Month: October 2023

Non-glamorous pre-walking skills

Even though my 10 month old son Barak has not yet taken his first steps, I am super excited.


Because this isn’t my first rodeo – I have witnessed firsthand the evolution of how his older sister Amina started walking.

Take for example, the fundamental skills that Barak has been working on diligently these past 10 months:

  1. Strengthening and leveraging the muscles in his legs and the rest of his body.
  2. Understanding the environment around him and how he can interact with it.
  3. Improving his balance.

Granted, his balance is still not quite there but once it is, it won’t be long before he takes his first steps unassisted. He may even surprise himself at how “suddenly” walking became possible for him.

But it’s not magic, and it’s anything but sudden. He has been working behind the scenes for 10 months.

So how does this all relate to Excel?

I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there are 3 fundamental skills in Excel that you must learn & master before you can truly leverage the more exciting and advanced topics:

  1. Navigation
  2. Formatting
  3. Formulas

Even though it may not be exciting, these are the necessary and non-glamorous pre-walking skills in Excel.

Fortunately, I teach a 3 part course on exactly those topics.

To find out more, reply with the words “pre-walking skills” and we’ll take it from there.

#nonglamorous #behindthescenes #buildingblocks #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Another route saves nap time

If you’re a parent you already know the crucial but fragile nature of nap time.

For everyone else, here’s a little context. Nap time plays a crucial role in the day to day functioning of any household with a small child. However, even a small distraction has the potential to throw off the timing of a nap, and as a result can derail the rest of the day (and night).

Now that we’re all on the same page….

On our way to the playground, my 10 month old son Barak was taking a little longer than usual to go to down for his nap in the stroller.

Mind you, had I entered the park while he was still awake, he would not have fallen asleep the entire time at the park, and maybe not even on the way home. In other words, the rest of the evening would have been pure chaos.

So, I did what any self respecting and sleep desiring parent would do – I took another route to buy us another 10 min of walking for Barak to fall asleep BEFORE entering the park. Fortunately, it worked! He slept for a good 45 min while his older sister Amina played on the swings and slides.

The lesson?

Having the ability to use an alternate route to get to the same destination is super helpful as a parent, as well as an excel user.

In a recent 1-on-1 Excel training session, I helped my client link multiple worksheets together. Instead of only having one approach that was too complex (e.g. INDEX and MATCH functions) I showed my client a simpler and more direct approach to accomplish the same task (e.g. simple cell references pointing to the desired cells).

Naturally, to celebrate we both took a nap :).

To learn more about filling your Excel toolbelt with multiple approaches to solving problems, drop me a line so can see if we’re a good fit to work together.

#naptime #parentresourcefullness #multiplesolutions #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Unexpected productivity in a Costco parking lot

It’s not every day that I find myself in a Costco parking lot with nothing to do but wait for my daughter to wake up.

And yet, being flexible and ready to work on some tasks for just such an occasion has allowed me the space for some expected and welcomed productivity.

Not bad for a Monday afternoon, right?

Interestingly, it has always been helpful for me to have different categories of tasks (e.g. personal, official business / administrative tasks, work/business, etc.) to create a mental framework of what I’m working on. It also helps me get in the mental “zone” and create some productivity momentum in one specific category instead of switching around from one category to another.

Over the years, it has also been helpful for me to ensure I have the right tools for the right task, at the right time. For example, my phone is perfect for on-the-go tasks or unexpected quiet time. Having said that, sometimes I really do need my computer and a spreadsheet to be open, for any kind of detailed analysis or projections/calculations.

Bottom line?

Always be prepared for productivity even in the unexpected downtime.

Otherwise, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media without moving the needle forward for your business or your personal life.

And that would not be a great way to spend the day, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

#productivity #beflexible #naptimequiettime #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Tupperware over toys?

Asking me to predict what my kids will choose to play with is like asking me to predict the winning Powerball numbers.

Simply ain’t worth the effort.

Who would have known that my son Barak would find Tupperware more entertaining than toys and books?!?

The lesson for me is instead of trying to predict what he will like, create a safe space for him to explore, experiment, and discover what he likes on his own. This means that in this context, my role is more supportive and behind the scenes than it is an active and center stage.

For my Excel clients and students, I do my best to instill in them an understanding of how to play a supportive role with the spreadsheets they create for their clients and stakeholders.

Let the end-user explore on their own, and be ready to adapt the spreadsheet to better meet their needs and interests as they become more clear.

Has your child or stakeholder ever surprised you by showing interest in something you never thought they would? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

#unpredictable #letthemlead #stayflexible #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Messy learning

Letting my kids get messy while eating is the cleanest decision I can make as a parent.

Allow me to explain.

Barak is right at the beginning of his super messy eating phase.

Amina is fortunately on the other side of her messy journey, where she feeds herself in a mostly clean manner. This not only keeps the mess to a minimum, it also frees up our time as parents to do other things while she eats.

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

If you lead a team, my advice to you is simple: let them get as messy as possible with their spreadsheets. Be sure to make copies first so they can make mistakes and break things with zero negative impact. Eventually they will become more proficient, independent, and clean with their spreadsheets. But first, they have to get messy!

To find out more about Excel team training, leave a comment with the word “messy” and I’ll hook you up with all the details.

#messyeating #patience #itgetsbetter #parentwisdom #backups #excelwell #sharetheexcellove