Timesheet

I still get emails with the latest news from the law world.  As time marches on they become more alien to me every day.

For 26 years I worked with a timesheet always nearby. My time was billed by the hour, so it was important that I keep careful track of every task I performed, and how long it took. I would record the name of the client, the particular matter, a description of what I did, and the amount of time I spent (in tenths of an hour). My firm would use the timesheets to prepare bills to clients.

Some days the timesheet only had one item on it.  For example, it might read “Acme Corp, X case, prepare for and attend trial (day 3), 14.6.”

But most days I did lots of tasks for multiple clients. A more typical timesheet would look something like this:

Acme Corp, X case, telephone conference with client re. status, .3
XYZ Corp, ABC litigation, review correspondence from opposing counsel re. discovery dispute, .2
Smith Inc., Jones matter, prepare motion to dismiss, 1.2

Etc. Many days I’d fill two or three of them with entries.

So yesterday morning I thought it would be fun (and maybe even humorous) to prepare a timesheet for a day on the farm, and post it on the blog. I set out with that in mind, but it wasn’t long before I lost track of time. That would have been a cardinal sin back in the day.

Without a timesheet at hand, and now four years out of the habit of keeping one, it seems weird to divide my day into ten minute increments. Maybe I’ll try it again sometime, but alas, no faux timesheet today.

My time used to be very “valuable” back then.  Not so much now.

Yesterday morning, after coffee and a little internet time, I left the house at about 6:15. I fed the chickens and pigs, then began preparing for market. I picked squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans, and watermelons.

Chickens among the sunflowers

Chickens among the sunflowers

The magnificent seven.

The magnificent seven.

The walk back to the barn

The walk back to the barn

Sunrise at the Old House

Sunrise at the Old House

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After a couple of hours I took a break for breakfast. Instead of multiple cups of coffee and no food (as was my practice in the old days), I had a breakfast of eggs, new potatoes, watermelon and zucchini/blueberry bread–all fresh and from the farm.

And then I got back to work, without worrying about a timesheet.

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32 comments on “Timesheet

  1. Joanna says:

    I have vegetable envy. Our season is turning to late summer and our sunflowers would not hide any chickens or survive their onslaught. We haven’t even had a tomato yet. A warm August is really needed here to give things a bit of a kick to get them ready in time for the fast approaching autumn. I need to sort through my seeds and see what I can get planted in the greenhouse to make up for the lack of growth outside and see if we can extend the season a bit. As for timesheets – no chance I am so disorganised 😀

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I’m hoping you have an abundance of vegetables yet. Like every year, we’ve had some successes and some failures this season. Fortunately for us we’ve managed to produce a lot of food despite the failures.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanna says:

        The courgettes (zucchini) have suddenly become rather productive. It won’t be long before they are having to go in the freezer to keep up, we are forecast some warm weather at last

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BeeHappee says:

    Wow, what an awesome timesheet. 🙂 Best of all, you can stop and watch that beautiful buck and listen to the birds anytime. Or, like my kids said when we were weeding veggies: we just want to catch crickets for a while, and then hide in the corn. 🙂
    Living with timesheets for 26 years, I don’t even know how anyone can do it, really. Once in a while my manager asks to keep a list of tasks I do and requests that come in, at most, I last for 2 days keeping those, and it is a torture. I am reading John O’Donahue’s books on Celtic wisdom and the importance of Time, and also Lin Yutang’s The Importance of Living, and both of them would be very pleased with your current timesheet.
    My CSA guys said those harvest and delivery days are like a blur, you do do do, like a battle zone, then next day barely remember what happened.
    Have a good market day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Friday and Saturday are very busy days for us of course. It would seem absurd to write down how much time I spent on each task on days like that. But I did exactly that on very busy days for many years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bobraxton says:

    six minute (tenth of 60)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. avwalters says:

    I’m with one foot in the time sheet world and one in the Oh My God everything else world. I feel my priorities shifting…and nowhere was that as obvious as in June, when I was ill. Did contract reviews compel me? No, but I was worried sick over the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I haven’t filled out a timesheet in nearly 4 years, but for a few years before I cut the cord completely I was part-time, with my foot in both worlds. Near the end I can remember being in a meeting that demanded my full attention, but my mind kept drifting to worries I was having with my bees. It was time for me to move on.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, the last few years of my occupational life, work orders were dispatched to the field repair technicians. So we had to keep track of the time we spent on repair trouble reports for internal company use. It was a big sham to justify reducing the work force. Time requirements on the work order were totally unrealistic but if real time worked on the repair was put on the orders, probation was the result and if a person continued to buck the system, termination. After working 35 years in the industry, it was sad to see a bazaar way to get rid of people to be cooked up. The up side was that they offered me a boat load of money to retire early. Ha, it was a no brainer and I took the money and ran. The first day of retirement was April 1st, 2009. I fooled them all and never regretted it. It was a great run for 41 years and I loved every minute of it but it was time to move on to another love of my life, gardening.

    Today, I run a very loose time sheet with notes, comments, and thoughts. It’s more of a journal to keep track of planting times and work done around the house, in the yard, and at the gardens. It’s a combination of a personal blog and a public blog. Together, I can look back and see what I did on just about any day since retirement. If perhaps I skip a few days due to vacationing or extreme scheduling, so what. It’s not a have to kind of thing. Life is way more laid back when every minute doesn’t have to be accounted for, don’t you think?

    Have a great day at the market.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bobraxton says:

      I hung on through the last day possible for me in 2009 – June 30 – like your “I fooled” them, the deadline for signing the “good retirement” papers was “march forth.”

      Like

    • Bill says:

      Yeah I’m glad I don’t have to carve my days into 6 minute increments any more, or worry about whether I’ve documented my productivity. I keep a gardening journal, but it’s mostly just notes of things to keep in mind next year. When something occurs to me I dictate it using the voice memo function on my phone. Then every few weeks I play back the messages and make notes on paper for next year. That’s about the extent of it for me. I have a friend who tracks the number of hours he works on farm and reflects his labor (at minimum wage) in his prices. I don’t do that. It’s very difficult to turn a profit doing this. If I included labor in the calculation it would be impossible. 🙂

      Like

  6. daphnegould says:

    I liked the ending. Yup quit worrying about the time sheet and just work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Having been in Manufacturing, when I “worked” for a living, boy do I understand the time sheet analogy… With the exception that our time was kept in 100ths of an hour (with 6 minutes being .1 of an hour) with jobs (per vehicle) being timed out over 55 minutes worked per hour.

    Like

  8. shoreacres says:

    You may not be worrying about a time sheet in precisely the same way, but clearly you face the day with a plan. You engage in a lot of cost/benefit analysis; you prioritize; you allot certain amounts of time to certain activities. And, you charge a fair price for the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.

    I’d say your time is just as valuable now as it was then. The only differences are your priorities, and who decides how you spend it. Personally, I find timesheets pretty darned important — how else would I know how to bill my customers, if I didn’t keep track of my hours? But in my case, it’s good work and a fair price that are important — not the paperwork. Which I suspect proves your point 🙂

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Our culture values my time much differently now. A good week at the farmer’s market (a product of many hours of hard work) is apparently worth about one hour of lawyering. Of course that doesn’t reflect the true value of those activities, which goes to show that we’ve gotten our priorities mixed up I think.

      Like

  9. Sue says:

    I gotta say—I think your time is MUCH more valuable now. What a blessed life!

    Like

  10. EllaDee says:

    Even with the help of a e-tracker timesheet recording is an inexact science (as it always has been). Fortunately I’m only required to record client time, and have no budget, but still my days are measured in .2 to .9 increments.
    Applying time recording to your farm work was an interesting exercise but I believe the day is fast approaching that as project management practices get a foot in the door legal work will be assessed and measured by output-value efficacy rather than time, so you are way ahead…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bill says:

      I think you’re right. The “billable hour” was under some pressure when I left the business. Some clients were starting to request different ways of determining a fee.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, how I do NOT miss the almighty billable hour… For several years I managed international trademark portfolios for about 75 clients – each trademark in each country was a separate “matter”. That was a lot of client/matter numbers to memorize and keep track of in 6 minute increments. I much preferred my litigation days (as far as timesheets go) when I would bill one client for the whole day, month in and month out.
    Now I have a huge whiteboard to manage the various projects going on at home and down at the farm. I can’t even imagine tracking what I do by the hour, let alone by the tenth of an hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. barnraised says:

    Your time is still valuable, it’s just now more enjoyable!

    Like

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