Logging time in a timesheet

There are many ways of logging time. Some are very cheap but not effective. Check the pros and cons of paper, spreadsheets and app timesheet.

Paper timesheet log

Example of the paper timesheet

Nowadays, almost none of us use paper timesheets. However, it is still possible to see it in some places. The disadvantages of filling in the paper time reports are so huge that most companies are looking for some friendly substitutes for collecting work time sheets of their employees. Of course, you can introduce it quickly to your daily routine. In a case when you wish to share the current status with your customer or managers, the biggest challenge is to find, organize and scan the piece of paper, as well as you can lose the paper timesheets and have no evidence of your work effort.

Spreadsheet for time tracking

Example of the timesheet in a spreadsheet

There are several ways how companies are handling timesheet calculation. One of the most popular methods is keeping everything in one big Excel or spreadsheet file. The most significant advantage of collecting time spent working in a spreadsheet is that it is the easiest method. Unfortunately, it requires much effort to keep the data consistent, valid, and available for those who might want to see it from the managerial perspective.

The biggest challenge is the inaccuracy of the data filled into the cells. Employees can overestimate or underestimate the time they have spent working. It might affect that your earnings might be less than what you actually should expect. On the other hand, if you decide to share with your customer or other managers the current status, it might be impossible without fancy spreadsheet charts and reports. In a case when you have many projects, coworkers, currencies, it might be challenging to calculate your earnings, and due to that, it would be tough to create a proper invoice.

Timesheet calculation in time recording app

With a time recording app (called time tracker, time tracking app, time reporting app), you can automatically handle timesheet calculations. The main idea behind the time tracking app is to keep up-to-date information about you and your employees’ working time on several activities.

Example of the timesheet from time recording app (Sandtime.io)

With the timesheet app, you can collect the correct data by filling in the number of hours that you have worked on. Alternatively, you can automatically record time entries with the built-in timer.

Weekly timesheets generated automatically

The most effective way of collecting data related to the time you and your team spent on each project is to allow some external system (i.e., a time recording app) to do it for you.

Employees do not want to fill in data in timesheets, which is usually due to two reasons:

  • they do not know why you want to collect this data, so they are afraid of the unknown consequences,
  • they know why, but the paper timesheets or spreadsheets are not user friendly and require additional effort.

Example of the Sandtime.io dashboard

With an automated solution, you and your employees can quickly turn on/off currently selected project/activity tracking. After several days or weeks, you will have reliable information about your team's time spent on your projects.

It is not a secret that for your business, every reported hour is crucial. Information about the current status of reported hours allows you to assign people to the right tasks, create proper invoices, and pay them a reliable salary.

So, why should you, and your team, use a time tracking app?

Example of the Sandtime.io's report

Collecting the data by the weeks or months allow you to estimate more precisely how much time will need your team to finish their tasks. Better estimates mean more earned money by your company, and more money means more possibilities at the end of the month. With a time tracking app, you will generate reports to show your customers or employees.

For whom is the time tracking app?

If you are a manager (e.g., CEO, project manager, program manager, line manager, etc.), you know how important it is to see where you are now. You want to identify bottlenecks quickly, discover assignment issues, and of course, invoice your customers. All those activities, and even more you can easily handle by using a time tracking app. Besides these managerial things, you might be obligated by the government to have a time tracking solution for accounting for each worked hour.

If you are a freelancer, consultant, lawyer, if you are trying to bill your customers accurately, a time tracking app with a timesheet of the working hour is a must-have.

If you are an employer, feel that your insight in the project is not enough, or you think that you spent too much time on several activities, the time tracking app is just for you. In one place, you will collect all the necessary data, which will allow you to monitor your work-life balance.

Most common problems of not using timesheets

First of all, you are losing the current status of your organization. It might cost you lot of money. Your planning is like wishful thinking because you are not grounding your estimates on historical results. Your employees or team members might face up with procrastination, which kills many of the projects. Even though you believe that you and your teammates are aware of multitasking, the time tracking app could show you how much time you and your team spend on each activity. Based on that knowledge, you can select those projects which are more beneficial for your organization.

How to select the best solution for timesheets

You can create some paper timesheets on your own. If you spend enough time learning how it should work and what information might be useful for your specific organization, you will lose time, which you can save for growing your business.

Downloading Excel or Google spreadsheets is a little bit better. However, you will still stay with raw data, without any support for finding bottlenecks, savings, possibilities to grow, and innovate your business.

The timesheet available in the time tracking app will give you everything above with plenty of features developed based on collected experience. One of the solutions which you can try for free is Sandtime.io app designed by a manager. You will easily find the timesheets that you and your employees could collect and customizable reports that allow you to check daily, monthly, and yearly all the necessary information. Oh, and if you need spreadsheets, you can export each of the reports to the Excel file.