Timesheet & Project Management Blog

The goal of this blog is to provide tips and ideas for improving time tracking and project managment for our customers and other interested people.

Project Task Warnings


Standard Time® is a project tracking program.  And it has a nice little feature to make sure tasks get completed on time.

  • Task Warnings

Here’s the problem:

Sometimes employees ‘camp out’ on tasks they like.  Maybe upcoming tasks are scary.  Or, the employee doesn’t feel ready to move on.  Or, they just feel comfortable on the current task.

For whatever reason, they don’t move on.  And that may be costing you money.

Now there’s a solution in Standard Time.

Project managers can set a percentage cut-off.  When users hit this percentage, a pop-up tells them to finish up.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you set a warning at 90%, and a final cut-off at 125%.

The user first gets a warning, and then the task closes.  No more time can be added.

Want to try it?  Click to download.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtue-oZBiJg

Timesheet and Time Log Pages


Some people have asked what is the difference between the Timesheet and Time Log. You see these 6 tabs along the top and the timesheet and time log tabs are right next to each other. In fact some have asked what is the Time Log at all. Let’s take a look at that. Essentially these two tabs are close relatives. In fact they display the same information, they just look a little different. Let’s click over on the Time Log. Here you see a list of records and it turns out those records are the same ones that are displayed in the Timesheet. It looks a little different; you’ve got the Monday-Sunday view or whenever your first day of the week starts. In the Time Log you’ve got a list top to bottom of all the same records. These are the same time records you see over in the timesheet. One way to verify this is open up one of these, click notes and details, 1st thing we can see is that this is on 4/9 and starts at 11:30am. And the notes this person put in was Installed web server. Let’s go over to the Time Log and because we have such a long list let’s go over to the Date range and look at This week. We’ve got records here, turns out I’m looking at this week for Ray which is the same filtering we had over in the timesheet. If I look at the 4.5 hours we see that this is 11:30am, installed web server. You can go over to the timesheet, click on this triangular dropdown and choose Daily Hours and there is a graphical timesheet. We see this same 4.5 hours just displayed in graphical format. If I were to double click on that we’ll see it starts at 11:30am, installed web server is the notes that the person put in. We’re seeing the same information it’s just formatted a little differently depending on the view you have. There are lots of ways to look at timesheet data (timesheet records). This Time Log is useful in a lot of other ways. If we go to the View menu, choose Column, let’s get rid of the Client rate and Cost client, useful fields but for this case we’re going to put in the Client and the User. A couple different fields, you can add a variety of different columns to this display. So we now see some new columns here again we’re looking at all the records for Ray. If I click the yellow X I’ve now removed all the filtering, I see all the records in the whole system because I’m an administrator. Let’s look at This week; now we see a mixture of Ray and Buzz. If I went over to the Users section I could click on Buzz see all of his records or Ray see all of his records. This is that 4.5 hours we saw earlier. So the Time Log can be useful to find things that are not immediately apparent in the timesheet as your looking through a Monday-Sunday view. Simply seeing them in a top down fashion can sometimes be useful. That’s why we have the two views in addition to the graphical timesheet.

Hopefully that helps in distinguishing between these two close relatives. 

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwmgIgx2Mgw

Time Tracking with Quick Tasks


Looking for a quick way to track time?  Billable hours?  Employee time?

Here’s a new idea from Standard Time®!

It’s called Quick Tasks.

Let’s say you have to start and stop a timer, and report all the hours you worked.  That’s reasonable.  A lot of people do that.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just click a button to start, and click again to stop?

  • No forms to fill out
  • No timesheet
  • No hassle

That’s what Standard Time Quick Tasks are for.

You literally just click a button to start.

And click again to stop.

Standard Time keeps track of your hours throughout the day.  You just click, click, click, and your timesheet automatically fills up with time.

All your projects are listed, and your tasks under them.  Just click a task to start the timer.

Download, and give it a try!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcurDKF6szc

Client Invoices


Let’s run an invoice in Standard Time®. You can see first of all I’m in the Timesheet. There are six tabs along the top, the Timesheet is normally where you put your time in. What I’m going to do before running an invoice is switch over to the Time Log. This is essentially a list of all the entries in the time sheet; it’s the same data just organized differently. What I’m going to do is filter this view by a client so I can see all of the records that have been logged for that particular client. I’m going to go here to Date range and look at all of them for This month. These are the records that I hope to put out in my invoice. Over in the Billing tab is where the invoices reside but switching back here to the Time Log, can switch back and forth. I’m going to go to the Inset menu and choose New Invoice. From there I will then choose the client, optionally you can choose a project if you want to break down the invoice into smaller detail. But I’m going to go from the first of the month to the end of the month. You can see here the subtotal comes up to kinda know how much I’m going to be billing. The template I like to use is the detail template; it’s going to create an invoice file with this invoice number ‘course you can change that. Let’s click Save and Close to create that. When I do Microsoft Word comes up and shows me the invoice file, this is actually an rtf file that I can save to the hard drive or I can save as a PDF. You see the total down here. In this invoice you can put your company logo and change this up, add some color spice it up a little bit. Because it is just an rtf you can edit those invoice templates as well.

Wanted to show you how to create an invoice. Pretty simple!

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hhCdc3lIJY

Declutter Your Timesheet With Favorites


You have to track employee hours in a timesheet, right?  Hey, everybody does.  But what if there are stacks of projects to look through?

You know which one you’re looking for, but still… you’ve got a huge list to tackle.  You can’t even enter your time until you find it.

Standard Time® has a solution, just for you!

It’s called Timesheet Favorites.

If you’re like most people, you have just one or two projects you’re working on right now.  Those are your favorites.  So why sort through all the rest?

Just click Favorites… choose the projects you want... and go to work!

  • Timesheet clutter is gone
  • Scrolling is gone
  • You’re in and out, in no time

Timesheet favorites!  A new Standard Time feature just for you.

Download and see for yourself!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmOJ7C80Izs

MS Project Integration with Timesheet


In this video let’s take a look at bringing in a Microsoft Project file. Turns out you can integrate with MS Project for the purposes of tracking time to project tasks. When you bring in an MPP file into Standard Time® you’ll see all of the tasks that you are assigned to on your timesheet. If you log in as a different user you may see different tasks that those users are assigned to. After you’ve logged time administrators can then send that time back to MS Project.

To get started I’m going to choose Tools, Projects and then the projects dialog opens up. I can then go to the Tools menu in that project dialog and choose New Project and name the new project anything I like. I’ll name it MS Project. I can then go up to the Tools menu again and choose Microsoft Project Integration Wizard. When I do that a wizard comes open that allows me to go and integrate with a Microsoft Project MPP file. I can then browse for that file open it up and here’s it’s actually complaining about having a local hard drive path to the file. But this should be OK this is just a test. The next thing I’d want to do is Test the Connection to make sure I can see all the tasks in that file. When I do that MS Project opens up and I see all of the tasks listed here. They all look good to me so I’ll click close, click Next, click Next again, you can choose to have a Bidirectional or Unidirectional connection to MS Project; I’ll choose Bidirectional and also choose to Map the work column in MS Project to the Standard Time duration column. I’ll click next again, then click finish. Standard Time will go out to MS Project and pull down those tasks. So when I click OK I can then go over to the Project Tasks tab; I see my new project here, all of the tasks listed, some of those are assigned to me some to other users. I’m going to check the Quick Task check box and that causes those tasks to show up in the timesheet. When I go over to the timesheet, open up the project I then see the summary tasks and the actual tasks assigned to me. I can then go and put in some hours for those tasks. I’m going to send this time back to MS Project. Now that I’ve done that I can go over to the View menu choose Refresh Project Tasks. This is only available to administrators who want to send the actual work back to MS Project. I choose that and see my project listed here, to send the time back to Project I click Refresh Now. We can see the project file has been updated; I click OK, close this then I can open my MS Project file and see the results. We see here we have some actual work on those tasks that we have been working on in the Standard Time timesheet. I’ll close out of the MS Project file.

That’s essentially the round-trip story for MS Project files-you simply bring them in, integrate with them, log some time to them and go and refresh the project tasks to send the actual work back to MS Project.

Hopefully that helps!

Benefits of using Standard Time®


This segment addresses the three benefits or biggest benefits of using Standard Time®. And addresses the three biggest pain points that consulting and manufacturing companies have. Those being 1. Being to maximize your billable versus non billable hours and addressing admin vs non admin time. 2. having priorities messed up so that you’re working on projects that don’t matter. 3. Cost over-runs or budget over-runs. I’m going to address those quickly. First thing you see here with the Standard Time timesheet is you get a weekly total at the bottom so that you make sure that you’re hitting your weekly goals. Another thing you can do is go over to the left hand side, open up this Billing section and look at Billable hours. We see 24 ¼ hours here, if I click on Not billable you have 18 ½ hours. So you can compare and find you’re billable versus non billable hours. Another thing you can do is go to the Tools Users and Organization, right click on a user, choose email notification and make sure you get an email out when people have less than 40 hours or people haven’t submitted their timesheet for approval. That obviously doesn’t affect billable vs non billable but it does make sure people get their time in. Another thing you can do is run a Utilization report from the Management section. When I run that, in this case I’ll run it for the last 120 days, you’re able to see the billable vs the non-billable plus the percentages for each user. Then you’re also able to see the effective billing rate so you can keep those billable rates under control.

This next pain point would be having priorities messed up so that you’re working on projects that don’t matter or their not strategic to the company. One of the things you can do here is run a pie chart, I’m going to run the pie chart for projects, no filtering. You see right off the bat which projects are having the most time spent on those so those would be the highest priority. And you can check yourself to make sure you’re doing the higher priority projects. You might consider running another report, a custom report Project Percentages. This is a simple little report that finds all the percentages for each project. This is much like the pie chart but in textual form where you can make sure you are working on the projects that are highest priority to you.

The third pain point I’d like to address for consulting and manufacturing companies would be budget overruns. If you click on the Project Tasks tab this can be set up so you see columns for the Cost Client, Cost Client Actual and Cost Client Remaining. You can also see salary rates. You can use these to find out where your project is. You can see % complete, status % column, things like that to help you see where your project is. If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet you’re not likely to get this kind of information. So that’s a valuable dashboard view. If I open up another report Project Budget Burn we can see here from a report like this a list of all the projects and for each project we get to see the budgeted amount, the amount used on tasks, amount used on expenses and then the remaining amount for each project. That is another way to keep those things under control.

Those are some of the ways Standard Time can help keep the company in line for those three issues. Which were the billable vs non-billable hours, project priorities messed up and budget and cost over-runs. Hopefully that has helped!

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZQdNknupIc

Best and Easiest Timesheet


Hey, Warren. I was wondering if you could go through one thing for me. Could you in just a few minutes show me why Standard Time® is the best timesheet and why I should use it above others that are on the market?

Sure. Standard Time probably is one of the easiest timesheets to use on the market. For example it’s very intuitive, you see your projects and tasks in your timesheet. You can assign those to employees according to what you want them to see. But more importantly when the employee puts their time in they literally type their hours into the timesheet and they’re done. Most of the other tools on the market force your employees to make 4 or 5 drop down choices every time they enter their time, including whether it’s billable or not. That leaves room for mistakes and obviously isn’t as easy to utilize whereas Standard Time allows your project manager or administrator to set that up on the front end, then your employee simply enters their time and they’re done with it. The other thing an employee can do is run a single timer if they prefer to use timers, they don’t have to type their time they can do that. And if you’re going to use timers there’s a third method; you can go here to the View menu, scroll down to Quick Tasks, when you open up the Quick Tasks window you can check a box and it starts to time that tasks. And if you want to go to something else you check a different box. It stops timer the first one and starts timing the next one. This stays in the foreground of Windows and all day long as you toggle back and forth it puts that time in your timesheet every time you check boxes. It’s pretty simple to use, it’s one of the main advantages. The other thing it has, although the timesheet is simple there is a whole lot of project management functionality in Standard Time. For instance you can go to the Tools menu, you can see Billing Rates, and you can have multiple billing rates per employee or type of work for every single type of project you run. So it’s very flexible in that manner. If you want to see some other project management stuff; if I click on this tab here, Project Tasks tab, it’s a little dashboard screen that gives you a little update on all your projects. And you can customize this window to display a multitude of columns. You can show cost client actual or employee salary to date, there’s are all kinds of things you can view in this window. And each person gets to choose what they want to see without changing it throughout the whole organization.

Is there an extra fee for the project management and other features?

No, it’s all included so everything in Standard Time is onetime fee for the license and that’s it. In fact there is a web version Standard Time comes with as well, we’re looking at the Windows version buy you get both Windows and Web along with all the expense tracking and all that goes with it at no extra charge. We do not charge you anything for all of the components it’s automatically included in one price. I’ve shown you the timesheet the Project Tasks tab. If I click on the Time Log tab this is a simple historical record of all the time entered in through the timesheet, they become what we call time logs. The Expenses the same is true, if you enter expenses into Standard Time they appear in this window. Billing is the same, all your invoices will show in this window. And your Time Off, Standard Time allows you to create as many time off reasons as you want. It will automatically accrue at the rates or levels you set for each employee. And when employees request time off and it’s approved by the manager it gets deducted from the amount available in their bank of time for whatever reason they are utilizing.

There’s no extra fee for this automatic time accrual?

No, not at all. Here’s the time off reasons in the timesheet. You get to type in your request and there’s no extra charge for that. It automatically calculates and accrues and keeps track of all that stuff. In fact there’s a litany of reports you can run that are included in that as well. One of the reports is Time off reports which I won’t get into here but if I click on the Time logs reports you can see if I click on List, by employee and I want to see for the last 60 days, I run this report. It breaks out by person and you can see what each person did for that time range. And it comes in with a built-in report writer so you can customize or change these reports or create your own if you like. And all that is included with the price there is no extra charge with that either. Now if you want to go over here on the project management side of things you go to the View menu and scroll down to Project Revenue. This will show you the expected revenue and you can choose a certain project or all projects to see what you’re expected to gain throughout the coming months. Another thing you might want to look at is in the View menu, Employee Status, it gives you a quick little glance what your employees are tracking time against or what they are doing. And from a more project management side View, Project Resource Allocation is nice. If you click on Resource Allocation you can see the inverse; I can see who is available right now. Jill is allocated in this week but out into the future she has plenty of time available to take on additional work. And you can look at this by department or companywide. In this case I’ll choose another employee, let’s look at Buzz Paterson. When I click on Buzz you tell Buzz is not able to accept any work clear out into July. And then he’s available to take on additional work.

That’s awesome!

In addition there is automatic email notification that will warn the employee that their timesheet doesn’t contain enough hours or that a task is overdue or scheduled to start. There are a lot of features in here that you can utilize or you can turn them off.

Thank you!

Time Off and PTO Accruals


Here is a little tip for your Human Resources manager!

Time Off accruals in Standard Time®.

You know… for vacation, sick, personal time.

Standard Time is more than a timesheet.  It accrues time for PTO and other time off reasons.  And, employees can submit time off requests for vacations and other things.

Managers approve them.  Time is subtracted from their bank of hours.  Employees get time off.  And everybody is happy!

Did you know Standard Time even computes compensatory time?  Otherwise known as comp time?

And even has customizable time off reasons that employees see in their timesheets?

  1. Eliminate your time off management nightmare
  2. Keep managers in the loop and up to date
  3. Keep employees happy!

Send this link to your human resources manager and tell them you liked it.

Then download and show them how it works!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuVPH_aZ45Y

Employee Utilization Report


Hey Warren. We have consultants working on billable projects for clients and they have a certain client billable rate that each client works on. Problem is they don’t always work on billable projects. Sometimes they work on an admin project or an in house project. What I’d like to know is the final effective billing rate that we end up with on these consultants. Is that something that Standard Time® can do?

Absolutely. There are a couple ways Standard Time can help you. One way is you can simply look at a person’s timesheet if you want to and see what projects they are working on, it’s as simple as that. Another idea and something Standard Time offers is a report that will show you some ones billable time or their effective billing rate. Let me touch base on both of those briefly here. I’m looking at my timesheet right now. If I wanted to see what a particular person was doing or see if they were working on a billable project; I can go up here to the Users menu, as an administrator I can do this whereas end users cannot. I can go ahead and see Jordan Ford; I open up my list of users and click on Jordan Ford’s name. When I do you’re going to notice my timesheet will change because now I’ll be viewing Jordan Ford’s timesheet. If I needed to I can make changes to this timesheet or make adjustments if I have the user right to do so. Even as an administrator you can prevent people from changing timesheets if necessary. Then when I want to go back to my normal view and see my timesheet or someone else’s you can either click on another name to view another timesheet or to remove the filter all together and go back to my normal view. I click the yellow X up here on the top of the toolbar and that will take me back to my normal view. Now the report I was talking about is found here under the Management Reports. If I expand that I can scroll down to the bottom and show Utilization and rates. So when I open up this report I can view it by user, by project or any number of ways I choose to. In this case I want to just look at a couple projects. Let’s look at LBIR-Phase 2 and if I hold down my control key I can look at Chevron at the same time. And every choice I make will appear in the bottom left corner of this window. And in fact let’s make one more choice; let’s say I just want to see only This week. I’ve made these choices at the bottom and I can save these choices if I want to run reports repetitively over the course of time. In this case I’m going to run it today so I click OK. When I do the report pops up and I can see what Jordan Ford worked on, we can see that Jordan was scheduled 40 hours, he actually worked 22.2 hours and of those 22.2 hours every one of them were billable so therefore he’s considered 100% billable. However a distinction here is utilization percentage. He was only 55% utilized, in other words although all of his time was billable he was scheduled 40 hours and only worked 22. Therefore he was underutilized.

I see that Effective Billing Rate over on the right hand side essentially $51.59 per hour.

Exactly. You can see at the bottom he was a net loss for the company. And if you look at this other person here, Warren, you can see he scheduled 44 hours, worked 40.45 all of them were billable, 100% billable. My Utilization was 91.9%. In that sense if you look at the Effective Billing Rate I’m pretty accurate, I’m pretty close to where I should be. And this employee is a net profit for the company. And when you combine the two at the bottom that’s what this bottom number gives you, the combined efforts of everybody in the report. It shows you that although one person was a net loss and one person was a net gain; combined together you still had a profit between the two employees.

OK, that about does it. Thank you.

Watch the video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKVs1XnHMPo


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