As an advertising copywriter or another type of freelance writer, have you ever looked for organizational tools, productivity tools, or online charts to help you avoid missing deadlines and losing clients? There are more of these programs than you could possibly imagine—ranging from the extremely well-made and beneficial to those which are virtually unusable. However, many writers already have the best organizational tool right on their start menu. Yes, it’s Microsoft Excel. This is Microsoft Word’s scary partner. However, you can do more than just hard core accounting; Excel is an excellent tool for writers as well as other professionals. Consider these six ways you can use the program in your work.
- Track for Taxes – To put it bluntly, taxes suck. Freelance writers have to do much of their own calculating to keep up with what is happening for Uncle Sam. Excel is a great tool for making note of what you are paid, who paid you, and when you make business-related expenditures.
- Double Check Your Figures – While you can use a calculator to figure costs for clients or determine what you made on a project, using excel makes sense because everything remains on the screen and visible. It is a great tool for even basic calculations.
- Create a To-Do List – Excel is excellent for creating to do lists. Not only can you make a high-tech list with check boxes that you can click online, it is easy to format one that you can print and check off with your favorite multi-color Hello Kitty pen—giving you a real sense of accomplishment.
- Put it in Perspective – One of the features of Excel most-loved by those crazy accountants is the ability to take raw data and turn it into graphs. You can make pie, bar, and line graphs (among others that I really do not understand, myself.) Using these, you may better understand what is happening in your world.
- Make a Client List – One of the simplest, but most useful ways to use Excel is to create a list of your current clients. You can embed hyperlinks to their website and email as well as make notes on how crazy (or not) each is. Then you will know whether that $50 real estate content order is worth the effort or not!
- Create Graphics for Your Clients – Finally, Excel is a great tool for making “legit” graphics for your clients. You can create charts, graphs and even simple infographics using the basic tools in Excel. If you want to go the extra mile with a piece, Excel may be just what you need!
The best thing about Microsoft Excel is that anyone can use it. Start small and learn the features one-by-one. If you are ambitious, do a little research and find some of the great (free) tutorials out there! Soon, you will be an Excel-wielding ninja, ready to take on the world!
Tracy S is a content writer and blogger who specializes in home improvement-related topics. When she’s not working, Tracy loves playing pool, watching cheesy reality TV, spending time with her family, and dreaming of the beach.