Using Pen & Paper for Timesheets Can Cost You Big Money — Here’s Why

Payroll is coming. 

But if your employees have correctly tracked their work hours, it will be easy to calculate paychecks and ensure everyone gets paid properly.

Yet, some time tracking methods make this difficult or even impossible.

One of them is tracking work hours by writing them down with a pen on paper.

Here’s exactly why you should avoid this — and how your employees should track time instead.

Using Pen & Paper for Timesheets Can Cost You Big Money - cover

The pen & paper time tracking method is time-consuming

According to research, professionals who lack an automated time tracking system have reported that manually inputting data is time-consuming. This statement shouldn’t surprise you.

For example, imagine that you’re leading a team of 50 people, and each one of them has their own:

  • Work hours, 
  • Breaks, and 
  • Start/end times. 

Keeping track of all this information can be annoying as it often takes entire days to decipher when it’s time for payroll.

To bypass this commotion, automate the whole process and let technology do the work for you. That’s where time tracking software like Clockify kicks in.

Clockify lets you use a timer to track work hours. Simply write a short description of what you’re working on and click Start. When you’re finished, click Stop.

Clockify timer
Timer in Clockify

People can also add time in a couple of clicks — either by entering it on the Time Tracker page or in a timesheet view.

Timesheet view in Clockify
Timesheet view in Clockify

Time entries can then be edited but also marked as billable or non-billable. 

What’s great about an automated time tracking system is that every employee can do this — and you’ll have all of their work hours saved and easily accessible in one place.

This means less time spent on administration and more time spent on doing work that’s actually productive for everyone.

It’s easy to lose or damage paper spreadsheets

Paper-based time tracking guarantees one thing — if you’re not careful enough, you can lose or damage the paper spreadsheets, together with the time tracking data.

What’s more, if you track team time using the pen-and-paper method, you’ll probably need a new spreadsheet every day. On average, you have 20 to 22 working days in one month, meaning you’ll also need that many spreadsheets. 

Now, think about how many you’ll need for a single year — even worse, how many you’ll need if every employee gets their own paper. 

💡 Clockify Pro Tip

Do you know how many work days there are in a year? Knowing the number of work days can help you plan non-work related activities and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Learn more about this in our article:

All of these papers will be hard to look after, and you are only one coffee spill away from ruining them. 

With Clockify, all your time tracking data is securely stored for whenever you need it.

And, the robust Reports features grant you an easy-to-access overview of everyone’s tracked time. 

In fact, you’ll get several different reporting options, including: 

  • Summary report,
  • Detailed report,
  • Weekly report,
  • Attendance report, and
  • Assignments report.
Summary report in Clockify
Reports in Clockify

The Reports let you filter projects and tasks to see how much time is spent on each. Moreover, you can view each user’s work time and hourly rates — and share, print, or export this data in PDF, Excel, or CSV formats.

Tracking time with pen and paper can lead to errors

When you have to manually write down each time entry, you leave plenty of room for errors — it’s easy to get one number wrong and ruin the entire calculation. 

Also, some employees might have bad handwriting, and you’ll need help decoding what they wanted to write down.

Now, visualize that you’re supposed to read 20 or more different handwritings each day and then chase people around to ask them what they had in mind when they wrote it. 

Frustrating, for sure.

Instead, using Clockify makes it simple and easy to create time entries — eliminating the likelihood of errors. 

Another way Clockify can help you minimize mistakes is by using the mighty Auto tracker. The Auto tracker keeps tabs on all computer/laptop activities and saves them on the local drive.

Clockify Auto Tracker
Auto tracker in Clockify

For example, if employees must use a certain software during work hours, the Auto tracker will track the time spent on that particular app, indicating employees have spent this time working. 

Later, they can convert the data to a time entry in Clockify and mark it as billable to have it calculated for payroll.

💡Clockify Pro Tip

If you’re still unsure how to choose the right time tracking software for your needs, check out our comprehensive article on this topic:

Clockify is your all-in-one time tracking solution

If you’re ready to make this transition and take your time tracking to the next level — Clockify is your groundbreaking solution. 

As an easy-to-use time tracking software, Clockify gives you all the necessary features to track time and manage your team.

Also, if you want to boost your team’s productivity, check out the productivity bundle. Apart from Clockify, you’ll be able to benefit from Pumble, a reliable team communication software, and Plaky, a straightforward project management tool. 

Milos  Milosavljevic

Milos Milosavljevic is a productivity author and researcher who is passionate about topics such as time management, productivity, and healthy habits. Using the power of writing, he aspires to help individuals improve their work output and achieve perfect work-life balance.


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Time tracking software used by millions. Clockify is a time tracker and timesheet app that lets you track work hours across projects.

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