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Say the word “spreadsheet” around certain people, and you’ll make them shudder. There are formulas, functions, tables, and all kinds of features that make your head spin. Plus, your job doesn’t really involve numbers, so you don’t see the point.

But the beauty of spreadsheets is that they can be whatever you want them to be. And in many cases, they’ll instantly make you look more organized at work. And the more organized you look, the better impression you’ll make. Really! It’s that easy to come off as put together at work.

Not quite sold yet? Here are four times you should be using spreadsheets at work—no matter what industry you’re in:


1. To Keep Track of Your Changes

Some projects are really complicated. There are a lot of little things that need to get done and they’re really hard to keep track of. Spreadsheets can make it a whole lot easier.

Let’s say you’re working on a really important report that senior leadership wants to send out to your most important clients. Your spreadsheet doesn’t have to be complex, but you should have something on-hand to help you keep track of what you’ve changed and when you’ve made changes.


track changes


2. To Create Simple To-Do Lists

There are a lot of apps on the market that make to-do lists fun. Yes, fun. And because they’re so fun, they can feel a little overwhelming.

May I introduce you to my friend, the spreadsheet?

It’s an amazing tool when all you need is something a little simpler.

to do list



See? This is just a simple list of my tasks for the day. The beauty of this spreadsheet is that I was able to repurpose the previous example and quickly create a functional document for myself. It’s not flashy, but it’s easy to read and to create at the beginning of the week.


3. To Guide Your Teammates

Once, I gave a co-worker a long list of links that I needed her to update. And even though she’s a nice person, she responded, “What on earth am I supposed to do with this?” And that was a totally fair response. And one that taught me a basic spreadsheet would’ve made her life a lot easier.


instructions



You’ve probably noticed a theme here—these aren’t difficult to create!


4. To Get Feedback

In a previous job, I was constantly scheduling people. But I had a hard time finding ways to get their availability. Then someone showed me how to create a form using a Google Sheet, and my life was forever changed.

poll



You can use this for much more than scheduling. Want feedback on a recent project? Need to find out what your colleagues are working on? Trying to figure out dinner plans for the team? Use a Google Sheet to collect the data you need quickly.



Spreadsheets can seem intimidating because of things like formulas and number. And historically, I’ve avoided them at all costs.

But there are some really simple ways that they can actually make your life a little easier. None of the examples here took me more than 10 minutes, but they help reduce a lot of the clutter on my calendar.

Do you use Google spreadsheets for anything we didn’t discuss here? Let me know on Twitter.