43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Open Thread: How are you using Excel?

Yesterday, I mentioned I'd been talking with someone who's looking at interesting things people are doing with Microsoft Excel. I talked to her again yesterday, and with her official okey-dokey, I'll virtually introduce Tralee Pearce (*waves*), a reporter from Toronto's Globe & Mail whom you might remember from a very swell article about the Hipster PDA.

So, by request -- and to help Tralee with fleshing out her fun-sounding article -- I hope you all will jump in here: What kind of cool, novel, and non-obvious stuff are you doing with Excel? What's the wildest, most obsessive, most nerdy thing you ever saw someone do with our favorite spreadsheet program?

Amy's picture

Under the category of "nerdy...

Under the category of "nerdy and obsessive" --

When Entertainment Weekly's summer and fall movie previews come out, I make giant charts of the movies I want to see and when they come out, ranked according to how badly I want to see them and using a color code to indicate if I am willing to pay full price or if I will only go on the bargain ($4) night. I send the file to my friends so they can add their input in their respective columns, and then I use the information to plan our movie nights. To my friends' credit, they mock me mercilessly and don't actually fill out the chart, but I usually get enough general comments to determine what they feel like seeing.

My Excel geekiness knows no bounds -- It extends to TV and books as well. I'm in the process of putting together my personal schedule for the fall, using color codes to show what I'm going to tape versus what I'm going to watch in real time, using different tabs to sort out the premiere dates by week, etc. I also keep a running list of things to request from the library, updating it with a mini-review once I've read the book. These are also things I get teased about, but whatever.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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