Tracking and Logging Time in LiquidPlanner

Alison Clancy | August 12, 2011

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When I was first hired,  one of my favorite things about LiquidPlanner was that the software could be used as a full time tracking system. At one of my previous jobs, we had to go old school and record our hours by using a good ol’ pen and paper, which was incredibly tedious, not to mention completely inaccurate. LiquidPlanner’s system makes time tracking easy, and even a little fun (I promise).

1. Timers

Using Timers

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Oh, I’ll save writing this blog post until the end of the day, it should only take me an hour or so.” Eight hours, five cups of coffee and a lot of self-loathing later, you’re still not finished. And you’ll know exactly how long it took you to write that post because of LiquidPlanner’s timers.

For each task assigned to you, you will see a blue timer icon. When you start the timer, the icon will turn orange and the bouncing timer bar will appear. The timer will keep running until you stop it by clicking it again, or until you start a timer on a different task (only one timer can be active at a time). After you’ve stopped the timer, the accumulated time is held for you, and you can apply it to your timesheet. How easy is that? It’s really interesting to see how long it actually takes you to finish those “easy” tasks, or how long it takes you to finish something if you keep checking Facebook ever five minutes (you know who you are).

2. Logging Progress To Tasks That Don’t Appear On Your Timesheet

Add Task

Tasks can be sneaky little devils sometimes. They might not show up on your timesheet because they aren’t scheduled during or near the current date.  Or maybe you’re not the owner of the task.  In any case, to track time on a task that doesn’t show up on your timesheet, click the “Add Task” button at the top of your timesheet to locate and add the task. Or go to the Projects section, right-click that task, and select “Log Progress on Timesheet.”

3. Using Activity Codes

Billing Activity Codes

In LiquidPlanner, when time is tracked on a task, the time entry is associated to an activity code. “How the heck do you do that?,” you may be asking yourself. The workspace owner can define a set of activity codes via workspace > timesheet management > timesheet settings.

Activity Codes are great if you’re working with different clients. You can set up a specific activity code for each one, or use them for general categories of work (like Support, Sales, Accounting, etc.) Say you’ve set up an Activity Code called “Print Marketing.” Under the Project tab, you can multi-select the tasks that you want to associate with that activity code. After they’ve been selected, click Edit>Edit Item to open the Edit Pane. Now you can assign the same Activity Code to all of the tasks at once.

Again, when you log time to any of these tasks, the time entry will be associated to the “Print Marketing” activity.  All of this will show up on your timesheet export as well (more on that in a minute).

4. Timesheet Review and Approval

Timesheet Management General

TGIF! It’s Friday and it’s time for you to submit your timesheet, so you can go ahead and click the “Submit Timesheet” button. The status for that timesheet will then change from “not ready” to “ready for review.” Once the manager/head person in charge receives the submitted timesheet, they can approve it and change the status to “locked.” A timesheet can always be unlocked if additional edits need to be made.

For the Workspace manager: you can review and approve timesheets at Workspace > Timesheet Management > Timesheet Review. Here are some other handy tips for when you’re poking around that section of LiquidPlanner:

  • Use the filter tools to find the timesheets you want to review and approve. If you are following a formal review process, that’s typically just timesheets with the status “Ready for Review.”
  • Click the time period to open a specific timesheet.
  • Use the “approve & lock” button on the timesheet to take those actions.
  • Timesheets still in not ready state can also be approved & locked; or you can request attention from the timesheet owner.

5. Exporting Time Tracking from LiquidPlanner

Exporting Time Tracking

As I mentioned before, managers can also export timesheets. Need to generate invoices to send to clients or perform some in-depth analysis? LiquidPlanner’s got you covered! Workspace owners, co-owners and managers are all invited to the export party:

  • Go to workspace > timesheet management > timesheet export
  • Use the filter tools to identify the timesheets you want to export.
  • Choose the preferred export format (XML, CSV, or Quickbooks).
  • Quickbooks users please note: exporting timesheet data to Quickbooks requires that you complete a one-time configuration in advance.
  • Your export file will contain sufficient information to uniquely identify each time log entry.

If you are using timesheets for invoicing, we recommend that you export only locked timesheets and develop an internal protocol for coordinating your data transfers. Another great Help Guide article to check out on this topic: Timesheet Data Analysis in Excel.