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Simple Excel time log

I'm a staff engineer at a public university, and one unpleasant administrative thing I have to do is log release time on various projects. The usual quarterly process was something like (mildly exaggerated for humor):

  1. Get a time log form from the clerical folks.
  2. "Didn't you start one of these when the project started?" "I'm sure I got the form, but I don't know where it is." "Oh. Here's another one, then."
  3. Run through modification dates on CAD models, code, whatever.
  4. Dig through receipts, emails, etc. for other reminders.
  5. Check DateBK5 for meetings, daily journal entries, etc.
  6. Scribble down dates, times, durations, and descriptions onto the log form.
  7. Realize that I'm not likely to get all these entries ordered by date on the first try.
  8. Erase log entries, get another sheet of paper, and collect every entry from the above primary sources.
  9. Scan temporary log for earliest date, copy it to the original form, tick-mark it on the temporary log. Repeat.

The attached Excel and OpenOffice sheets are a bit of an improvement on the last few steps. The basic usage would be to enter the project info at the top of the sheet, then fill out dates, starting/ending times, and descriptions into the log table below. The last column will automatically calculate durations, and the sheet header will automatically calculate the date range on your entries. And finally, the sheet header will total up all the durations for the final goal, the answer to "how many hours do you have on this project since (insert date here)?".

One good thing with this setup is that I don't have to worry about the processing phase as much. Just run through each information source and dump dates, times, and tasks. Sort them afterwards with the built-in data sort on any spreadsheet program.

And I get to look slightly more competent. Comments or suggestions welcomed, as is moving this thread somewhere more suitable if needed.

About mwr

mwr's picture


Mike Renfro is a Research and Development Engineer in the Center for Manufacturing Research at Tennessee Technological University. One part mechanical engineer, one part Unix sysadmin, and ten parts redneck je ne sais quoi. Married and taking orders from two cats in Cookeville, TN.




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