Does just the mention of the word 'spreadsheet' cause your mouth to go dry? Do you immediately think of sums, formulae, and figures?

Well fear not any more -- I'm here to tell you that spreadsheets aren't just for sums!

I'm going to share with you my favorite top five tips on how you can use spreadsheets in your every day business to help you keep organized and on top of your work - and there isn't a formula in sight!

No.1 'To Do' List

How do you manage your day-to-day tasks? Do you have a notebook for your To Do lists and cross out each one as you go along? Or do you have little yellow post-its stuck all over the place? Is this really the best way of managing your daily tasks?

Spreadsheets are a great way for you to organise your To Do list. Set up headings in the first row and add your tasks below. You can then sort your list by any column that you choose, making it an interactive To Do list. And best of all, your list is contained in one place.

Create a shortcut to your To Do list and place it on your desktop so that you can access it easily, or just keep it open and minimise your screen each time you're not using it.

No.2 Log Registration/Password Data

Another great way to use spreadsheets is to keep track of all those websites that you've registered at, and need to insert a username and password in order to gain access to.

Even though I try and keep to the same username/password I sometimes find that a website will require you to insert your username or password in a certain way, with digits as well as letters, or a minimum of six characters etc. etc. and then it starts to get confusing remembering which username/password for which site!

Set up a spreadsheet to track key data, and keep tabs on this crucial information in one easy-to-use place. As your list starts to get longer, you can also sort your data into alphabetical order, making it even easier to find your registration details.

No.3 Create a Simple Mailing Database

Another great use for a spreadsheet is to set up a simple mailing database. Perhaps you've researched a target market and want to send them a mailing. By creating a spreadsheet to input their name, address, phone number, email address, and website you can easily keep a track of your data.

You can also use this data to carry out a mail merge via Word. Create active hyperlinks for the email and website addresses and you can email or visit their website directly from your spreadsheet.

And if you add an additional column for 'Responses' you can simply monitor your success rate too!

No.4 Track Potential Clients and Follow-ups

If you regularly have enquiries from potential clients, whether they're phone calls or directly via your website, you can set up a spreadsheet to track this data. You can see where your enquiries are coming from, which method of marketing is the most effective, and if the prospect turned into a client.

You can also add an additional column for 'Follow-up Date' and perform a sort on this column so that you know who to follow up with and when!

No.5 Monitor a Project/Activity Planning

Because spreadsheets also accept date formats they are a great way to track projects or plan activities. You can easily use autofill to create a date timeline too. Use the column headings for your dates, and the rows for your activities.

As you work along the timeline, you can hide the columns with past dates, showing only those columns for current and future dates. And if you want to be really creative, use different colours for the cells to represent different activities.

There are so many more projects that you could use a spreadsheet for that don't require you to input complicated formulae. When I was compiling this list for you, I thought of twice as many again, all of which would help you to organise your day-to-day business activities.

(c) 2008 Tracey Lawton

Author's Bio: 

About the author: Online Business Manager & Virtual Assistant, Tracey Lawton, supports professional speakers, coaches, and authors to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how to create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at