I know that lots of people love using a pen and paper to keep track of their books and blogging posts but I’m a digital girl. Way before I discovered Goodreads and even in the time since, I’ve always kept a list of the books I read in a Word document on my computer.
While I use a lot of other online tools–like Trello for blog posts in progress and Goodreads to track my reading dates–over the years, I’ve upgraded from my basic Word Documents to Excel Worksheets.
Just a note: I use Microsoft Excel simply because I have the program from my university days on my laptop; but I have used Google Sheets in the past too which is free if you have a Google account. It has very similar features and works in a similar way so it is a great option if you don’t have the Microsoft Office Suite.
I love reading my fellow bloggers posts about how they stay productive and so I thought that I would share how I do the same. Over the next few days, I’m going to share some more Tips posts about my experiences using Excel to help increase my blogging productivity and track my reading.
But in this post, I want to share some of the reasons why I love using Excel and how you can learn to love it to!
Don’t Be Intimated!
You don’t need to be an Excel Wizard to create a good spreadsheet! I really only knew the basic features of the program when I first started using it a few years ago. Honestly, my first spreadsheets were pretty simple and were really just me typing things into cells because it was easy to create tables in Excel than in Word.
It really has only been in the last year that I’ve learned a lot more about using Excel thanks to my job where I’ve started to use it more. I did take a basic Excel course through my library (for free!) but Google and Youtube make it super easy to teach yourself how to use Excel to its max potential. If you want to know how to do something, a quick Google search will usually do the trick!
Why I Love Using a Spreadsheet (or Two) for My Blog:
Easy to Format Cells
I’m a very visual person so I love colours in my agendas and calendars. Excel makes it super easy with its conditional formatting features to have cells or text change colours based on their contents. You can also create drop-down boxes with preset values which makes it easy to create tables for tracking things and updating them as needed.
The Worksheet’s page itself is very open unlike a Word Document. I like to think of it as a blank canvas that allows you to freely add text in any of the cells and then merge, move or erase anything you want.
Calculate Statistics Automatically
Within an Excel cell, you can create formulas to calculate values or even create charts based on information you’ve entered. It’s a great feature for bloggers who want to see their progress at a quick glance once they’ve set up the equations. And you can really calculate anything you want in one way or another.
Have Multiple Spreadsheets Within a File
I love that I can have multiple tabs within a single file! A lot of my spreadsheets are created for the year so it’s great that I can keep previous years within the same file to easily compare contents without having multiple files open at one time.
Lots of Templates To Play With!
From budgets to calendars and more, the beauty of Excel is that you can create whatever you want and need in a workbook!
Examples of Spreadsheets I Have Used for My Blog:
Here are some of the ways I’ve used Excel spreadsheets in the past and present:
- Library Holds Calculator – calculates the estimated time of arrival for a hold
- Reading Challenge Tracking – list of books I’ve read for specific challenges
- Reading Plans for the Year – ensure I hit my monthly reading targets
- Posting Calendar — read about it here!
- Books I Read in a Year — read about it here!
- Book Series on the Go — read about it here!
Stay tuned for future tips posts where I share my Posting Calendar, Annual Reading Lists and Series Tracking spreadsheets!