How to Use Google Sheets to Keep Every Part of Your Life Organized

You don’t need shiny new apps and websites if you’re looking to get your life organized. All you need is the trusty spreadsheet. With Google Sheet’s sharing capabilities and some solid, easy-to-use templates, you can stay on top of your budget, schedule, to-do list, and more.

Why Google Sheets?

While you can easily use Microsoft Excel to manage your life, there are several good reasons to use Google Sheets.

  • You can share and collaborate: By its very nature, Google Drive is all about sharing. Whether you’re using Google Sheets for personal or work purposes, you can easily share everything with your family or colleagues.
  • You get simultaneous updates: Everything happens in realtime. You can see changes as they are being made.
  • You avoid duplicates: While you can use cloud sharing to work on one master document, using Google Sheets helps you avoid the confusing mess 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.

How to Use Google Sheets to Keep Every Part of Your Life Organized

  • You can generate reports: This is also a feature you’ll get with Excel, but nonetheless worth noting. If you’re a visual person or just like to get a general overview of what you’re doing, you can use your Google Sheets data to generate reports, charts, and more.
  • 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

Spreadsheets were made for budgets. Whether you’re tracking monthly or yearly expenses, Google Sheets has you covered.

With a few spreadsheet formulas, you can automatically calculate how much you’re earning, how much you’re spending, and understand where your money is going.

If you’re looking for something straightforward and easy to use, stick to Google’s templates: they provide a personal monthly and annual budget spreadsheet, as well as a business budget courtesy of Intuit Quickbooks.

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:

  1. Customize your planned expenses and their categories, as well as your planned income and their types.
  2. Add expenses and income on the transaction sheet.
  3. 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 budgetspreadsheet.

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is enter your starting savings balance in the Setup sheet.
  2. In the Expenses sheet, fill in your monthly expenditure for each category.
  3. In the Income sheet, fill in your monthly income for each type.
  4. 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 templatesand 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.

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