When it first became apparent that COVID-19 was a pandemic – and one that we truly needed to be concerned about here in suburban Sydney, my doctor gave me a call. The call went something like this:
Doctor: “We need to make you ‘COVID ready’ Richard”.
Me: “Okay Doc, what’s COVID and how do we go about making me ‘COVID ready’?”.
We all now know what COVID is, and for a number of reasons – asthma, lack of general fitness and age group – I fell relatively squarely into what my doctor termed: the ‘vulnerable‘ (it sounded a lot less sinister then than it does now – now it’s actually a worrying tag).
His plan for preparing me to be ‘COVID ready’ (or at least better prepared) included walking 10,000 steps a day (and if you are wondering how far that is, it’s roughly 9kms). To help me (actually more importantly my doctor) track my success at achieving this daily task, I downloaded an app onto my iPhone and off I went.
Being the grumpy old man I am however, it didn’t take me long to come to the realisation that not every [walking] step is equal – a step walking up a steep hill takes a lot more effort than a step walking on a flat tarmac road.
But to the app they are the same. The app doesn’t distinguish between the effort of a step, it merely counts the number of steps!
So if you are still reading this – and you’re roughly 200 words in – you’re probably thinking:
“Fine, but what does this have to do with the business of law?”
And so here is my point – without trying to belittle the situation we are in at the moment:
If you are a lawyer and record your time by the billable unit, and have some kind of software to help you track that time, it won’t recognise the time and effort of the task you are undertaking: it will merely record the unit of time.
So much like my walking app records each ‘step’ I take, your billable software will record each [typically] six minute unit of time. It won’t give you any additional credit for the ‘effort’ (read difficulty) you put into that unit.
In fact, quite the contrary.
My walking app – and by extension my doctor monitoring it – gives me more credit for walking 15,000 steps a day on a flat and even surface than it does for walking 8,000 steps a day up a very steep inline that takes me three to four times more effort and for which I will ultimately be penalised by my doctor because I’m still 2,000 steps short of my daily target – despite the fact that overall I’m getting fitter, which is actually the ultimate goal!
So which of the two options do you think I go with?