Tell me if this describes you:
You suffer from in-office lunches, late nights at work, and sacrificed weekends because there just isn’t enough time…
Your days are filled to the brim with boring, repetitive, tedious tasks …
You feel your career has plateaued and you’re left counting down the days until the weekend while you spend your time wishing for a pay raise or promotion…
At one point or another, we’ve all felt that way in our jobs or careers.
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The good news is there’s a way you can gain more time and freedom to work on interesting projects by streamlining your work through automation, turning grueling hours into minutes, while showcasing your skills and gaining opportunities to earn BIG!
Learning how to write time-saving macros in Excel has become the key to reigniting millions of careers around the world. It is the single best skill to master for automating your tasks and taking back control of your day. It’s the ultimate productivity hack.
I cover a lot of what macros are and what they can do for you in my previous post, VBA Quickstart: Zero to Awesome in 20 Minutes. If you haven’t already make sure to check that out.
Otherwise, strap in because I’m going to show you exactly why you need this skill on your resume ASAP.
You don’t know what you don’t know!
Look, I get it…
You don’t have time.
You don’t have energy.
You have too many episodes of Seinfeld you want to watch before Hulu takes them all down (kidding).
But think about the alternative.
What do most people do when they see a tsunami of work approaching? They dig in their heels and work longer hours, later nights, and sacrifice their weekends in the name of “hard work” and “showing the boss they’re committed.
That kind of “burning the midnight oil” mentality isn’t sustainable because
- They are sacrificing important time with their kids, family, friends, leisure, and most importantly rest. Time you can never get back
- The long hours causes stress to multiply, which leads to more anxiety and stress, and thus begins the dangerous downward spiral.
- Longer hours and lack of rest equals mistakes, the type of mistakes that can damage your credibility and jeopardize future career advancement.
And what happens if you just do nothing? If you just keep doing what you’ve been doing? You end up resenting your employer for putting you through such torture, your family begins to resent you for not spending enough time with them, and your life becomes a giant, anxiety filled volcano ready to erupt.
Enough is enough. It’s time to make a change and take back control of your career.
Top 3 Reasons you should learn to write macros:
Reason # 1: Save Time, LOTS of it!
The joy I get when I take a boring task from 3 hours to 20 minutes…
Imagine spending no more time in the office than you need to because you were able to build a tool in Excel that, for example, with a click of a single button formatted all those data files the exact way you needed them.
That’s exactly what I was able to do a few years ago, and with very limited knowledge of VBA programming and macros.
Our company had an important vendor that required their bill sent to them in a specific format and file type. Our billing data was not compatible with their format, so we had to manually make it compatible.
We’re talking tens of thousands of rows of data! This was a colossal undertaking that required 13 hours of uninterrupted focus to complete. Talk about wanting to flush your head down a toilet!
With careful planning I was able to create a macro that took our billing data and converted it in the exact format required, in less than 15 minutes! This made it possible to:
- Have more time to audit my work and catch data entry errors that could cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in collectible A/R.
- Easily train staff members so I can focus on working bigger projects and creating more time saving efficiencies.
- Talk more about NFL football or the latest Star Wars trailer because, why not?
Reason # 2: Eliminate Boring Tasks, for good!
I could’ve just lumped this together with the previous point, but I want to emphasize what “saving time” really means.
If you can save time it also means you have gained the skills to eliminate boring tasks altogether by automating them.
Let me explain:
You have a weekly report that you put together by downloading sales data from your CRM or accounting system, formatting it (such a pain), then summarizing that data into useful information. Even if you’re great at using pivot tables and advance functions you still have to sink your very limited time and energy into “slicing-and-dicing” the data until it’s useful.
With a macro, you can connect Excel directly into your database, pull the data right into your spreadsheet, and format/summarize the data in the exact manner you need. You could even set things up to save and email the report once you’re done. And it all can be done within seconds.
Almost anything that is repetitive and structured in nature can be automated to the point where you only have to click a few buttons to get it done.
Reason # 3: Earn more
If you could produce twice as much work, and you could reinvest the time you’re saving into working on projects that make a larger impact on your company, what do you think will eventually happen? You contribute more, make a bigger impact and suddenly become more valuable.
Since you’re more valuable, you can command more compensation. That’s how you earn greater responsibilities and more money in the corporate world. Learning how to write macros, saving time for yourself and your colleagues and making yourself available to help with bigger projects is the path to greater success.
What happens if your company doesn’t value those time-saving powers? Chances are there is another company out there that will fall over themselves to have you on their team.
Having that knowledge and using it on your resume and Linkedin profile is a huge indicator to employers that you are legit, especially in a market where everyone puts “Excel” as a skill on their resumes.
What are you waiting for?
So what are you waiting for? Will you continue the status-quo because it’s easier, or will you make a tangible investment in your career now so you can reap the rewards later? The choice is yours, but here are some great resources to get you started:
I highly recommend checking out Jon Acampora’s Free video series, which walks you through Writing Your First Macro, Automating tasks, and creating user forms.
If you’ve decided that VBA is for you and you want to take the full plunge? Jon offers a premium course, the VBA Pro Course, which is one of the best VBA courses available.
In the course, Jon goes over:
- Macros and VBA Basics
- How to use If Statements, Loops, Arrays, and how to handle errors
- How to build your own Excel apps that can be customized for your own projects or even sold online
- Deep dive into creating user forms
- And much more!
If courses aren’t really your thing and you prefer the self-study approach, Michael Alexander’s book, Excel 2016 Power Programming with VBA is a great book to pick up. It’s filled with amazing examples and easy/clear to read chapters. Definitely useful to not only learn but to use as reference material.
If that doesn’t help; Excel-Easy has a great set of VBA tutorials on their website that takes you from novice to proficient with real world examples and exercises.
In today’s modern, information driven world there shouldn’t be any excuses why you haven’t learned VBA yet. What are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get in there!