Do you ever wonder “Where did the day go?!”? Tracking your time efficiently can help you answer that question, identify habits that waste your time, and increase your billable hours.
Here are a few tips and tricks to assist you:
1) Tracking your time as you go along does not interrupt your work flow – it better captures how you are spending your time. It’s easier to record detailed entries when they are fresh in your mind. The more you do it, the more efficient you will become, until it is a habit. Unfortunately, hindsight is not always “20/20” when it comes to capturing time, and research shows that timekeepers can short themselves as much as 25% when entering time from memory – but that’s for a future blog post.
2) Create a goal for the number of hours (or range of hours) you will track every day or week. Ideally, track your billable time, as well as your non-billable time. This information will help you identify how your time is spent, and assist you in creating optimal workflow habits and mitigating time wasters.
3) Create routines and structures for efficient time capture – ie: don’t leave for lunch without capturing your morning’s time. Don’t leave for the day without ensuring your time is entered. Don’t leave for the weekend without reviewing the week.
4) Create a structure of accountability – whether to yourself, your boss, your bookkeeper, or your assistant. Have a goal every day/week/month at which point your time will be entered.
5) Take full advantage of all of the time tracking functions and features that are included in your billing software program. Make sure all of your users are trained on the billing software program to ensure they are using timesaving tricks like abbreviations and timers, and optimizing the program’s functionality.
6) Link your practice management software to your billing software (if possible) and automatically track time when you enter phone notes, phone calls. Different practice management products will automatically prompt you to save that time capture and transfer it to your billing management software.
7) Use an “App”! Many billing management software programs have a coordinating smart-phone app that allows you or your staff to capture their time without sitting at their desk. Leave a meeting, get in the car and enter the time from the meeting, immediately! Have a working lunch and use a timer on your smart phone to capture that time.
In all, spending a few minutes a day to capture your time, correctly, can help you and your staff to increase billable time – without working longer hours.