The problem with having time between jobs is that it is very easy to fill it with mundane activities and then, before you know it, the day has gone. One of the (few?) downsides to being a lawyer is the necessity for time-recording. For those working in-house, this is where our working day is split up, typically, into 75 or more six-minute ‘units’ of time. Depending on where you work, what you do and how senior you are, there will be an expectation on each fee-earner to record a certain number of chargeable units a day, each attributable to a client file. Easy. Or so you might think…
Some firms even have systems whereby you cannot log off from your computer until a minimum number of units is recorded which results in either (a) you miss out on meeting your friends in the bar, or (b) some poor client ends up with a mysterious charge billed to them. Allegedly.
But there is a personal benefit to time-recording: you can see what you have spent your time doing (or not doing in some cases). Maybe we should look at ways of translating this system to our personal lives. If we did, maybe we would be more productive and make better use of the ‘quality time’ we should have away from the office.
Here’s an example of a typical non-work day: Sleep (80 units); preparing meals (10 units); eating meals (10 units); cleaning up after meals (3 units); personal hygiene (5 units); going to the shop to buy a newspaper (3 units); skimming through the newspaper and talking to one’s self (6 units); watching The One Show (5 units); complaining that the licence fee is being spent on Phil Tufnell travelling the globe and offending people (3 units); Googleing how much the BBC has spent on sending the former England cricketer around the world to offend people (12 units); trying to calm down by watching the TV before going to sleep (8 units). Grand total: 155 units.
So what happened to those extra 85 units? That bill comes to you!
This article first appeared in the Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer in March 2011