Laziness is a Virtue Why I build spreadsheet templates

Work is a liquid.  It floods our minds, filling up every space available to it.

Dripping in through email or Slack. Pouring out of meetings with clients, managers and colleagues.

Our own ideas flow constantly like a stream, into the reservoir of work that’s now knee-high and rising at our desk.

We bail out the water – check one item off the to-do list, repeat until empty.

But the flood never stops.  No matter how quickly we haul water out, there will always be a steady flow to replace it.

When you’re lazy, like me, this is a problem.

But what if we’re just missing the right infrastructure?

What can you build today, that will allow you to work efficiently for the next year?

There are two ways to control floods:

Gates, barriers and levees

Hold the water out, and keep it from getting to us.

But we work with people, and shutting them out isn’t helpful to anyone.

Canals and channels

Direct water downstream in a controlled, efficient flow.

That’s more like it.  Sounds like we need to dig some channels to let our work flow more efficiently.

You’ll hate digging the channel, but once it’s there, you’ll thank yourself for having the foresight to dig it.

Be your own boss

I like to call this ‘doing work for a future version of yourself.’

All of us have tasks that we find ourselves repeating over and over: our jobs.

Why not dig a permanent channel to handle that flow of work, instead of letting it accumulate on your to-do list?

No one will ever do it for you.

No one cares about how you spend your time, or how long it takes to complete your work.

Only you can take control, and stop repeating yourself. That’s why I build spreadsheet templates.

Work for a future version of yourself

I found myself doing a few tasks over and over – mostly research and reporting for my clients’ marketing campaigns.

Building templates for those tasks (and publishing them here in the Vault) has been magic for my work life.

Now every time I need to build a dashboard, I pull down the template.  Ditto for web reporting, social listening, link building research, sales pipeline visualization…you get the picture.

It’s freed up time to think bigger, to be more strategic, to say yes to bigger projects.

So what work can you do for a future version of yourself? What channels can you dig to handle the inevitable tasks coming your way?


PS – If you work in Google Sheets, you’ll want to check out the new course, Data Analysis the Lazy Way, which teaches the CIFL approach to building spreadsheet templates.