Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The power of a spreadsheet...

Do you use spreadsheets? Do you love them?

I do and I do. I have one labeled "The Master Spreadsheet of Stuff" and I keep track of all kinds of random information that I want to have available at the drop of a hat. Like my daily writing word counts, like how many words I've read and where those words came from. Remember those 13+ million words I read last year? This is a screen shot of a random section of that page. I used four columns and a few mathematical functions. My spreadsheet has about a dozen tabs, although some are previous years' info and are just there for occasional reference.

For the past three years (2016/2015/2014), I have run one of my writing group's two contests. Spreadsheets are a contest coordinator's best friend and (mostly) one-stop location to keep all the various data on hand and organized. Here's a peek at a random page of my contest spreadsheet. All personal information has been changed to generic filler.

The first fourteen columns hold entrant information: name, email address, book title, and assigned book number. Those columns on right side hold scores once they start coming back. In addition to rows and columns, I've utilized the power of fill color. The highlighted book titles (the wide column in the center) means that one author wrote both books. We try to refrain from sending judges more than one book by any given author. The brighter green at the top of those two columns just to the right of the book titles is just a visual indicator to me that every book has at least (in this case) two judges assigned. Our goal is five reads/five scores. So I've been working column by column.

Now, the other half of the spread sheet, the judges' half is a bit more colorful. You can see we've a got a bit of crossover because the scores are the crossover data. I won't bore you with explaining what all that color means, but suffice it to say, it's a handy to know where the contest stands at a glance.

As treasurer for my writing group, I have yet another spreadsheet that I use to track all the money. I have a tab for each category of income and expenses (membership dues, contest one, contest two, etc). A hand feature for this particular job is that I can reference cell data from one tab into another.

So, tell me, are you a spreadsheet junkie like me?


Unknown said...

I use spreadsheets all the time. When I was a Project Manager for retail construction, they kept track of client information, contractors, completion dates, etc. Now, they track characters in my book series, story arcs, names and historical references.

Jen FitzGerald said...

Absolutely, Connie!! Thanks for stopping by. :)