Learning to Use Spreadsheets

Even though I am a pastor, I found myself using spreadsheets more and more often. I also found the limits of using Word documents for planning purposes. But I never learned to use them beyond basic input. In previous jobs, I relied on the templates created by others, but I knew very little of how to change them.

So I gave myself a goal recently to learn to use spreadsheets well. I should I have set a measurable goal. Instead, I set a process goal. I watch 2-3 tutorial videos per week, and then implement it on my current projects.

Our office suite at the church is Google Docs, so I've been learning Google Sheets.

The best channel I've found for this is the Learn Google Spreadsheets channel. The Google Sheets for Beginners playlist is the playlist I'm working my way through. One way to get through them a little quicker is to adjust the speed to 1.5 speed.

My favorite tricks I've learned so far are:

  • Using data validation to create input options for tasks on a list. 
  • Linking cells from different sheets to do formulas across different sheets automatically. The day before I learned this trick, I told Emma, "I wish I knew how to get cells from different sheets so that I can calculate totals of everything in the different ledgers." Bingo.

One of my favorite things about this kind of learning is motivation. I enjoyed the classroom during college and seminary. But this is different. I know that I am slow and unable to do planning or financial documents, so I'm motivated. This type of learning project could be applied to all sorts of fields. Don't throw your hands up and say, "I don't know how." Get on YouTube, and find out how. 30-45 minutes per week will add up.

This idea started with other learning projects that I started almost 2 years ago. A little made a big difference in 2 years, and now I use it to learn all sorts of things for my work or hobbies.


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