Excel Codenames

One of my favorite hobbies is playing games with my family and friends. However during a pandemic you should attempt to limit physical contact with other people. Unfortunately most of the games I own are not easy to play over zoom. That is why I created Excel Codenames. Codenames is a fun word game that can be played with 4 or more people.

Rules

The idea behind Codenames is that two teams of roughly equal size and skill take turns trying to guess which words belong to their team by single word clues given by a the person on their team designated as the clue giver. Teams take turns guessing at their at their words until all their teams words have been uncovered or the other team guesses the black word and immediately loses. Here is a link to the Official Game Rules.

How the Spreadsheet Works

When you open this spreadsheet you should see the typical Codenames board game. You will need to enable macros to run this game. Once you’ve done that you can start playing off this one or you can have the game randomly generate a new list of words for you by clicking “Generate New Game”

Once you are ready to start the teams will need to pick two clue givers. One from each team. Write their email addresses into cells B12 and B13. The spreadsheet will automatically email the correct answers to the clue givers when “Email Clue Givers Solution Board” is clicked.

NOTE: An instance of Microsoft Outlook will need to be running on the same computer when this is clicked.

Now that the clue givers know what word they are trying to get their team to guess the game can begin. When the clue guessers are ready to see if their guess is correct they can check by clicking on the word they want to guess and then clicking on the “Check Answer” box. If the word changes to the team color they have guessed correctly.

BAR is clicked.
BAR is checked

I’ve added a feature that doesn’t allow the same word to come up unless you play more than 15 games in a row and if you manage to do that maybe you should consider BINGO? If you do want to keep playing though you can click “Clear Word List” and the game will start drawing from the whole word pool again.

Download a copy of the game at the link below. If you have a question about how the game was programmed or how the spreadsheet works feel free to send me a question.

Excel Codenames

And once things go back to normal consider buying the game and having your friends over for an in person game

Free Excel BINGO

Long time no see. Crazy times we live in. Not much of a post here I just wanted to share a bingo game I built in my spare time in Excel. If you are stuck inside this is a great game to help teach numbers to your little ones.

In order to run the game you will need to open it in Excel and enable macros. You can use the game by clicking the green button to draw the next number and the red button reset the game to start over once someone has won.

On the next tab over there is a card generator that will create a new BINGO card each time you click the box.

Grab it in the link below. Let me know how you like it?

BINGO

1 Year of Blogging in Review

Hi everyone! This month marks one year in the books for my website. I figured now would be a good time to do a 1 year review and find out how things are going. I’ll start off by giving myself a failing grade on the use of SMART goals. That will have to get corrected this year. Since I’m a numbers guys I’ll start off with the easily quantifiable metrics and move on to the to the more touchy feely aspects of my blog. So without knowing whether I’m doing good or bad here are the numbers through today.

Unique Users: 997

Pageviews: 3319

Not a whole lot of pageviews or visitors here, but I think I do have an impact on the ones that are visiting. My goal for next year is to at least maintain this amount.

Posts: 27 (That includes this one)

This works out to just over 2 posts a week. I started out pretty hot on the blog and in the second half of the year faded quite a bit. I don’t foresee myself being able to complete as many posts this coming year. My goal here is to post 15 posts by next year.

Expenses: $35

Start up costs on a blog are relatively low. This amount even includes a book I gave away to help promote the site. Hosting for the first year worked out to about $1 a month and owning the domain cost me about $1 a month also. Next year costs will rise. I’m anticipating costs to be about $55 for the coming year.

Revenue: More than $35

I was able to turn a profit during the year. The vast majority of my revenue was generated thanks to the the link just off to the right of this text. My link to Amazon continues slowly pulling in revenue. I continue to think blogging is an excellent business opportunity. Success in this category is only to stay profitable.

My LED light bulb post lead to my most sold product. If you still don’t have LED light bulbs now is the second best time to get them. The best time was when the post originally ran.

Most popular posts:

#1

The One Credit Card Everyone Should Have

#2

Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA

#3

Why 2% is Such a Big Number

These posts are definitely winners. Interestingly enough my about page is more popular than my number 2 most popular post. I’ll have to spend some more time on it to make it a little nicer. Visitors to my site spend way more time on my about page than any other page as well.

That concludes the numbers part of the show. Now on to the qualitative part of my review.

Did I learn anything?

I started out this blog thinking I would learn more about finance, which is a topic I’m greatly interested in. It turns out I knew a lot of about personal finance and I didn’t really learn much about personal finance through these posts. What I did learn is how to get a website started. I’ve learned how to create content. Practicing my writing skills has probably been the biggest benefit to me through this blog.

Have I achieved my mission of making the world a more efficient place?

This is the purpose of the blog and on a small scale I do think I’ve helped people lead a more efficient life. The jury is still out on whether this is the most effective way to make the world a more efficient place. I do think this method scales much better than the alternatives.

Several blog posts have been topics of discussion with friends and family. My post regarding optimal parking strategies spurred several discussions. My work place even required back in parking several months after I published the post. I doubt my blog had anything to do with it, but it felt like a move in the right direction.

What would you like to see on this blog that would make the world a more efficient place? Let me know in the comments.

 

Be Efficient with Time – Use Checklists

Checklists might seem like a rather uninteresting topic, but I contend that they could be one of the most valuable tools we have at our disposal to prevent human error.

Checklists have changed modern medicine in ways many of us don’t realize. In fact, in 2001 a critical care specialist named Peter Pronovost developed a checklist to address the infections cause by placing central lines (an IV used to deliver large volumes). He didn’t intend for the checklist to be all encompassing, but just cover the major issues. What is even more remarkable is that he only had 5 items on his checklist.

  1. Doctors wash their hands with soap
  2. Clean the patient’s skin with antiseptic
  3. Put sterile drapes over the entire patient
  4. Wear a sterile mask, hat, gown, and gloves
  5. Put a sterile dressing over the catheter site once the line is in

Before the checklist became policy Peter asked all the nurses at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he worked, to note when doctors missed a step in the checklist and after a month the nurses noted that in a full third of cases doctor had skipped at least one step in the checklist.

The hospital then instituted a policy where any nurse could interrupt any doctor who was skipping any step. The results were dramatic. The hospital went from an 11% infection rate to less than 1% rate. Over the 15 month trial period for the checklist the hospital estimated that it prevented 43 infections, 8 deaths, and saved 2 million dollars.

I’ve noticed a similarity in my personal life where seemingly unimportant small steps get missed which lead to larger problems. One area where my family continued to see small mistakes get missed was when we were getting ready to leave our house for an extended period of time. While I didn’t keep detailed information I would estimate that roughly half the time we made some error in either forgetting to pack something important (cell phone charger anyone?) or take care of some household chore (ever leave the trash can full for a week? I have. It’s not pleasant to return to) prior to leaving. So to help solve this problem, you guessed it I built a checklist for leaving on vacation. Since instituting the use of the vacation checklist prior to pulling out of the drive way when we are leaving the house for an extended period of time we have not had one problem.

Here is a link to the PDF version if you like it the way it is and an Excel version If you would like to make changes to personalize the checklist to your circumstances.

Vacation Checklist Excel

Vacation Checklist PDF

Do you use checklists in any aspect of your life to help reduce human error? Please share this checklist with anyone who might find value in it.

Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

For Christmas, my brother got me a book by Cal Newport called “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. Well its almost April and I finally got around to reading it. The title was a little misleading. The book is actually more about how to find happiness than getting so good they can’t ignore you. That said Newport did a great job laying out a plan on how to derive more happiness out of your career, which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend you read the book when you have a chance. If you want to borrow my copy feel free to send me a message.

In the book, Newport gives you 4 rules to follow to lead yourself to a happier career.

RULE 1. Following your passion is terrible advice. I thought this was the weakest of the rules in the book. I’ve always felt that your career should be a balance of things people will pay you to do, things you are good at, and things you like to do. Newport argues the point that every job is going to have things that no one likes to do so instead you should focus on building skills in your chosen line of work.

RULE 2. Build skills that are rare and valuable. Newport calls this career capital. I happen to call it plain old skills. I thought Newport offered some insightful advice in this section because he talked about how people who are true experts in their field get that way by doing deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is measured and focused practice on a specific thing in the expert’s field.

RULE 3. Seek out control. Control plays a major role in how happy you will be in a given job. Understand that there has to be balance between control and skills. If you can’t figure out how to file folders correctly don’t expect your boss to let you control your own schedule. On the other hand, if you are the only one in the office who can run the accounting software don’t be afraid to tell your boss when it works best for you to do the job.

RULE 4. Have a mission. Your mission, vision, and values need to be guiding your actions. I couldn’t agree more with this rule. One tip Newport recommended that I thought was an interesting idea was to attempt small experiments to see if they help achieve your mission. This blog happens to be one of my small experiments to see if I can make the world a more efficient place.

Have you used any of these rules to make your career more enjoyable? Let me know how in the comments.

I was not compensated for this review. I am an affiliate with Amazon and am compensated a small amount for each sale made by someone who uses my link. If you would like to do me a favor copy this link into your favorites and use it to navigate to amazon. http://amzn.to/2klSyPo