I have to say that tracking my time is the worst thing about consulting rather than being employed. I don’t feel the urge to work at all hours of the day, but I resent ‘accounting’ financially for my time.
It is tempting to offer some typology of different professions and their attitudes to time. Yet I suspect the types are beginning to blur. In 1992, the economist Peter Sassone coined the phrase “the law of diminishing specialisation”. Thirty years later, it is astonishing how much knowledge work is handled using the same tools and workflow — a workflow that increasingly involves no fixed hours and no fixed location. We are all, like the lawyers, able to do a little bit of extra work before bedtime, even if not all of us can charge £1,000 an hour for it.
And while the “billable hour” can be a psychological trap, it does teach us one valuable lesson: there is a distinction between working and not working. It’s a distinction worth sustaining.