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I’m feeling terrified and overwhelmed. I’ve started taking music lessons and the teacher has decided that my next step is to participate in a “play day” with a group of other amateur musicians.

I’m wondering how I could get out of it – plead a dose of the Ebola virus, the dog ate my oboe or I’ve just got to clean the inside of my washing machine.

You see, the only thing I have played before embarking on these lessons was CDs. I thought a quaver was yellow and came in packets, that a minim was the wrong name for an Excel function and that 4/4 was something to do with tea-time.

My teacher is wonderfully reassuring, supportive and he seems to have a lot more faith in me than I do. And yet I still feel more like a dead woman walking than an oboe musician playing when I think of Saturday…

I don’t consider myself to have much natural talent as a musician. What I do have is the dogged habit of turning up nearly every day and practising – trying to do what is in front of me. Most of the time, progress feels painful, slow and when I play “real” oboists in the car, I sometimes want to weep as I gaze into the abyss between their performance and mine. But somehow I’ve been captivated by this glorious instrument and learning music has opened up a whole new world to me…and I feel committed to it.

But I’m just doing what I can do – showing up and practising and doing what David Allen (Getting Things Done)  calls the “next action” and that is what I find really helps me get through the overwhelm. Just focus on the next step.

If you have a project that feels overwhelming – but you know you really want to do – can you narrow it down to the next concrete action? And then do that …

(For today, for me, that will be practising and showing up on Saturday – and hoping no one I know is there :-) )

Excel Products for Sale

Here are products from some of my favourite Excel authors and bloggers. Please note these are affiliate links so I do earn a small commission from every sale.

MrExcel.com

Mr. Excel (aka Bill Jelen) is one of the Excel gurus. I love his stuff. He also has a slightly bonkers delivery (What! Excel! Fun!)  that I thoroughly enjoy. And of course anyone who calls his Excel publishing book company Holy Macro! gets my vote.

MyExcelOnline.com

Xtreme Pivot Tables course

This is a very comprehensive course on pivot tables. It includes videos and workbooks. There are over 200 hours of videos on it and it takes you from having no knowledge of pivot tables to being a power user. If you know everything in this course, you know an awful lot about pivot tables. John explains the concepts in bite size chunks so they are easy to follow and even provides a tutorial spreadsheet so you can track your progress. This would be money well spent. If you would like to become the go-to person in your organisation for pivot tables, this would be an excellent starting point.

He also has a useful Pivot Table webinar…

This is also a useful chart helper. 

Debra Dalgleish – Contextures.com

Master 30 Excel functions in 30 days –This is a rather brilliant e-book which covers 30 functions including Vlookup,Match, offset. It includes an Excel file, e-book and links to videos that shows you how to do it – all for the princely sum of $10. What I particularly like about it are her descriptions, explanations and what the limitation of each function is. Highly recommended. If you want to upgrade your Excel skills this is a very worthwhile investment.

Excel UserForms for Data Entry

The Excel UserForms for Data Entry ebook kit will take you through the steps to build a UserForm that stores data on a hidden worksheet. No programming skills are required — everything is explained in simple steps, with written instructions, screen shots, videos and workbooks.

PivotPowerPremiumRibbon

The PivotPower Premium add-in saves you time and effort, when working with Excel pivot tables. For example, you can quickly:
-save and apply default pivot table settings
-clear old items from an Excel pivot table
-change all the data fields from the Count function to the Sum function

Chandoo.org

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