I had a small garden before this whole Coronavirus thing happened. It was just starting to yield tomatoes. At out home, tomato soup was on the menu at least once a week.
Coronavirus and flooding.
Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, my sleepy town of Waimea got hit with flooding. My poor tomato plants didn’t make it. I watched helplessly as they slowly drowned beneath the murky red waters. I had to try something different.
Raised bed gardens on the cheap
I need to build a raised be to get the roots of my veggies out of the water. The problem with a traditional raised bed is material cost. I like most, am saving every penny during this very uncertain time of COVID-19. Local cardboard and wood mulch to the rescue. It’s easy enough to get cardboard. Any store or business is trying to get rid of the stuff. Local municipal departments are a good place to look for free wood mulch.
Define the garden bed foot print with cardboard
Cardboard is used to block the sunlight from the grass and give my plants a chance. The cardboard is first soaked so it can absorb water rather than have it run off. Then, simply cover every spot. Make sure to overlap the cardboard so you don’t let any light down or grass up.
Add much to make your instant raised bed.
A raised bed will offer several things. I won’t have to bend down as far to reach my garden, compact soil is no longer a factor as this raised bed is well over 12 inches deep, and my plants will be above the flood water if a large rain event occurs again.
Now for a little potting soil and compost.
Now i just need to add a little bit of potting soil and compost. I made little 4 – 6 inch craters in the mulch every 10-12 inches. Then, in went the compost potting soil mix. This took substantially less potting soil than it would have to fill an entire raised garden space.
Using less potting mix in this way. We can plant much larger areas than we initially intended.
Instant garden space. Just add plants.
Time to seed the garden. We planted a few herbs that we had laying around. The rest of the garden was planted out with seeds. Give it a few days and we start seeing some greenery.
Let the food begin
Ah, the beginning of our garden. It’s always a great sight to see little bits of green pop up from under the dark damp soil. One step closer to being food secure. One step closer to saving even more money. Everyone should grow a garden. I did it in a flood plain. What’s your excuse?
Get a custom solution that is remotely accessible across desktop and mobile devices.
Spreadsheets are great for any business. At some point, however, they can get out of hand. That is usually a great sign for your business. This means that your business has out grown your current spreadsheet flow.
How do i know if i if my data outgrew my spreadsheets?
Well, this one is easy. Do you have too many rules in place and too many sheets to cross check in order to process an order or report? If the answer is yes, you’ve likely outgrown your current data management system.
Upgrading or creating your data management system
The good news is that this can be as simple as adding automated rules and functions into the spreadsheets that your already have. It can be amazing how much efficiency I can add to a system or single process that a client has with just a few functions, forms, or macros. Even simple things like just utilizing the CSV import process whenever possible can be a night and day difference in efficiency.
But my data needs to be remotely accessible
Remote accessible data? That’s an easy one. All spreadsheets and documents can be converted to cloud based spreadsheet solutions like Microsoft or google products for example. Once in the cloud your data backed up and remotely accessible to your teammates. Granting and revoking access privileges as needed.
But my data is really hard to manage and I keep breaking my data because of bad entry
Ah yes, to err is human, and we are all human. This is the sad truth. Even the best system is prone to error by the user entering the data. That being said. When its difficult to enter a record, the probability of error increases. This is the main flaw in spreadsheets. Row after row. Column after column. It’s easy to shift rows or columns accidentally while adding or editing a record. This simple error over time will corrupt even the most well thought system of data management.
Enter a custom data management solution
Queue the angelic music. Let the sky part the the light shine. Someone gets me. This is the feeling when you find someone to prepare a system to track all of your data. Creating a system where you can easily login across any device and access your data and live reports. Entering data is now a breeze thanks for beautiful forms and rules that restrict the entry of records to mitigate error. Now you can run a report at a push of a button that used to take half a day to prepare.
Tell me what key challenges lay in your way
Give me a call. Tell me what your business’s data management issues are. Perhaps you have already dreamed up a tool or idea. Let me bring it into your hands. Together we are stronger.
The coronavirus has impacted the entire world. Hawaii is no expectation. Many of us work in jobs that rely on the now non-extant tourism economy. Those businesses that are able to continue must adapt to a more efficient, socially distant work environment. Fortunately, virtual services for phone and video conferencing are available at reasonable prices. For certain essential business personnel it can even be free for several months.
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Spreadsheets are a great way for any business to track client, job, and any other records. However, spreadsheets can get a company into trouble if they outgrow their spreadsheets and don’t take action to remedy it. In this article you will find reason to be wary of spreadsheets. This doesn’t mean not to use them. Rather, to use them wisely and be aware that these pitfalls exist. After all knowledge is power.
Data entry errors and inaccuracy
Data is the life blood of any business. Accurate data is gold, inaccurate data can cost us a great deal of money and time to fix. Let’s face it, we’re human. Humans make mistakes. It’s part of life that we need to except. To this end we can recognize why errors in our data exists. It really comes down to a few main areas where we as, data entry users, make mistakes.
Column / Row / Cell Shift can occur anytime we are entering data. You think you are working on row 30 and somehow you are entering data on row 31.
No controls or restrictions on how the data is entered. Controls and restrictions help keep data consistent.
No way to implement rule sets to standardize data entry.
Inefficiencies entering data
In order to add a record or edit a record in a spreadsheet. We first need to find the record. We pull up that row. Now if there are any dependencies on our data we need to manually cross check for those dependencies. Once we have verified our dependencies, we can begin. Now i can enter the records.
Another issue with spreadsheets is that most of them are local copies. This means that if we both open a spreadsheet, we can have different data on both of our sheets because we have saved them on our own machine. This can be worked around by using cloud based spreadsheet solutions.
Report Generation is not in real time
Data is the gospel you should use to make business decisions. If your reports take all week to format and produce, well, you are not getting very timely data. If your data had any issues going in that caused inaccuracy, your reports are not as useful as they should be. Reports should be accurate and not cost you labor hours to produce.
Spreadsheets are an important aspect to any business. With constant flow of data from customer records to daily task tracking, all businesses use spreadsheets to manage their lists of information. While can be an ideal method for small, one-off tasks, there is no way to assign rules sets or restrictions to how users enter the data into each cell. This means that its up to the human who is entering the data to be accurate. Well, i live in a real world, not a perfect one. I know that humans, including myself, are prone to making mistakes. ‘
Don’t get me wrong, I need excel for business.
Don’t get the wrong impression. I’m not demonizing excel by any means. I use excel on a daily basis. Here are just a few time savings uses that can’t go without:
Creating Calculations based of data and templates
Formatting large quantities of data
Parsing large amounts of data into usable lists
Sorting lists of information
Making pivot tables to summarize huge quantities of data
Creating charts and graphs
I also use excel for its macros (automating redundant tasks)
Ever had that redundant tasks that eats up your time every day or week. Let’s say, in this example, its a 10 or 15 minutes process. Every day when i arrive in the morning i need to download a document, format it, and them finally make a report.
This is where we bring macros into the equation. A macro is a predefined set of steps of code that can be run on your spreadsheet. Eliminating the need to do the same thing over and over again.
I would consider automating the formatting step in this process using a macro. Now my Involvement in this process is substantially less. I download the document, run a macro, verify that my report looks right, and send it out. This may only take me 2 – 3 minutes to run this process. What now was over an hour of each week is just under 15 minutes.
I’ve created macros that have brought 3-5 hour tasks down to just 5 or 10 minutes. There is no end to the possibilities of spreadsheets in business.