Big And Bad Or Small And Fast?

I like improving and simplifying the reports I work on. When I finally find a solution that will save me time, or automate a repetitive action or simply let the computer do a job for me (even if it takes a little longer), it gives me a nice little boost.

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There are big files that I break up into smaller pieces and then reconnect them through automated macros and templates, or I find simpler ways to get the same results and manage to trim away some of the fat.

Today however, I came up with the idea that instead of breaking apart a large file I was working on, it might work out better if I switched it from multiple simple worksheets into one big complicated worksheet.

Because this seemed so counter-intuitive to the way I usually optimise my reports, I took some time to just sit and think about what I wanted to do. I stared at the current version for a while, visualising how the new format might look and what extra information I would need to add. I tried to draw a couple of sketches, but I just couldn’t get down on paper all the details I would need to include, the mental image was just too large to organise my thoughts into drawing actions. I finally gave up visualising and ran the idea by my colleague to see if it sounded crazy.

Now that I know it doesn’t sound crazy, I need to go ahead and start making those changes. It’s going to be tricky to start with, but the payoff could be pretty big and once I’ve finished and it’s working, I can apply the same method to another big report and get just as good results.

Just goes to show that sometimes you have to go in the opposite direction to reach your goal!

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