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The four most important spreadsheets in my life that hopefully I will never have to live without

Saturday March 12th, 2016 in Data | No Comments »

To 9 Months

At my work I have a regular coffee catch-up with the other business managers from across the organisation. We mainly don’t talk about work, and instead have standing agenda items like cat café and destination weddings. One day we had an extremely interesting conversation about how we manage spreadsheets in a romantic relationship. We discussed issues of design and data entry and the different ways each of us had found to negotiate the quagmire without the need for professional mediation.

Anyway, I mention that because my spreadsheets are important to me and I suspect I am not alone in this. I’d like to share with you the main sheets that I am using at the moment.


I have a monthly budget against which I track all my expenses and earnings against various categories. At the end of each year I do a lovely pie chart.

Presents and Borrowings

I note down the presents that we receive and things that we’ve borrowed. So if I’ve still got something of yours, I’m well aware of it, I’m just too lazy to do anything about it.

Renovation spreadsheet

I share this one with my partner in Google Sheets and since I redesigned the sheet to suit me I hardly ever shout at him about it. It keeps a record of the staggering amount we have spent on the renovation as well as the predicted future costs and yet I suspect we will still claim to be surprised when we have to go and live in our car.

Feeding and sleeping

This is where I track the feeding and sleeping of my baby in 15 minutes increments. This is very normal. I would like to note that contrary to what my family members may tell you I have never kept a poos and wees spreadsheet. This mean-spirited rumour started because for a short two week period in 2012 I had a ‘cloth nappy assessment sheet’ where I tracked the performance of various nappies in order to inform my purchasing. I hope this clears the issue up and everybody will now please STOP SPREADING LIES.

So, what spreadsheets are you keeping? Do you let anyone else touch them? Do you think you could stop if you wanted to?


Saturday April 5th, 2014 in Data, Writing | No Comments »

Feeling like I was getting nowhere on my next manuscript, I did what I often do when I feel a bit overwhelmed. I started a spreadsheet.

I list the date and word count at the end of the day’s writing. From this I calculate my average words written per day since I started the sheet in mid-January. I then assume linear progress and have projected a finishing date. (Assuming that the first draft will be 50,000 words.)

This is not the world’s most artistic approach to writing but it has certainly motivated me to get more words on the screen. I have a strong desire to keep my average up.

These are my current figures:

Average words written daily: 187

Projected completion date: 10 July 2014

And I’m proud to say that this graph shows that I’ve been making pretty steady progress:


 Of course that doesn’t mean it will be finished on that date. It’s just my projected date for having a sloppily written first draft with a rambling plot and way too many characters. I think after that the real work will start, and it might be harder to graph.