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Here’s How You Find More Time In Your Schedule to Learn a New Skill

Here’s How You Find More Time In Your Schedule to Learn a New Skill

All of us could have more time in our days. Whether it’s to spend more time with ourselves, with our loved ones, or to learn a new skill we’ve been wanting to learn. The truth is, most of us are not maximizing the time we already have to its full potential. With a little bit of structure, analysis, and optimizing, we can spare at least 3-5 hours of additional time in our schedule to learn a new language, instrument, or even cooking!

Here’s 5 steps to shave more time off your “busy” schedule.

1. Track your existing schedule

If you don’t know how you spend your day already, it’s going to be very difficult to know what’s working and what’s not. This applies in any habit, result, or goal you want to change. If you’re trying to lose weight, the first thing a nutritionist will tell you is to keep track of everything you’re eating throughout the day.

Start by tracking everything you’re doing during the day on your calendar. Keep it simple by categorizing each task into two colors representing:

  1. Work time (blue)
  2. Free time (green)

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    While all of our schedules will be different, you’ll be surprised to know how much “green” space you have in our day to invest in learning or something else more productive for you. For consistency, it’s recommended to track your schedule for at least three days, since you may have had a bad or good day of productivity.

    This information will help you with the next step…

    2. Prioritize

    Now that we understand how we already spend our days, it’s time to prioritize what matters. Whether you use a to-do list or a calendar to schedule your day, try reverse-engineering your end-goal to the tasks you have set for the day.

    Here’s a logical framework to refer to:

    • What’s my ultimate goal that I am trying to achieve? (learn Spanish, increase your business revenue, etc.)
    • Which of these tasks will bring me closer to my goal?
    • Which of these non-impactful tasks can I outsource or eliminate completely?

    From there, we’re going to borrow what a productive framework used by Dwight Eisenhower called, “The Eisenhower Box.”

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    Start by categorizing your current task list and any upcoming ones into these 4 categories:

    • Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
    • Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
    • Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
    • Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

    1397521201-use-eisenhower-box-stop-wasting-time-more-productive

      From here, you should focus only on the tasks that are in the “do” and “decide” category. Everything else, you should…

      3. Eliminate

      Now that you have your most impactful tasks categorized, it’s time to eliminate the unnecessary and unimportant tasks that are simply a waste of time. For many of us, this is checking social media, email, watching television, gossiping with friends, etc. After listing all of these tasks, try to experiment over the next five days without any of these, and see how much free time you have shaved off in your schedule.

      For tasks that may seem urgent, but not important…

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      4. Delegate

      It’s our nature to handle every single detail of our work, but they rarely lead to moving our end-goal forward. This can be potentially dangerous, especially when we’re focused on unimportant tasks that require a lot of our time. As Gary Vaynerchuk often states, “delegating is easy when you realize that 99% of what you do doesn’t matter.”

      Now Gary may have a team of 500+ supporting him, but you can just as well hire a virtual personal assistant to accomplish the same tasks. You can check out websites like Upwork, Guru, or Freelancer to outsource these small, important tasks that need to be urgently completed. These tasks may include: travel research, flight booking, blog post updates, podcast editing, and more.

      5. Optimize

      Last, but not least, it’s time to optimize and refine your schedule to meet its full potential.

      Here are the 3 ways to accomplish this:

      i. Shorten your deadline for individual tasks

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      As stated by Parkinson’s Law, most of us take more time than necessary to complete a task. If we give ourselves three hours to complete a small task, we’ll do our very best to use up all those three hours to complete it. However, if we only gave ourselves 15 minutes, we’ll find a way to get it done. Ask yourself: how many of the tasks on your schedule actually take up the time you allocated to it? Can you do it sooner?

      ii. Cut out your least important free time

      While we need breaks during our day, some breaks such as spending time with family is more important than watching Game of Thrones on Netflix. Find one free time in your schedule that is the least important, and cut it out from your schedule.

      iii. Bundle your free times together

      Or you can use my personal favorite option: bundling free time together. This means instead of having 2 slots of 30 minutes to check email or social media, you can simply use that first 30-minute slot to do both. Chances are, we already multi-task nearly everything we do anyways, so why not multi-task during our free times, rather than during our important tasks?

      Now…it’s your turn

      Which of these productive steps were your favorite?
      What skill will you learn after shaving off more time in your schedule?
      We’d love to hear from you below.

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      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

      25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

      25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

      Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

      Or even better:

      What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

      You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

      Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

      How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

      The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

      In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

      • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
      • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
      • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

      As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

      Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

      Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

      But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

      his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

      5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

      Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

      But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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      1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
      2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
      3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
      4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
      5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

      Who can use Excel shortcuts?

      There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

      • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
      • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
      • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
      • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

      Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

      With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

      25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

      Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

      1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

      If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

      2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

      If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

      If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

      3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

      Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

      =sum(

      …and then press F3.

      When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

      4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

      Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

      =match(

      …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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      When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

      But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

      5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

      If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

      • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
      • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
      • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
      • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
      • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

      6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

      By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

      The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

      For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

      A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

      7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

      When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

      8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

      When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

      9. Use filtering

      Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

      It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

      To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

      10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

      Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

      Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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      To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

      11. See formula results with F9

      If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

      Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

      12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

      If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

      13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

      Here’s how to use EDATE:

      =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

      =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

      14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

      Here’s how to use EMONTH:

      =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

      =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

      15. Remove spaces with TRIM

      TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

      16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

      In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

      17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

      When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

      And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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      18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

      If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

      19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

      Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

      You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

      20. Use data validation

      This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

      • Create dependent drop-down lists;
      • Create drop-down lists;
      • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

      21. Use conditional formatting

      It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

      22. Use formula auditing

      This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

      The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

      23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

      Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

      It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

      24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

      INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

      25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

      OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

      The bottom line

      As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

      That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

      If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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