Playing catch up w/ life using open source Excel

by Sofia

I’ve been too exhausted to write recently. That’s both good and bad. It means I am doing a lot but also that I could be more organized.

That said, my life has been focused around and into spreadsheets in the past few months. At some point I realized their structure and containment act like harnesses that order and measure everything — qualities I found extremely satisfying, of which I availed myself with increasing (worrying?) frequency. I am weaning myself off of saying that I am OCD but I am definitely very into control and measurement, as my plentiful spreadsheets can attest. I spreadsheet (I verbed it) my learning to code, my expenses, my exercise, what’s left to pay of my student debt. I even spreadsheet the amount of time I spend in front of spreadsheets at work.

So it is no surprise that my latest project is sitting quietly in a LibreOffice Calc file on my desktop. (It’s even occurred to me that the fact of its documentation in a spreadsheet becomes part of the project itself, as I would not be able to complete the project without keeping track of it in this way.) After reading a few African post-colonial books, I’ve decided to read at least one book from each country in the world. Very simple, but sort of impossible without a list of some sort. And while I’m at it, why not be able to reorganize it according to continent — or alphabetical order, or whether I’ve checked it off my list — at the touch of a button?

So spreadsheets are connected to a need to keep track, to quantify, and to succeed. And if I’m using them a lot, then I am either doing something right (or else uselessly procrastinating a frightful amount). Though I’m a little too underslept to notice it viscerally, I think I am doing well and moving forward. Maybe that’s it: the spreadsheets serve to prove to myself that the boxes keep filling, that the cursor keeps bumping from one cell to the next, leaving a page of proof of days happening and things changing, ending, improving, growing; of things consumed, obtained, created.