lawyers spend an average of 2.6 hours each week reconciling their time," Chrometa CEO Brett Owens told us. "Chrometa's automatic time capture and now drag and drop take a significant bite out of this process."
Other Notable Features
Befitting its new version number, Chrometa includes many other new features. For example, you can now capture meeting, phone, and other time spent away from your PC, and categorize it by client/matter. This form of tracking requires manual entry, but Chrometa created a quick entry tool for this purpose. The upshot is that you can now see all your activities in Chrometa.
By popular demand, Chrometa features improved categorization of computer activities. For example, it can list email messages individually by subject line along with the accompanying time spent reading or writing the message. Chrometa also supports advanced tagging of both Word and WordPerfect files, providing similar granularity down to each individual document. When you're ready to transfer the time entries you've captured into your billing system, Chrometa can sort them by client/matter.
Equally notable in the new version are the redesigned user interface (see accompanying screenshot) and improved security tools. You can now password protect Chrometa, delete activities, and remove historical data.
What Else Should You Know?
Chrometa 2.0 runs in Windows XP and Vista, and sells for an introductory price of $99, which includes unlimited email support. You can try it for free for 30 days. Learn more about Chrometa 2.0.
By Lee Rosen | Jul 17, 2009 As seen on Divorce Discourse Blog.
The day starts, you draft documents, do some legal research, talk to clients and take notes and the day ends. You look at your time sheet. You've worked 9 hours. You've recorded 6 hours of your time. How did that happen? Where did the 3 unaccounted for hours go?
Chrometa answers that question. You install the software, it runs quietly in the background and at the end of the day it tells you where the time went so you can bill it. It also, and this is a bit disturbing, tells you where you wasted time. Among other things, it tells you how much time you spent on Perez Hilton, ESPN.com or Politico.
We don't bill by the hour so the software has limited application in our environment. One of our lawyers gave the software a 30 day free trial and found it quite helpful for helping him organize his day and improve his use of time. In fact, one of Peter Drucker's suggestions to improve your time management skills, is to carefully track your use of time for a period of several weeks. In today's computer centric world Chrometa makes tracking your day much easier.
The software sells for $49 for a single user with discounts as you add users. In addition to a free trial they offer a money back guarantee. Thankfully, they don't require a credit card number to take advantage of their free trial. I love that.
How long would it take you to recoup your $49 investment? My guess is that Chrometa pays for itself on the first day ï¿½ before you go to lunch.
By Neil Squillante | Jun 3, 2009 As seen on TechnoLawyer Blog.
In the old days, working on a client's matter involved fetching a folder from a file cabinet. While you might receive a phone call about another matter, multitasking as we know it today didn't really exist. Thanks to the combination of email and computers that can run many programs simultaneously, you fly from task to task on different matters, making it challenging if not impossible to accurately track your billable time using old-fashioned methods. It's time to track your time differently.
Chrometa 1.1 ï¿½ in One Sentence
Chrometa 1.1 is a billing program that automatically captures and categorizes the billable time you spend on your PC.
The Killer Feature
Although time tracking for many lawyers has long since moved from a ledger to computer software, the method remains the same. Lawyers must actively enter the time they spend on tasks. Timers can help, but they too essentially operate manually.
Chrometa takes a different approach. You just work. And Chrometa watches in the background. It logs all your computer activity and also tracks the time.
For example, if you spend three ten minute sessions working on a Word file named Smith Motion, it'll list the name of that document, display your three sessions and the time for each, and also provide the 30 minute total.
"Our product was built to prevent law firms from leaving revenue on the table by enhancing and even replacing some of the antiquated methods for time tracking," Chrometa founder Brett Owens told us via email.
Other Notable Features
Chrometa logs all computer activity, including time spent on documents, email, and online research. However, Chrometa does not log keystrokes or any other content, thus preserving confidentiality ï¿½ plus you can block certain applications from being tracked. To create a time entry, you apply a client/matter tag to a captured activity.
Chrometa doesn't just track your computer activity, it also learns from your input. For example, after you tag the time spent on a document or its folder with a client/matter, Chrometa automatically assigns any future work on that document to that client/matter.
Chrometa doesn't just live on your PC. You can export data into Excel, so that administrators such as your assistant or your bookkeeper can access your logs. You can also generate a wide variety of reports for internal purposes as well as audits.