The fourth question in this post a couple days ago was more of a complaint, about being forced to punch in and out, including for lunch. The poster thought that this was "blue collar" and demeaning. Setting aside the "demeaning" bit, which came in for a torrent of criticism, it is strange to me that being accountable for ones' time is considered non-professional. Maybe I have spent too much time around consultants and lawyers, but I have always been required to track my time. That's how the clients get billed. Even for a lump-sum contract, we still have internal controls and time tracking, so that the organization has some idea of the level of effort expended for the work.
I do not use a time clock, however. Given that sometimes I end up flitting from one project to another, a time clock would be counterproductive. I picture something like:
Client calls with some crisis or another. *PUNCH!* I get off the phone, make a few notes, and then someone calls from the field on another project. *PUNCH!* My computer stalls out and refuses to reboot. *PUNCH!* While waiting for the IT department to do its thing, I get cornered in the hallway for a side discussion. *PUNCH!*
This is why I have a little notebook to jot down the time and a word or two about what I'm doing. It takes no time and is accurate enough for toting up all the hours at the end of the day. Really, it's neither difficult nor demeaning.