What is a time tracking spreadsheet?
Time is the only thing we can never get back nor can we get more of it, no matter how desperately we try to. We all have to accomplish everything we need to do in the 24 hours there are in each day. So instead of wishing for more time, it’s better to learn how to keep track of time using a time tracking spreadsheet.
Just like when you use a budget tracking spreadsheet, you can use a time logging spreadsheet to keep track of how you or your employees make use of their time. This is one of the best ways to learn how to use your time efficiently. You’ll immediately see the importance of a time log template even after only using it for a couple of days or weeks.
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Methods for tracking time
Apart from using an Excel time tracking spreadsheet, there are other methods you may employ for tracking time. Let’s discuss these one by one:
- Paper method
This is the easiest method to use. All you need is a stopwatch, a pen, and a piece of paper. Use this method when you need to keep track of how long you accomplish regular tasks or activities. Start the watch when you start, stop it after you accomplish the task, and record the time on the piece of paper.
- Honor system
This method of tracking time involves time estimates and it’s commonly used by employees. Here, you give your employer an estimate of how much time you have spent on a specific task or project.
The employer or project manager then records that time to come up with an estimate of how much to pay you. Only use the honor system when you’re sure that your employees will give you an honest answer.
- Time tracking spreadsheet
Finally, this method involves you making use of time tracking spreadsheet or a billable hours template in the case of employees. For this method, you have to manually input the recorded times on the spreadsheet either on your computer or on a printed sheet.
Types of time tracking spreadsheets
There are different ways you can use a time tracking spreadsheet. This type of document is especially useful if you work with contractors, part-time or temporary employees. For instance, with a billable hours template, you can keep track of how much time your employees worked including overtime and breaks. Here are some types of time tracking spreadsheets to use:
Use this Excel time tracking sheet to keep track of tasks or working hours per week. Input relevant information into the spreadsheet including your name, contact number, and the name of the project manager. You can also include information about the company for reference.
For this type of spreadsheet, make sure there are spaces for the dates, start times, end times, and breaks. Then add a column or row to input the total number of hours the employee worked for the week including overtime.
- Weekly (with unpaid leaves)
You also use this type of spreadsheet weekly. But for this one, you include a column or row for any unpaid leaves the employee takes within the week. Also, you can include fields for vacation leaves, holidays, overtime, and regular hours. If you want to make the document more specific, you may also add the rate per hour of the employee.
- Bi-weekly (calculated)
If you pay your employees twice a week, you can use this sheet to keep track of their working hours. Download a template that performs the calculations for you automatically so you don’t have to calculate before paying your employees.
- Bi-weekly (overtime)
If you allow your employees to work overtime either because they want to or they need to, you can use this type of time tracking spreadsheet. This differs from the calculated one as it contains an extra field for overtime hours. Again, it’s more convenient for you to download a template which already has the formulas integrated into it.
- Monthly (basic)
Use this template if you want to keep track of your employees’ working hours per month. Include all the information you need on this template and to avoid having to do the computations manually, input the correct formulas too. Only use this type if your employees don’t take daily breaks. But you can use this no matter how many days your employees work each month.
- Monthly (for projects)
If you need to keep track of how many hours your employees work for each of your monthly projects, you can use this time logging spreadsheet. Just make sure to log in the total number of hours each of the employees work individually to ensure the accuracy of the results.
- Military time
Finally, a lot of companies make use of military time. If you use this format, you might as well use a time log template using military time too. This might make it easier for you to understand the timing when you’re recording or calculating the salaries of your employees.
Time tracking spreadsheets using Excel
Most of the time, we use Microsoft Excel when using templates, especially spreadsheets. This is a very common software that’s versatile, practical, and fairly easy to use. This means that you can also make an Excel time tracking spreadsheet either from scratch or using a pre-made template.
Although a lot of people choose to input the data manually even when they use Excel to create the spreadsheet, it’s more convenient and a lot easier to log the time directly into Excel. Here are some drawbacks of manually writing down the information on your time tracking spreadsheet:
- It’s not very accurate, especially when it’s time to make the calculations to determine the salaries of employees.
- You might end up with imprecise estimates relating to attendance and budget.
- It’s easier to make mistakes when you’re manually entering the numbers on the spreadsheet, especially when there are several columns.
- When you’re in charge of keeping multiple spreadsheets, it might be very difficult to work with all of them when they come in printed form.
- You have to file all of the past spreadsheets in a separate folder after every cut-off or every month to avoid mixing them up with the current spreadsheets.
To avoid making mistakes or getting confused, you may want to use Excel time tracking spreadsheets on your computer instead. There are plenty of time tracking spreadsheet files available for download which you can use in Microsoft Excel. Here are some benefits of using this software for your time tracking:
- The downloads already come with the required formulas making it easier for you to use them. So, all you have to do is input the values and the software performs the calculations for you automatically.
- You have the option of choosing the non-billable or billable time-tracking feature so that you can easily estimate the costs of your projects.
- A lot of these templates also come with detailed and comprehensive reports for you to check the unproductive and productive activities of your employees.
How to use a time tracking spreadsheet?
Anyone can use a time tracking spreadsheet. It’s useful for employers, engineers, freelancers, contractors, sub-contractors, lawyers, and other types of professionals who need to keep track of time for their tasks, projects or for other purposes.
Therefore, if you’re an employer or any professional, you must learn how to use a time log template or a billable hours template. Here are some tips for you:
- When keeping track of projects or tasks, create a template which is just right for these. Make sure that the template includes all of the important information related to the projects or tasks you need to accomplish. Then make sure to use the spreadsheet from start to finish.
- When keeping track of the hours your employee worked either daily, monthly or weekly, make sure the spreadsheet includes all the names of your employees. Then input their working hours at the start and the end of each day.
- When keeping track of the billed hours of employees, only use the spreadsheet for recording the time they’ve worked. You may also want to include the rate of employees per hour. However, you have to create a separate invoice to provide your employees along with their salary.
- If you choose to download a template, you may customize it as needed. Add as many columns or rows as you need depending on the information you have to include in your template.
- Make sure to be as specific as you can when recording information in your spreadsheet. This is especially important when you’re in charge of keeping track of your employee’s working hours for the basis of their salaries.
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