I had a big productivity win this week. A few weeks ago my boss told my Junior colleague to scrap the work he had done over the month in our mega spreasdsheet and start again. I thought what a waste of time, but it’s not my problem (one of my stress reduction techniques). Well it became my problem because by starting the spreadsheet again he had just wiped out 6 hours of my work fixing all the mistakes that was made in the previous month!!! I was quite furious when I found out. But after I calmed down I took it as a challenge, to fix it all in less time than the first time. So I quickly figured out a way to wrangle the 800 links down to 200 easy to enter links – and it took me just over 1 hour!!! That was the first productivity win. After that, I decided that there is a better way than re-entering the data if you don’t trust it – compare it with last month’s spreadsheet. So I downloaded and checked out a few comparison tools and found one that was fantastic – see my review to come. It took less than 5 minutes to compare the two month’s spreadsheets and find out where the differences are – now it’s just a simple matter of looking only at the differences to see where the problem lies – the product costs around $100 and when I showed the Junior what it did, he said he would happily part with the $100 out of his own pocket as it would have saved him a week’s work in re-entering the data again. When I showed the boss he loved it and told me to buy it straight away. Win 2 for Productivity!!!
The moral to this story is – In Excel, if it seems to hard, it is too hard. There is usualy already a simpler way to do it, or an add-in that someone else has written to help with your sticky Excel situations.