7 things I use spreadsheets for

7 things I use spreadsheets for

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Spreadsheets – I really do love them and I use them for a LOT of behind the scenes things in both my handmade business and here on yarnybookkeeper.com.

Spreadsheets are versatile and there are lot of different ways that they can be used without the huge learning curve of creating mathematical formulas, macro’s, pivot tables, etc.

So, if you’re needing to get yourself organized and be more productive, Microsoft Excel has a lot more built in templates that you can choose from – but Google Sheets also offers you quite a few spreadsheet templates that you can use as well.

My 7 favorite things to use spreadsheets for

  1. Monthly Calendar – you can create a monthly calendar, add images, change the colors, fonts, etc. and then print it out using just plain copy paper or save it on your computer or better yet in Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc. and keep it updated using your computer, iPad, or phone.  I create a single monthly calendar that tracks several things all at once (deadlines, blog post schedule, personal stuff).  The nice thing about a virtual calendar is that you can make those “blocks” any size you want them to be!  I use different colored fonts to track deadlines, blog posts and personal stuff.  Both Excel and Google Sheets have templates that you can start with.
  2. Year at a Glance Calendar – I usually create one of these and keep it stored in Google Drive.  I can’t tell you how many times I open it up and use it.  And I use the Commenting feature to keep track of special dates that I have things planned for or special events.  You just can’t do that with a pre-printed year at a glance calendar.
  3. Bullet Journals – yes, there are a LOT of free bullet journal pages available on the internet – BUT they are all in .pdf format.  This means that you either have to print them out and actually write on them – or have a tool or program to type into the boxes.  I often find that there are things that “I” want that are missing.  So I use Excel to create my ow bullet journal pages.  And if you like to doodle/color, add graphics from your favorite adult coloring books – then print them.  Doodle, color and journal away!
  4. A Project Planner is a great spreadsheet to help you stay organized.Project Pricing Workbook – the project pricing workbook (that I offer as a subscriber signup thank you – when you sign up for my newsletter) was created using Excel.  That’s a spreadsheet that I use ALL the time in my handmade business.  Not only does it allow me to keep track of all the costs for each handmade item that I make – but it allows me to evaluate the price I should sell it for based on the amount of time it took to make it, my material costs, a markup (profit margin), and my hourly wage.
  5. Special worksheet calculators – I have a bunch of special worksheet calculators that I’ve created for my own use for determining and calculating an hourly business use of home, fair wage calculator, etc.  Anything that I want to review on an annual basis like that, I create a spreadsheet for – that way I can just update the numbers without writing everything out and doing all the math or trying to remember HOW I did the calculations before (because I lost that piece of paper!).
  6. Project Planner – as I find new handmade items that I want to make, instead of just downloading the pattern and making a mental note (hoping I’ll remember), I created my own project planner.  Where I keep track of such things as the pattern name, where the pattern is stored, where I downloaded it from, how much I paid for the pattern.  Materials needed, hook & needle sizes and I even add a picture of the finished item (from the actual pattern) so I can “see” what it looks like without having to go dig to find the pattern.
  7. WIP Sheets – how many times do we start a project only to put it on the back burner for whatever reason?  Because it’s so hard to just rely on memory, I created a WIP sheet that I use to keep track of the details (where the pattern is, needle sizes, materials I plan (planned) to use to finish it and notes as to why I put it aside to begin with).  I also make sure that I leave myself a note as to WHERE I left off on the project.  Once the info is complete, I then print off a copy and put everything in a ziplock bag.

Spreadsheets are versatile – you can create any number of really useful documents to help you keep yourself organized.  Use your imagination.

Spreadsheets, I REALLY do love them —— just NOT for bookkeeping!

What do you use spreadsheets for?

About Nancy Smyth, The YarnyBookkeeper

Hi, I'm Nancy. Yarn addict, career bookkeeper, and handmade business owner. I get the same feeling of joy when working with yummy yarns as I do when working with a column of numbers that all add up correctly. Bookkeeping for your handmade or creative business doesn't need to be scary. I can help you learn to handle your bookkeeping and other behind the scenes STUFF with confidence!


  1. G’morning, Nancy! Spreadsheets….ahhhhh, the catalyst to my love of ‘puters and crunching numbers! Took advantage of a FREE class my state job offered in 1985 to learn Lotus 123. Over the course of 8-10 wks our instructor walked us through the how’s and why’s of creating an amortization schedule and I was hooked. Didn’t have my own computer until 1998, but in the meantime, EVERYTIME I got my hands on a computer with Lotus 123 at my jobs I created another amortization schedule. Lotus 123 was like a magnet that would suck my finger tips to a keyboard…LOL! By the time I got my own computer of course it was on to Excel and I went bonkers creating spreadsheets. Worked as an auditor in an oil marketing company using industry specific software. Enter my own computer and Excel….my creative endeavors included creating spreadsheets that replicated the daily reports I audited in that software program. I had a blast! Create the sales section…stick a formula here…gas pump meter readings? No problem! Stick a formula here to calculate both $’s and gals pumped..oh! and now I can use another one HERE! Oooo, I can track my c-store gas AND inside inventory in this section! LOL! I’m sure you get the gist of my joy at that time. LOL! BTW, I HATED math in high school and sucked at it. 😉

    1. I started my love/hate relationship with spreadsheets with Lotus too! Oh boy, now that’s sort of telling our age LOL. Spreadsheets are handy things to have around that’s for sure!

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