You no longer need a flashy new software or website to manage your life. A simple spreadsheet will suffice. With the sharing features of Google Sheets and some excellent, easy-to-use templates, you can quickly keep track of your budget, calendar, and to-do list.
Why use Google Sheets?
While many individuals use Microsoft Excel to manage their daily lives, there are many compelling reasons to adopt Google Sheets.
You can share and collaborate: Google Drive is, by definition, a sharing tool. Share anything with your family or coworkers whether you’re using Google Sheets for personal reasons or for business reasons.
You get simultaneous updates: Everything takes place in real-time, and there is no stopping it. It’s easy to see how things are changing while they’re happening.
You avoid duplicates: Even if you may utilise cloud-based collaboration to work on a single document, utilising Google Sheets helps you avoid the confusion of duplicate copies.
You can use free templates: Google Sheets has a template gallery, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or figure out spreadsheet formulas if that’s not your thing. If you’re striving for simplicity, stick with Google’s templates.
To open the templates, go to Google Drive > Click the blue New button > Hover over the arrow next to Google Sheets > Click From a template.
If you want more choices, you can browse the Vertex gallery online and install the Vertex template gallery Chrome add-on to easily copy the templates to your Google Drive.
You can generate reports: This is also a feature of Excel, but it’s still worth mentioning. The data in Google Sheets may be used to create reports as well as charts and graphs to give you a better understanding of what you’re doing.
You save time with automation: Like with Excel, if you have repetitive items that constantly appear in your spreadsheets, you can create dropdown menus for your cells. You can use conditional formatting to automatically change the appearance of cells based on their contents. And of course, you can use formulas to automatically generate data.
Everything in its right place: Radiohead references aside, you can use Google Sheets to keep everything in one place—giving you fewer apps to check, and in the process, saving yourself a lot of time.
There are plenty of reasons you might opt for Google Sheets over Excel, and vice versa. But if you find that Excel is the better fit, you can still use the following ideas in your quest for spreadsheet perfection.
And of course, all of this advice comes with the understanding that you are placing personal information in the cloud and where you may also be granting third parties access to your personal data.
Get Your Expenses Under Control With Google Sheets
To keep track of budgets, spreadsheets were created. Google Sheets can help you keep track of monthly or yearly spending. Simply plug in some formulae into a spreadsheet to find out your income and expenses and where your money is going. Consider using Google’s templates, which include a personal monthly and annual budget spreadsheet as well as an Intuit Quickbooks-powered company budget.
For the monthly budget, there are two sheets: one is a summary that uses formulas to calculate your expenses and income. The other is where you log your incoming and outgoing transactions.
When using this spreadsheet, make sure that you only change cells that are highlighted pink:
- Customize your planned expenses and their categories, as well as your planned income and their types.
- Add expenses and income on the transaction sheet.
- As you add items to the transactions sheet, the other fields in the summary sheet will be automatically filled.
This is a great way to see at a glance if you are going over budget for any given month, and in what category.
At the end of each month, you can add your monthly numbers to the annual budget spreadsheet.
- The first thing you’ll need to do is enter your starting savings balance in the Setup sheet.
- In the Expenses sheet, fill in your monthly expenditure for each category.
- In the Income sheet, fill in your monthly income for each type.
- The Summary sheet, which shouldn’t be edited, will be automatically populated with your data based on your expenses and income, and includes a line graph to visualize your expenses and income over the year.
If you want something a little more elaborate, you can import Excel spreadsheet templates and use them in Google Sheets. There is no limit to the financial planning spreadsheet templates out there. And if none of these work for you, you can create a budget spreadsheet yourself.
And of course, Vertex’s many budget spreadsheet offerings can be easily copied into Google Sheets using the Chrome gallery add-on.
Manage Your Task List With Google Sheets
In addition to digital applications, bullet journals, and scraps of paper that you somehow manage not to lose, there are many more ways to keep track of your task list. A Google Sheets to-do list is an easy way to store everything in one place. This time around, Google’s template is a simple and easy-to-use choice to choose from. All that’s needed are only three columns: an “x” column to indicate that the work has been done, as well as dates and details about the activity in question.
Completed tasks are automatically crossed out, but you will continue to see them on the list.
You can change the formatting of completed tasks using Google Sheets’ conditional formatting feature. For example, you can change the colour of the text or the fill for that cell. And if you find that your to-do list is getting cluttered, you can right-click rows and select Hide Row to dismiss completed items without deleting them.
Given the collaborative nature of Google Sheets, you can also create a column for ownership of the task. That way, members of a team know what everyone else is working on.
Other columns you can add include priority status and a due date.
Get Your Time Back With Google Sheets
One of those things that may be better served by an app or perhaps another Google service in Google Calendar is this particular one. Reducing the number of applications and simplifying things might be an effective strategy for those who are looking for some sort of order in their lives.
Your daily appointments and chores may be easily recorded using Google Calendar’s Schedule template. There is no need for to-do lists when you wish to bind your daily chores to certain time periods. This plan might also be used to block off dates in your calendar. Knowing where each hour of your day goes, including sleep, is an excellent method to determine if you’re making the most of your time.
Another way you can figure out where your time goes is by using a timesheet. Log how many hours you spend on projects, tasks, chores, and more. The template for a weekly timesheet includes two sheets.
The first sheet: Log the date range and hours spent on each day for a variety of projects. The sheet comes with four projects pre-populated. But, you can insert rows above the Total Hours row if you need more.
The second sheet: This shows a visual summary of how much time you’re spending on each project per week and how many hours you’re working per day.
More Creative Ideas You Can Try
You don’t have to stop there. You can use Google Sheets for one-off projects or events, for the mundane tasks you don’t want to do but know have to be done, and so much more:
- Google Sheets offers a travel planning template with an agenda where you can fill in transport, accommodation, and event plans. Vertex’s Travel Budget Worksheet is another handy template to add to your arsenal.
- Google Sheets has a mammoth wedding planning spreadsheet. It has just about everything you’ll need to plan your big day: budgets, guest lists, to-dos, and more. If you have a big event coming up, use the wedding planner template and adjust it for your needs.
- Need to create a pro/con list a la Rory Gilmore? Google has you covered for that too.
- Trying to be mindful of what you eat? Use Vertex’s Meal Planner or Food Diary. Couple that with a Weight Loss chart if you’re trying to lose a few pounds.
- Use a Chore Chart to organize your household work.
Once you have all the information in Google Sheets, you can use visualizations to understand all the data you’ve saved.