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Friday, 2 April 2010

Chrometa's Intelligent Time Logging Keeps PHPR on Track

screenshot of Chrometa time logging software that PHPR uses Chrometa to run the PR agency
PHPR uses Chrometa to run the PR agency

Whether PR is billed on results, ROI, profit share, PR for equity or whatever (and we have been known to selectively engage with all of these), somewhere along the line a timelog is needed to underpin those arrangements.

We do think it important to offer clients a timelog as PHPR is committed to operating on a transparent basis - we also pass on expenses at cost. But when it comes to putting the timelog together, we've tried various systems and they've all needed quite a bit of intervention from us and I suspect that we have missed a lot of small details over the years. It has to be said that most PR people, being creative, are not filled with enthusiasm for routine administrative tasks and we are no exception.

There's also a motivational issue, because we know that a timelog does not adequately reflect the value we deliver, so there's resentment if it takes a lot of time to do.

Sometimes the biggest results in PR come from one crackingly well-handled phone call made at just the right time to someone we've interacted with for years (and even if you wanted to, can you imagine the hassle of logging that chain of relationship-building?).

Well Chrometa's time logging ability doesn't extend to a backlog of personal interactions, but I'm really glad a friend suggested I took a free trial. It's rare that you find a program that really does significantly improve an aspect of your everyday working life, but for us, Chrometa is that rarity.

It seems to log absolutely everything I do on the computer (and a few moves made automatically by the system that I can filter out as not relevant to my timelog).

If I haven't moved the cursor for a while it will prompt me to log the time spent away. But most impressively of all, it doesn't just tell me how long a file is open. It tells me what percentage of the time it was being actively used. Great when you forget to close a file after working on it, or you are switching between various jobs.

The detail is excellent, across all sorts of programs, plus individual emails and files, plus online activity. Streets ahead of the old MS Outlook Journal.

All I have to do is drag and drop the activity into client folders that I set up very easily. I don't have to key anything in at all. Then I export it to a spreadsheet. Brilliant!

It is looks clean and simple to use, and it is. Plus the help files genuinely communicate solutions usefully. There are no signs of conflict with the 80 or so pieces of software I run. I did have to accept a license for SysInternals, a required Windows component for Chrometa, but that was just a click.

I was about to buy the program (a one-off $99) when I discovered that I could have it free for life if I blogged about it. So here you are. I am very happy to do so. I hope that you do too as this little gem deserves to gain recognition.

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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