How to Capture Wasted Time at Work

THE QUESTION: Recently you’ve been exhausted and less productive at work because of lack of sleep. You find yourself getting distracted and frequently nodding off. As a part-time employee, you are paid hourly, required to track your work hours, and expected to submit a timesheet biweekly. For your last pay period, you’ve easily wasted two hours due to your lack of productivity. Although you’ve exceeded past expectations, met deadlines, and plan to get more sleep and work harder over the next pay period, you’re considering subtracting two hours from your current timesheet before submitting it to your supervisor.



A. Subtract the two hours from your timesheet and submit it.

B. Decide that previous productivity makes up for wasted time, and submit your full timesheet without subtracting anything.

C. Seek advice from your supervisor, and follow his/her guidance.

D. Submit your full timesheet, and work an extra unbilled two hours next pay period to rectify the situation.



I picked A: Subtract the two hours from your timesheet and submit it. Some things I thought about…


  1. Part-time vs. salaried employee. As a salaried employee sometimes I work more than 40 hours a week and don’t get payed for them. So if I was less productive one week, and over productive another week, I feel it balances out (answer B). But, because I am an hourly employee, I should only be logging the hours I am working. Being distracted or nodding off is not working, and I need to take ownership of that.


  1. Cause of exhaustion. Am I exhausted because I am overworked? If so, that seems like a discussion I need to have with my supervisor. It is my responsibility to communicate so I can be in a position to succeed. If this is the case, seeking advice (answer C) should happen before timesheets are due. It should not be a justification for my fudged timesheet.


Well, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your answer and why in the comments below.

Dilemmas are a powerful way to improve your life now by testing your values. Keep discovering your values by answering more dilemmas here.