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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”What’s 43 Folders?”
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?

inkling's picture

I journal in Excel, to...

I journal in Excel, to the great amusement of friends and family.

I'm in an informal men's group and we were reading a book on being better husbands, fathers and achieving better work-life balance. For the first two weeks we decided to keep a journal tracking what we did by the hour. Three hours working, two in front of the TV, 15 min. actually playing with kids, etc. Nearly everyone carried pen and paper as they went through the day. One of our geekier members put everything into MS Word on his iBook.

But my thought was, "how can I make the data actually usable, sortable and actionable?" Obvious! Code everything into an Excel spreadsheet so I can display the results day by day, action by action, and most time vs. least time.

The results were highly usable, but also mercilessly ridiculed by everyone else in the group. They are Philistines, you see.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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