Productivity - and first steps to community


Some days you can just get into the "flow" of things and stuff just gets done. Some days you have to push harder to get going. Usually, once I get started, with my tools set up and even one small thing accomplished, I can keep the momentum going and crank some real output.

I was told (it might have been in "The Pragmatic Programmer" by Hunt and Thomas) to leave one easy task undone at the end of every day, so you'd be starting on a downhill slope the next morning.

Are your tools set up for that?

If your business runs on a bunch of disconnected files and folders, and you have to remember where you are and what the next step is every morning, you may have a difficult time getting into a "flow state". On the other hand, if you are in the real world, and your tools are designed to fit some idealized view of how business works, you may be spending your time trying to force your tools to fit your reality.

I love the freedom of starting with an empty spreadsheet when I'm trying to imagine something. You can just create a table over here, a formula over there, and then a chart just because. I might be a bit of a spreadsheet geek, or maybe I haven't spent enough 50-hour weeks staring at them. I can always go back to my programming environment or the command line. But spreadsheets are only useful once you've done the setup work - setting them up is a cost.

What if someone else has a template that will get you halfway there? What if we can share solutions (not data, but formulas, chart designs, table arrangements)?

Open source software has bloomed through sites like SourceForge and GitHub. North Creek sees the potential for a smaller, but still global exchange of spreadsheet development effort. CXL is the first step to making that happen.

Nobody is going to share their corporate data with the world. But if your spreadsheet is already in the CXL repository, and it has been analyzed and compartmentalized using North Creek's software, a template could be extracted out of your working spreadsheet that could help others.

What do you gain? Membership in a community that recognizes your contribution, and access to great ideas from others. The sense that you're not the only one dealing with this mess.

First steps - you could be part of creating something new. Sign up by emailing me, "like" North Creek Software on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, or comment on the blog (within the blog using Disqus, or using the ShareThis buttons up top). Do you work with spreadsheets? Are you a whiz at something? Would it be nice to have a library of templates to share, so that you would be halfway there and going downhill when you start tomorrow morning?

Categories: Business , Software