What is Manual time-tracking?

Manual time tracking is the process of tracking work hours manually for different projects or tasks, rather than using automated software. This can be done using a variety of methods, such as:

Paper Timesheets:

Paper timesheets are the most traditional form of manual time tracking. Employees simply write down the time they start and finish each task on a paper timesheet. At the end of the day or week, the timesheets are collected and submitted to the manager for approval.

Digital Spreadsheets:

Digital spreadsheets, like Excel or Google Sheets, can also track time manually. Employees can create a spreadsheet with columns for the task name, start time, end time, and duration. The spreadsheet can be saved and submitted to the manager for approval at the end of the day or week.

Time Cards:

Employees punch in and out on a time card at the beginning and end of their shifts.


Many vendors now offer free time tracking templates. You can download and fill out these templates and email them for approval.

Time tracking software:

There are also a variety of time tracking software available that can be used to track time manually. This type of software typically has a timer that employees can start and stop when they start and finish tasks. Or, the employees can fill in the work hours and details and submit them for approval.


The Pros and Cons of Manual time tracking for Businesses:


  • Cost: Manual time tracking is relatively inexpensive, requiring no specialized software or hardware.
  • Ease of implementation: Manual time tracking is also easy to implement, as it does not require any special training or setup.


  • Time-consuming: Manual time tracking can be time-consuming for employees and managers. Employees need to remember to start and end work times.
  • Prone to errors: Manual time tracking is also prone to errors. Employees may forget to start or stop their timers, or they may enter incorrect information.
  • Time theft: Employees may be tempted to enter work hours for which they did not work, which is called time theft.
  • Validation: It is difficult for managers to validate and approve spreadsheets or time cards that are filled up manually.
  • Difficult to scale: Manual time tracking can be challenging as a company grows. Managing and tracking spreadsheets or time cards for many employees becomes increasingly difficult.
  • Lack of insights: Manual time tracking provides limited insights how time is being spent. Identifying trends or patterns or pinpointing areas where efficiency can be improved can be difficult.
  • Calculation of payroll: In the absence of accurate time tracking for work hours, there are chances of mistakes in calculating payroll.

Manual time-tracking software can be a good option for small businesses or startups with limited resources. However, as a company grows, it is essential to consider switching to an automated time-tracking solution.

Automated time-tracking solutions can help save time, reduce errors, track time accurately, and provide valuable insights into time spent.