[thelist] Filling up timesheets - good or bad?

Warden, Matt mwarden at odyssey-design.com
Thu Jan 11 11:55:30 CST 2001

> What do you think of this practice? Are filling timesheets an effective way
> of keeping track of what people are doing? Personally, I find that I'm
> almost always doing several different things at any given time, and it's
> very hard for me to put down any ONE thing as an activity for any given
> hour. I've tried (unsuccessfully) to argue this out.

My employer used to require this. It's not a good idea, IMO. Or, maybe just
they way they wanted every second to be accounted for. Unfortunately:

1. Co-workers ask for help
2. You get grabbed into meetings that have nothing to do with a project you're
working on, but they need your expertise
3. You take breaks every so often to keep yourself from going nuts
4. Managers are dumb, you spend time filling them in

And there are a few other items that really don't fit anywhere. This went away
at my company because they hired a bunch of moron developers and there were
about 3 of us veterans who spend 50-75% of our day (literally) helping them
(one lady was a "Java Developer", and she couldn't even understand
JavaScript --- at all! --- I had to explain what an if... then... else
conditional was.).

But, before they hired all those less-than-geniuses, I recall spending quite a
lot of time at the end of the day trying to figure out what all I did that day
and for how long I did it.

You say: Well, why not just record things as you do it?

I reply: When I code, I get into "the zone". It takes 15-30 minutes to get
into a state of total concentration where you tune out everything else. Tell
me, how will anyone get into the zone if they are using X% of their brain
power keeping track of hours here and there? That's not how I work at all. If
I was an employer, I'd want my employees working the best they can work the
best WAY they can work.

Now, if a certain employee is missing deadlines, etc., then maybe you could
have that employee keep track of his/her hours.

Not to mention that I was minimally insulted at what seemed to me as a lack of

> I'm interested in hearing other peoples' experiences with timesheets. FYI,
> people are NOT paid by the hour here. Everyone gets salaries.

Oh, if you're just talking about keeping track of hours as 9-5 type stuff,
then nevermind. What went on at my company is we had to keep track of what
time was used for what project/task, etc.

Btw, I was paid by the hour, but all employees had to fill out these
timesheets, salaried or not.


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