The Umpteenth Time Around

Dear Reader,

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike? Well, even if you don’t, I’m sure you struggled the first time around (I definitely did). Almost everything that we do, we had to learn at some point or another. Just think about writing. We literally struggled for years on this task. Can you imagine, if we only learned how to write as an adult? How many of us would spend all of the time necessary to put some letters on a page? It’s not so easy to do, even as an adult. Try writing a paragraph with your non-dominant hand. Can you make it to the end of the paragraph before the fatigue sets in?

Learning is a process, but it is, of course, worthwhile. Mastery of a skill or subject is priceless.

Today, I was hit with a large work task that involved manipulating data in an Excel spreadsheet. Excel always scared me. When I was first introduced to it in high school, I decided that I would use anything but Excel if necessary. In college, I did surprisingly well without having to use the system. In grad school, however, I really did need to know the Excel basics. This was an uphill battle I assure you. Also, many of the things that I learned about the system was forgotten, because I didn’t make any real effort to commit the processes to memory.
Fast forward a few years later. I now work in an administrative position. Excel here is a must. Now on the job, I was expected to muddle through Excel on my own. All of my Excel tasks took about as long as if I were to perform the same functions manually. However, I continued to learn how to use the system (there was no other option). I learned some shortcuts which really cut down on my workload. Finding these little tricks made me more eager to learn Excel because it meant that I would be able to automate some other tedious, rote tasks.

Today, all of my hard work on Excel paid off. We were experiencing a problem for one of our online systems and data needed to be uploaded manually through a Spreadsheet. We initially struggled with the problem, however, a few Excel shortcuts literally saved us HOURS of time.
I can’t believe how much my feelings towards Excel has changed. While there is nothing wrong with hard work, Excel has taught me that work does not always have to be hard. Sometimes, the easy way is actually the best way!

Sometimes, the answers to our problems take a lot of hard work. However, the more that we confront our problems and seek new and (sometimes difficult) solutions, the more adept we are at solving our problems. There is no way that I could have solved my large work problem today without the many hours of practice I had with Excel in years past.

Dear Reader, sometimes we struggle, but we also must persevere. The more more we work, the better we become. The better we become, the easier it is to overcome our challenges. Keep working hard, Dear Reader, your efforts will surely pay off ten-fold.


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