Keeping it simple: 5 reasons to use a spreadsheet to plan your project

Don't go reinventing the wheel

Many freelancers would say they don’t have the time, the inclination or the need to learn to use specialist project management software. But there are alternatives – you don’t have to give up on trying to organize your projects altogether.  You can very easily use a spreadsheet to plan your projects and keep track of your work if you don’t want to use specialist software.



1. Sharing

One problem with dedicated project management software is that if you want to send your plan around your team they will also have to download the same software.  You can save the plan as a pdf, but that does mean it is static and can’t be altered by anyone but you.  Most of your team members should be able to open a spreadsheet and even change things if needed.

 2. Learning curve

Learning new software can be time-consuming.

If you already know how to use spreadsheets competently you should find it fairly quick to create one for a new project.  Once you’ve got a template you’re happy with you can add new projects in a fraction of the time.

 3. Overkill

Using project management software for keeping track of simple projects can be overkill.  Spreadsheets are often fine for keeping track of multiple simple projects.

 4. Planning exercise

A bit like with exercise, getting into the habit of sitting down and planning your projects can be more important than the details of what your plan actually looks like.  Your spreadsheet plan might look simple, but the fact that you have been through the process of thinking through the steps involved can be worth any number of fancy whistles and bells.

5. The wheel has already been invented

There are countless templates out there, many of them for free.  Here is a list of just a few that you may find useful:

Excel spreadsheet from TechRepublic
Project Management Schedule By Google
Project Timeline (Marine Theme) By Google
Project Management – Marketing Example By Smartsheettemplates
Vertex42 Excel Project Management Templates (Several examples)


So if the idea of sitting down and getting your head around new software is what is putting you off planning your projects, then you can stop worrying and get planning!




Example of a simple project plan for a writing project.


(Wheel photo credit by Flickr user Jasmic)

Tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply