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How To Fill Out A Timesheet? Step by Step Guide

12 min read

filling timesheet

Time out – Time in. This gives you the total hours worked for each day in a week. Add any overtime, if applicable. Multiply that number by the hourly rate. And voilà! You’ve calculated the employee’s earnings for the week. 

Timesheets are used by businesses to track how many hours an employee spent working on a specific task or a project. This helps them categorize the projects into billable hours and non-billable hours. If an employee spends time working on client projects, the hours are billable. If the tasks or activities are not directly related to the client’s project, the hours are non-billable. The company then sends invoices to the clients for the billable hours and receives compensation as per the hourly rate.  

As you can see, recording billable hours is a crucial part for the company. Unfortunately, most companies generate reports from timesheets manually, resulting in errors. A global survey report found that around 21.5% of billable hours are not recorded because of inaccuracies in manual timesheets. This is lethal for a company as such inaccuracies negatively affect the revenue generated. This is why most companies shift to timesheet software and other time-tracking tools.  

Now, let’s understand more in detail about timesheets. 

What is a Timesheet

A timesheet is a record that shows an employee’s number of hours worked on each task. This can be recorded either via paper, spreadsheets, or software. Employees make entries manually or through a clock-in or clock-out method, which helps provide an overview of the amount of time worked on a weekly or monthly basis. This information is then used to bill clients accurately and track employee productivity. Maintaining such logs ensures smooth payroll calculation and budget management as well. 

A timesheet captures the following information: 

  • Employee details (Name, ID, position, department, social security number, etc.) 
  • Clear descriptions of projects and tasks 
  • The start and end time of projects 
  • Tasks completed in a project  
  • Overtime hours 
  • Leave taken 
  • Time taken for specific activities like breaks and meetings 
  • Client and project codes  

Components of a Timesheet 

timesheet components

A timesheet records work hours on a daily, weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis. This also helps employees keep track of the number of hours spent on a project in a period. Any timesheet has 4 components: 

1. Date and time entries  

Once an employee starts working on a project, the start date is recorded along with the time spent working on each task within the project. Upon completion, the end date is recorded with the duration divided into billable and non-billable hours. 

2. Project or client codes 

These codes help in categorization of clients and different projects. It helps with billing and ensures proper allocation of resources to clients or projects as per the categorization. 

3. Description of work 

Employees can provide detailed descriptions of the work and activities undertaken. This helps generate accurate reports and better understand how each person has performed. Managers can also reallocate tasks and resources, depending on the responsibilities taken up by each employee. 

4. Breakdown of hours  

Along with recording regular working hours, timesheets also allow you to record the overtime hours as well. It also provides a log of leave taken in a specific period. 

Steps to Fill a Timesheet Effectively 

how to fill timesheet

A timesheet contains information that helps understand how each employee has performed, the number of tasks and hours worked, and their attendance information. This helps the company bill their clients and facilitate the payroll process as well.  

For example, consider you are working in a company where you are paid on a monthly basis. This also means that the timesheet is filled with the required details on a daily or weekly basis. To fill out the timesheet, these are the 5 simple steps to take: 

1. Record start and end time 

For each day, accurately record the time at which an employee started their shift as well as the time at which they ended work. This shows the total hours worked each day and each week. 

For example, an employee starts work at 10:00 a.m., leaves for lunch at 12:00 p.m., returns to work at 2:00 p.m., and leaves at 6:00 p.m. Based on this, their total hours worked would be 6 hours. 

2. Choose the appropriate project or task 

Businesses often use the timesheet to group tasks for various projects. This helps them view the tasks employees are working on. Businesses can then provide clients with proof of billable hours. For freelancers and contractors, calculate billable hours for each task. In such cases, data on completed tasks for individual projects are also entered into the timesheets. 

3. Provide a detailed description of work 

Once you have selected the project you are working on, provide a detailed description of the work and the tasks. This helps understand the work performed. 

4. Allocate hours to relevant categories  

Enter the number of hours worked on a specific task or project along with overtime hours. Once the report has been generated, the company can send invoices to clients for the number of hours worked and resources spent. 

5. Include any breaks or non-working-hours 

While a clock-in and clock-out method doesn’t require you to manually enter information, companies that record via spreadsheets or paper will require employees to enter non-working hours as well. These include any sick days and breaks taken during work hours. 

Time Tracking Tools and Platforms 

Time tracking tools help understand how much time and resources an employee is spending on their tasks. Using this information, project managers can reallocate tasks, manage budgets, and reprioritize. Time tracking tools go beyond just timesheets, they automate the entire process of tracking the time spent and generate analytics to gain insights into each project. This information is seamlessly transferred to payroll systems, making it easy to create invoices and facilitate payroll processing.  

Companies of any size can benefit immensely from using a time tracking tool as it helps them set reasonable goals and achieve them on time. These are the top 5 time-tracking tools you should consider: 

  • Keka HRMS
  • monday.com 
  • ClickUp 
  • ClickTime 
  • Connecteam 

Unlike manual timesheets, which have tedious processes and frequent inaccuracies, a time tracking tool is more efficient as it tracks employee productivity effortlessly. These tools generate reports with almost zero effort, saving both time and money.

To understand the difference between these two, look at the comparison below:

keka manual timesheet

keka time sheets


Many companies still prefer manual timesheets and paper documents to track employee hours. While this may seem like a cost-effective and simpler way, it will cost the company eventually. Entering inaccurate information and relying on manual processes can lead to loss of data, legal issues, and lower revenue as it may reflect inaccurate billable hours.  

However, with the introduction of timesheet software solutions, businesses can now easily and accurately track employee hours. These solutions provide businesses with enhanced features, real-time data, and improved security. Therefore, companies must consider investing in a timesheet software solution to get the most out of their workforce management system. 


1. What’s the purpose of a timesheet?

A timesheet helps track the number of hours spent on a project. It helps allocate resources, bill clients, measure employee productivity, and facilitate payroll processing. For companies, timesheets also capture the revenue generated against each project.

2. What information goes on a timesheet?

In a timesheet, information related to an employee, a project or task, and clients is recorded. Such information tracks attendance, the number of hours worked, and projects completed.

3. How do I record start and end times?

Some companies require you to manually enter start and end times while others may use an attendance tracking system. Make sure to record regular working hours, overtime hours, and the duration of breaks.

4. How can I handle multiple tasks on a timesheet?

To handle multiple tasks on a timesheet, prioritize and block your work time for each task. Focus on each task as per its priority and mark the start and end times. You can plan your week on a day-to-day basis or your month on a weekly basis.

5. How to include breaks and non-work time?

Include breaks and non-work time by entering their start and end times in the timesheet. If your company uses a time tracking system and a clock-in or clock-out method, you don’t have to manually enter this information. 

6. What if I need to log overtime hours on my timesheet?

You can log overtime hours on your timesheet by entering the regular working hours along with the start and end time of overtime hours. Add entry comments to briefly describe the work done during these hours.

7. Do I need to fill out my timesheet daily, or can I do it weekly?

It is recommended that you fill out timesheets daily as it results in more accurate record-keeping. Enter the correct figures and dates for each task or project. Unless your company requires you to fill them out on a weekly basis, you can fill them out daily. 

8. What should I do if I make a mistake on my timesheet entry?

If you haven’t submitted your timesheet yet, try reopening it and editing. If you have submitted your timesheet with an error in it, talk to your supervisor or HR and write an incident report, if required. The information you have submitted is time-critical and will be used for payroll processing, so reach out as soon as possible. 

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    Meet the author

    Nikitha Joyce

    Content Writer

    Nikitha Joyce is a content writer at Keka Technologies. She loves exploring HR topics and turning them into thrilling tales. Nikitha is a dark fiction enthusiast who is a fan of anime, books, and horror tales.


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