Category: Uncategorized

Order of errand operations

As a parent of 2 young children, I can safely say that nothing is more luxurious than eating lunch by myself, outside on a beautiful day. If you’re a parent you already understand. If you aren’t, enjoy your freedom :).

But it wasn’t all fun and games for me today, I had a laundry list of errands to run. And if I wasn’t careful and highly efficient with my time, that luxurious lunch would end up biting me in the rear end. For example, if I went to Costco first, the groceries would be sitting in a hot car for too long. The strawberries and salmon probably wouldn’t appreciate that none too much.

Fortunately, I was able to optimize my time by dropping off my wife first, getting the car inspected, and then stopping by Target to drop off an old car seat. When I saw a Shake Shack in the Target shopping center, I immediately shifted gears from my original plan and proceeded to indulge in my luxurious, solitary lunch.

The point is, I knew what had to get done, and I knew my constraints (e.g. time, location, temperature requirements for the groceries, etc), and was able to work within that and ensure the correct order of errand operations for the day. Mission accomplished!

Now, in math there is also an order of operations, famously known as PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction). Fortunately, Excel adopted this standard instead of reinventing the wheel.

The most important element here in Excel is the parentheses, because they have the power to FORCE certain calculations to occur before others within formulas.

For me, my wife was a parentheses, and while that sounds absolutely terrible, I mean it in the most positive way possible. If I did not drive her first she would be late for her meeting, so I put her in parentheses and jumped her to the top of the errand list :).

One quick Excel point – only use parentheses in your formula if they are actually necessary. If your formula calculates correctly without them, leave them out. Too many parentheses will still work inside a formula, but they will add clutter and create unnecessary confusion.

May your errands, both in and outside of the spreadsheet, be smooth and efficient, leveraging the best possible order of operations.

#metime #errands #parentluxuries #parentwisdom #PEMDAS #ordermatters #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Same path, new perspective

Same path, new perspective

On this beautiful spring day at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, I can’t help but marvel at the serenity of this oasis amidst the chaos of the city.

Funny thing is, I have walked this exact path before, just this past winter. Yet, not surprisingly, it looks nothing like it does today now that the flowers are blooming. I am blessed with an entirely new adventure during this different season of the year.

I have experienced this same phenomenon with many Excel projects over the years. For example, something as simple as an updated data import has dramatically impacted the results of my spreadsheet. Even my current mood and level of focus plays a major role in the way I interact with, and how I leverage the power of spreadsheets.

If you would like a completely different perspective on your current spreadsheet, from your friendly neighborhood Excel expert, leave a comment with “same path” and I’d be happy to share a new perspective.

#botanicalgardens #spring #daffodils #perspective #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Annual clarity inspection

I am clearly a new car owner, because until a few days ago I had no idea that I have to perform an annual New York State safety inspection. If I don’t, I could face fines, and will also not be able to renew my car registration.

Interestingly enough, learning this actually made me happy, despite the hassle of spending time out of my day to get the car inspected, because it meant that everyone else is subject to the same rigorous procedures.

Not only do all individual car owners benefit from this, but everyone else benefits as well because it reduces the number of accidents and injuries.

So why is there nothing like this in Excel?!?

To be fair, I believe it would be quite an overreach for some regulatory agency to swoop in and require quality control over your private spreadsheets.

Having said that, instead of an annual safety inspection, perhaps a self-directed annual CLARITY inspection could be a positive thing.

How many times have you received a spreadsheet from a colleague or a client, and had no idea what you were looking at?

Sadly, it happens to me all the time.

The number one step we can take to address this issue?


Use comprehensive and succinct labels for everything in your spreadsheet. For example:

  1. Sheet names
  2. Headers for all your columns in your data tables
  3. Labels next to complex formulas

And the list goes on and on.

Even if you don’t plan on sharing your spreadsheet with anyone, using labels will help your future self understand what you were doing.

Plus, once you develop the habit it takes almost no time or effort, and has a huge payoff down the road.

Looking for another pair of eyes to check the clarity of your spreadsheets? Comment with “clarity inspection” and we can get the clarity ball rolling.

#carownerlife #safetyfirst #clarity #labels #sharingspreadsheets #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Excel germs

Eight full days after a visit to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and we are all still suffering from the stubborn virus we picked up during our trip.

In an ideal world, only healthy children would visit these museums, and even then everything would be thoroughly and regularly disinfected to prevent any diseases from spreading.

In reality, our experience at any children museum has been a 100% chance of an enjoyable trip, along with a 100% chance of infection.

As we continue to nurse ourselves back to health, I encourage everyone to think about their Excel spreadsheets, and all the “Excel germs” that might be lurking in the shadows. Specifically:

  1. Do you have inconsistencies in your data?
  2. Is your data structured in an organized and scalable manner?
  3. Do you have various errors or broken formulas that you haven’t fixed yet?

If you answered “YES” to any of these, I highly encourage you to scrub and sanitize your spreadsheet.

That way, your future self, and anyone else you planned on sharing your workbook with will not get “infected” with the extra work and hassle of cleaning up those mistakes later.

Not sure where to start? Leave a comment briefly describing your Excel germs, and I’ll see how I can help you make a full and speedy recovery.

#goodtimes #natureofthebeast #excelgerms #savetime #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Teaching & learning with the cat in the hat

Sadly, my Hebrew skills are quite subpar, despite the fact that it was my first language as a baby. And yet, for years I did not take the time to re-learn. Only now with the desire to teach my own kids Hebrew am I actually putting in the effort and learning the language once again.

The beauty is that teaching forces me to fully understand a topic, inside & out, backwards & forwards. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance that my student will appreciate the new knowledge, even if it isn’t for many years :).

Another benefit of teaching Amina Hebrew with the Cat in the Hat book is that we are both already familiar with the story. It doesn’t have to be an exact translation for us to get a sense of what the Hebrew words mean.

One example of how I make things familiar for my Excel clients is by offering curriculum customization in my training programs. I receive sample spreadsheets from the client, create my own mock data (without any sensitive information), and use it in the hands-on exercises during the training program.

If you’d like to learn more about how I can customize curriculum for an Excel training program at your organization, I’m only a comment or a message away.

#learnbyteaching #bilingual #makeiteasyforthem #catinthehat #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove