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How to Work Smart, Not Hard

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Working smarter, not harder, is an age-old adage, and if you master the concept, your entire working life will be easier. There are simple techniques that you can employ to save steps and tedium from almost any task.


  1. Assess everything that needs to be done. Before you plunge in headfirst, remember that enthusiasm needs to be tempered with wisdom. Look over every aspect of the job, and allow yourself ample "pondering time" so that you can be sure that every detail is accomplished on time, and accurately.
  2. Make an outline. Whether it's in your head or on paper, you should have a checklist in mind, and follow it to the letter, and in order - you don't want to repeat steps, duplicate the efforts of others, or make mistakes. Also, you definitely don't want to forget anything.
  3. Consider your materials. Don't take shortcuts, when possible, on the quality of your materials. Cheap materials are harder to work with, because they aren't as sturdy or nice. Because they're harder to work with, they take longer to bend to your will. Remember that working smart means thinking about these things - in most jobs, the materials aren't where the majority of the costs are. It's the labor - the time needed to complete the job - that costs the company more money. Using inexpensive materials where they are easily installed makes sense. Trying to save a few bucks but spending an extra hour or two because those cheap things didn't install properly doesn't make any sense at all.
  4. Follow your plan and don't deviate from it - unless you must. Once you've assessed the job and come up with a plan, it's usually best to stick with the plan. However, things come up: a part doesn't fit, or it turns out it's not the best item for the job, someone gets sick, all sorts of emergencies can throw a wrench into your plan. Be prepared to think on your feet, and be resourceful. Nimble thinking is essential to working smart, especially when something goes wrong. Following a plan slavishly, in spite of new information, developments, or problems is just plain dumb. Be flexible and change if you need to.
  5. Delegate to the right people at the right times. Make sure your team is well-ordered. If one person is faster, put him or her on the part of your task that will take longest. If one person is more skilled and accurate, put him or her on the part of the task that is most critical.
  6. Work parallel. This means that there may be four or five, for example, components to your job. Let's say you are a design and display company creating a display for a county fair. Your client wants a combination of signs, banners, flyers, and brochures, along with a booth design. You set your best designer in motion to design the copy and look of things, but meanwhile, you assign someone to procure what essential supplies you will need. So far, you could be having one of your people contact printers to get pricing for the number of flyers and/or brochures your client wants, and another to take an inventory of what sign and banner materials you already have on hand - vinyl or paint colors, banner sizes, pre-cut blanks. This way, once the client meeting is complete and you have a good idea of what is going into the installation, you can match it to your inventory and see if there are things on hand that you can use to get started, while someone else goes and gets the things you still need.
  7. Control clients by communicating properly. Many times, it's hard to work smart because your clients will insist that their job is a big rush. Instead of scrambling to get that job done, make sure your clients understand in the initial meeting what your normal turnaround time for their job would be. If you know you will need two weeks, don't let the client squeeze you into one week unless that client is willing to pay extra for the rush. Most businesses have more than one client, yet many clients forget that their job is not the only one you're working on.

    • Stick to your policies. If you charge extra to rush a job, don't deviate from that, ever. It's unfair to apply policies to some customers and not others. When one client comes in and is very pushy, feeling entitled to your undivided attention immediately, often, you can simply say something like, "Sure, we can rush the job for you, but I need to let you know that it will cost extra - probably as much as 50% more than the original quote, for the rush." It's amazing how quickly this type of client stands down, saying, "Oh, forget that - it's not that big a rush. We can wait." Just let them know that you are willing to rush their jobs, but by doing so, you must move other customers who were "in line" before them out of the way - causing you to run those jobs behind. Plus, you need different workers to complete different jobs, and rushing requires you to pay them overtime, rather than allowing more time to complete the job during regular hours. This is smart - it lets your clients know that you really know your stuff, plus it relieves your schedule or makes you more money.
    • Give one to three choices - never more. Handing a swatch book to a client and saying, "Tell me which colors you are interested in" is deadly. Too many choices will cause horrible delays as the customer peruses ALL possibilities, and later tends to second-guess every decision, wanting to see it now "In green?" or how about "In this chartreuse? It's just a shade different, but..." Oy. Instead, say things like, "Do you like this blue or this green better?" Lots of the jobs you do will instantly suggest certain tools, colors, approaches, materials, etc. You can also attempt to influence the client in the direction you think best for his purpose. Use your expertise to narrow down the critical choices right away: "We can paint, which will be expensive to fix when it weathers, about 3 - 5 years from now, or we can use 5-year vinyl, or 10-year vinyl for the letters. The best stuff only costs a few dollars more."
  8. Never willingly trap yourself into accepting a bad job. You know when a job is going to be great. You also know when you get that "uh-oh" feeling that something is not right. A client or boss who pressures you into areas where you are not comfortable, either because it is an unreasonable expectation or because it's outside your scope needs to be aware immediately of your discomfort with the job as proposed. Make any misgivings clear instantly, and in front of others, if possible. If you are self-employed, declining a job like this is much smarter, even though it's so hard to let that money go when you depend on every job for your livelihood. Still, a client who doesn't pay because you didn't adhere to every jot and tittle of his demands (and some are just breathtakingly demanding) is not a good customer in the end, and if you work for hours and end up not being paid all or part of what you worked for - especially when you were sweating bullets over it the whole time - is not smart. And it's the hardest work you'll ever do.
  9. Work as hard and as efficiently as possible, and finish each job as quickly as you can. Hit every job with everything you've got. Getting it done quickly and efficiently - while you have the time - is much smarter than looking at the schedule and telling yourself you have three more days to get it done, and then going to a long lunch or off to play tennis or whatever. You don't know what will happen tomorrow - you might come down with the flu. Figuring that you will need only one day to complete that job if nothing goes wrong and then sitting on it just because you can is dumb. If you end up getting sick, you might not even be well enough to finish on time, let alone early. Running out the clock on jobs when you don't absolutely need to can force a rush at the finish line, or worse, deprives you of opportunities you might not have otherwise.

    • Example: you're the self-employed designer mentioned above. Today is Wednesday. You have a big job due for Client A on Friday. You know the job will only take about 8 hours if all goes well. You could quit at 4pm and go to a ballgame with friends, leaving you all day tomorrow to finish so that the job will be ready for pickup on Friday morning. Or you could put your head down and work until 7pm today instead of your usual 6pm. If you do this, you will be finished today - the client can pick it up on Thursday morning, a full day ahead of schedule. You decide to sacrifice the ballgame and get the job done tonight. On Thursday morning, Client B comes in, panicked because he has a job which he needs finished by Friday - you've worked with him before, and he realizes he will have to pay a rush charge to get it done that quickly. You accept the job on a rush basis, knowing you have cleared your schedule and can easily turn this around in time during regular hours - you will work no overtime, but still receive rush pay. Had you gone to that ballgame, Client A's job would still be sitting there, undone, and in front of this job, and you would have to work all day today to finish it, then be forced to pull an all-nighter to finish Client B's rush job. But because you sacrificed your fun at the ballgame: You can call Client A on Thursday and let him know he can come and pick up his job, plus, you can do the new job, be Client B's hero - and you can get his job to him by Friday! On top of that, you can even give Client B a slight discount (from the rate he was willing to pay for the rush job), and still make loads of money you wouldn't have been able to make at all, had you allowed Client A's job to run out until Friday, slacking until the last minute.
  10. Recognize the point of 'diminishing returns.' The above steps do not imply that you should work yourself to the point of exhaustion. You need to protect your health and the integrity of your job. Working yourself to a frazzle constantly makes you prone to mistakes. When you're so tired that you realize it's taking you twice or three times longer to do a job than normal, you need to call it a day. Rest at least a few hours, and come back fresher, so that you can be strong at the end of the job. Learn how to power nap.
  11. Finish strong. It's sooooo important! Being dead tired and sluggish at the finish line is not smart - it's foolish. Be sure that you are well rested at deadline time. On the day a client is expected to pick up his or her job, go over it with a fine-toothed comb - and this means checking the finished product against the original instructions, making sure they match up. Check it for accuracy and detail, make any adjustments, corrections or touch-ups well ahead of the time the client will arrive. Making sure every last detail has been checked and re-verified will make you confident and calm when your client comes to pick up the job. You can present it proudly, knowing that everything has been done to ensure the client will be happy with the finished product. Your confidence spills over to the client, which also makes it easier to ask for that final payment - when you see the client smiling and appreciative of the work you've done for him or her. This works for any project you have to do in life.


  • When you can work, do. Don't slack or allow time to run out so that you're rushing at the end to meet a deadline.
  • When you're sick, stay home and rest until you are well. You make too many mistakes when you're ill or tired to call that "working smart."
  • Learn to make your money work for you. Working a lot and spending every penny you make is NOT working smart!


  • It's mentioned above that you should avoid taking a bad job. By that, it's meant that you know that it's a sort of thing you aren't good at, or that is not part of the usual services you offer, or that it's something you don't know much about. Instead of trying to bs your way through it, tell the truth. And if you get an "uh-oh" feeling from the client, don't take the job. If you have a sense right away that this client is not on the same page with you, either you must take steps immediately to get them there, or you must not take the job. This doesn't suggest that a difficult client is a bad client - often, a difficult client isn't really so difficult at all, once s/he knows you and trusts you to do the good job s/he requires. But one who constantly grinds for discounts, tries to get you to cut corners to save money, or changes scope of job or deadlines in the middle of everything, this is someone who will work your last nerve. You must ask yourself if the money you make on these jobs is worth the time, effort and tears.
  • There is one other situation you should take caution with, and that is allowing the customer to make changes mid-stream, causing you to go out of pocket much more than you originally planned. A little tweak is one thing. A big change should stop everything while you re-think - and re-bid. The client should be made aware instantly that it's not "just a little change", and that making changes in mid-job could cost significantly more. Don't allow yourself to be suckered into making "just a little adjustment" more than one time during a job. Some clients have this down to a science, asking for "small changes" several times when you're already heavily into the project. Many huge problems and disagreements (usually resulting in you not getting paid as you should have, had you bid the job this way originally) start with "small changes."

M Junaid Tahir
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Management Tip of the Day: Be Assertive While Being Yourself

If you're reserved, you've likely been told you need to be more assertive at work. But if that's not your natural style, how can you still ask for what you need and get what you want? Here are three ways:
  • Start with a success inventory. To understand when your style is effective or not, spend a week assessing your success. Before a meeting, ask yourself, "What do I want?" Then, afterwards, evaluate the results.
  • Set small goals. Challenge yourself with a specific goal. For example, give yourself a week to initiate three difficult conversations with colleagues. Or promise that in group discussions for the next month, you'll speak up within the first two minutes.
  • Build relationships. If you hold back because you're uncomfortable with your co-workers, consider interacting more with colleagues outside of work so that you feel more at ease speaking up.

M Junaid Tahir
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The 7 Super Powers You Must Posses

By Junaid Tahir
Each one of us want high happiness index, peace of mind, mature character and success in life but most of us do not really strive to achieve these goals. Out of us who struggle for their goals a very few are able to make things happen. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is the difference between the level of Inner Power both the categories posses in their brains and the level of Power they exert to achieve what they want to achieve. In my opinion, the Inner Powers consist of following seven categories and the intellectuals who possess all these mental muscles can accomplish a great deal of victories in most of the fields of life:

1-  The Power of Focus:
There is a story which tells that during the bird shooting session, the instructor asked each shooter what he is looking at. One candidate said, I am looking at the flock of birds, another said, I am looking at the tree where birds are about to sit however one shooter said that I am looking in the eyes of one of the flying birds ! This is the power of focus I want to draw your attention towards. Focus means to insert all of your energies on one goal and do not let any obstacles change your attention. Remember, you see problems when you move your eyes away from your target. Don't let your mind distracted from your goal. Don't let impure thoughts spoil your plans. Remember, what you focus on increases so don't let the seeds of negativity get nourished in your brain. Use Zoom-In and Zoom-Out tool to strengthen your Power of Focus.

2-  The Power of Vision:
A fast pace horse running in the wrong direction will never reach its destination. Instead it will cause misleading ripple effect to its followers too. Building the Power of Vision starts with your thinking style, awareness about your field, your comprehension capabilities and your caliber to imagine the future.
A)                  Your thoughts are the seeds for your character because thoughts give birth to actions which become your habits and constitutes towards your personality and consequently your destiny. Empowering your thought process involves staying away from negative thoughts, trying being part of the solutions instead of problems with less criticism and more optimism.
B)                  Awareness: Empowering your awareness level involves a lot of reading, meeting with high potency people, watching relevant documentaries and observing people in the industry. Make habit of reading great magazines and watching news daily to improve your vision. 
Once you develop the Power of Vision, your comprehension levels will be as deep as a sea; your thoughts will fly as high as sky and your strategies will be as solid as rocks.

3-  The Power of Now:
People make plans people forget plans people fail. Why? They don't execute. They keep thinking and they keep waiting for the 'right' moment to kick off their plans. This 'right' moment never comes if they keep waiting for it. The right moment is now. The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up and act. This is understood that planning is important. However if you keep wasting your time in the name of planning, you will end up as a failed chap. Break down the big target into smaller tasks and start implementing one by one starting today. Don't waste your time as your idea might get implemented by someone else. You might have more tough circumstances with more complications tomorrow. You might have to bear the burden of additional responsibilities so Now is the time to take action. Now is the time to make difference. Now is the time to make things happen. Remember, your thoughts will not take you anywhere if you don't implement them. So take action Now !!! 

4-  The Power of Positivity:
Successful people posses a positive mindset. To develop this power you must shield yourself from Negativity. Remember that being positive will give you the freedom to look forward instead of looking in past. If you keep wandering in past with negative thoughts you will not be able to proceed with your goals.  Positive people are part of solutions not part of problems. Positive people convert risks into opportunity. They have the sense of gratitude. They believe in skills not in luck. If you want to build this power, try staying away from negative souls, make the habit of reading good books, join some nice pages on Facebook or Google Plus, read wisdom quotes and surround yourself in positive people.

5-  The Power of Analytics:
Being analytical helps in many ways, for example, breaking down bigger problem in to smaller tasks, considering the issue from more wider and multiple angles, evaluating the options from Needs and Wants perspective, differentiating between urgent and important tasks and eventually working on things which matter the most. Whether you want to analyze large data at work, or you want to purchase a new mobile set, Resolving a technical issue or handling a conflict in family or work, analytical skills help you a lot. Read a thorough article Here

6-  The Power of Flexibility:
Mostly people think the other way around; in fact being flexible doesn't mean being weak instead it portrays your powerful personality trait that you care about others and respect the difference of opinion. It is said: "Better to bend than to break" so the more flexible you are, the more you will be able to manage stress which will strengthen your thought process. Keep your ego aside and listen to the perspective of others. Keep your mental doors open and be flexible in changing your plans. Be adaptable to situations because sometimes U-turn in life are fine to take. Don't get dishearten. Remember, God takes men to deep waters not to drown them but to cleanse them".

7-  The Power of 'Implosiveness':
Great people are not explosive at all. They are cool at mind and heart. They are not sensitive and reactive in nature. When a tragic situation triggers their anger, they analyze it from logical, sentimental and ethical angles and then respond in order to improve the situation and not vice versa.  So you must believe in the fact reactive nature will reduce your friends and increase your foes.     

Empower your personality with these 7 super powers and gain ultimate heights in life.
Remember, success is not a destination, it's a journey. For this journey, there are no escalators so you must take the ladder passage. Which means you have to take step by step approach to reach to the top. If you are in doubt at any stage, just take next small step and notice the consequences. If all fine, go ahead; if something goes wrong, take a step back and re-assess your direction.

Associated posts:

 Junaid Tahir, a telecom engineer and a blogger, writes articles on wisdom, happiness and stress management at his personal blog. His personal Google Group can be joined here. He is reachable at for any kind of suggestions and comments.

Taking care of your teeth - how?

if you do not have a lot of time to read the whole article, read the highlighted sentences :)


What is it that causes toothaches? How did my teeth go bad suddenly when they were fine all these years? Why do my teeth hurt when I eat or drink anything hot or cold? How did I manage to get cavities even though I brush every day? All these and more are questions many of us ask at some point of time or the other. Toothaches are very common, as are the cavities that cause them. Many of us also end up chipping a tooth due to a fall, contact during sports or maybe even a pointless fight in school. The teeth are among the hardest parts of our body, but they are vulnerable to injury and decay. 


Enamel and everything else
The hard, outer part of the tooth that appears white in colour is called the enamel. The enamel has high mineral content, which is why it is very hard and brittle. It is also non-living and has no nerve endings or blood flow. So, we do not feel anything on our teeth until the enamel actually decays and the underlying layer is exposed. 
The job of the enamel is to aid in the primary functions of the teeth: chewing, biting and tearing. It also protects the underlying living and sensitive layers of the teeth from contact with food and other objects. 
Keeping the enamel intact and the teeth healthy requires a proper combination of good oral health and diet. 
The bad guys
The biggest enemy of the teeth is sugar. This means that all the sweet stuff like candies, ice-cream, fizzy drinks and fruit juices are villains who will damage your enamel. How? Sugars are broken down right at the mouth because they are an instant source of energy. When sugar breaks down, certain acids are produced. Because the enamel is high in mineral content, it dissolves in acid, causing erosion and decay. These dental caries, or cavities that are created with enamel decay expose the sensitive underlying layers of the teeth. And that is when it hurts.
The mouth also has lots of bacteria. Some of them form a thin coating around the teeth during this sugar break-down process. This coating is called a plaque and it can easily be scraped off with a toothbrush. However, if allowed to remain for a couple of days, they form a brownish coating on the enamel called a tartar. You may have noticed such brown stains especially on the back surface of your teeth. Plaque and tartar not only harm the teeth by causing decay, they can also cause infection of the gums. 
What does all this mean? The enamel suffers at the hands of food items with high sugar content and bacteria that constantly seek to attack whatever tissue they can find. Food stuck in between the teeth amplifies this problem, causing the enamel to erode and cavities to form. Cavities are usually irreversible i.e. the enamel cannot be reformed to fill up these cavities. Tartar, too becomes rock hard when it forms and cannot be removed by brushing. The best way to take care of your teeth and keep them healthy is to prevent such problems from occurring. 
Clean teeth and good food
Brushing our teeth regularly is very important. Not just because it makes the teeth shine and gives us fresh breath, but also because it literally saves the enamel from daily dangers. It helps to remove plaque and small pieces of food stuck between the teeth that are harbingers of cavities and painful toothaches. The fluoride present in toothpaste enables the minerals in teeth to resist bacterial attack. A dental floss further removes tiny pieces of food that toothbrushes can miss and mouthwash has anti-bacterial properties, all working together to keep the mouth safer. Brush twice regularly and your teeth will remain healthy for a long time
Avoid food that has very high sugar content, especially if you already have cavities. It is the frequency and not the quantity of sugar ingestion that decides the amount of harm done to your teeth. Hence, chewing on candies throughout the day is more damaging than eating lots of ice-cream in one sitting because the former keeps the mouth acidic for a longer period of time
Most of our meals contain starch which gets broken down into sugar and so a certain amount of acidity after each meal is inevitable. Rinsing well after each meal and using a toothpick to removes bits and pieces of food stuck in the teeth are good habits that will keep your teeth healthier and cleaner. Fizzy drinks and fruit juices are better drunk with a straw so that they do not come much in contact with your teeth.
Those of us who have developed cavities will have noticed that the teeth do not hurt until the cavity has become pretty deep or unless the teeth come in contact with very hot or cold food and that sends a rush of pain in the underlying part of the tooth. Hence, it is very important to regularly visit a dentist to check for cavities and decay, especially in areas such as the molars and in-between the teeth which are not really visible to us. Dental procedures are available to clean and fill cavities and to remove tartar, preventing further damage to the tooth. 
Other things to watch out for
Prolonged acidity, formation of tartar and subsequent bacterial infection can cause harm to the gums, too. Infected gums can cause swelling, bleeding, weak dental roots and a lot of pain, not to mention bad breath. Hence, the importance of proper oral hygiene cannot be stressed upon enough. 
As for the teeth, they are vulnerable to injury and hence, proper protection should be used when indulging in activities that put them at risk. The enamel can also be damaged by actions such as grinding and rubbing teeth against each other and hence, one should avoid doing so. 
A healthy set of teeth helps in proper chewing and digestion, protects against infection of the various tissues in the mouth and what's more, it also gives you a great smile. The second set of teeth we have is permanent and irreplaceable and hence, we should do what we can to take good care of it.
Note:  For more details and guidance please contact your Doctor.  This is just for the general information of the readers 
source: unknwon
M Junaid Tahir
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Story: Alphabet For Blinds


Braille was 10 years old when he was sent to a special boarding school for the blind. He was both intelligent and creative and wasn't going to let his disability slow him down. 
The books for the blinds had large letters that were raised up off the page. Since the letters were so big, the books themselves were large and bulky.  It took him a long time to read a sentence. By the time he reached the end of a sentence, he almost forgot what the beginning of the sentence was about. Louis knew there must be a better way.
By the time Louis Braille was 12, something important happened. A soldier visited the school and showed children the military code called "night writing" which was used by soldiers to communicate after dark.  It was based on dots system.  Each dot or combination of dots stood for a letter or a phonetic sound.  This was a very complicated system, but it inspired Louis Braille to develop a six-dot system for the blind.
On his next vacation home, he sat in his father's leather shop and picked up one of his father's blunt awls. The idea came to him in a flash. Louis used the blunt awl to punch out a sentence using dots. He read it quickly from left to right. Everything made sense. It worked.
He worked on this system of six raised dots in different combinations, each combination corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. Because there were fewer dots, they could be "read" with one finger-tip.  Soon the benefits of the new system were realized. Today, Braille is used in almost every country in the world.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Braille is one of the most important innovations in history. True it does not affect the majority of people, but for anybody who has too poor eye-sight to read normal text, it is a vital link to the outside world. 

Story: The Wife And The Window

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next
 morning, while  they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her
 neighbor hang the  wash outside.

 That laundry is not very clean, she said, she doesn't
 know how to wash  correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.
 Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her
 neighbor  would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the
 same  comments.

 About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
 nice clean wash  on the line and said to her husband: "Look! She has
 learned how to wash  correctly. I wonder who taught her this."
 The husband said: "I got up early this morning and
 cleaned our windows!"
 And so it is with life:
"What we see when watching
 others depends on the  purity of the window through which we look.
Before we give
 any  criticism, it might be a good idea to check our state of
 mind and ask  ourselves if we are ready to see the good rather than to be
 looking for  something in the person we are about to judge.

M Junaid Tahir
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Using VLOOKUP Tool for Microsoft Excel

If any of the picture does not load properly in this article, i suggest visiting the below link to learn vlookup.


What is VLOOKUP Formula & how to use it?

I tell my excel school students that learning VLOOKUP formulas will change your basic approach towards data. You will suddenly feel that you have discovered a superman cape in your attic. It is that awesome.

What does VLOOKUP really do?

Imagine you have a list of data and you want answer a question like, "How many sales did Jimmy make?"

VLOOKUP is one of the formulas you can use in this situation. VLOOKUP searches a list for a value in left most column and returns corresponding value from adjacent columns.

What is VLOOKUP formula and how to use it?

Read more – What is VLOOKUP formula and how to use it?

Introduction to VLOOKUP, MATCH & OFFSET formulas

VLOOKUP may not make you tall, rich and famous, but learning it can certainly give you wings. It makes you to connect two different tabular lists and saves a ton of time. In my opinion understanding VLOOKUP, OFFSET and MATCH worksheet formulas can transform you from normal excel user to a data processing beast.

Introduction to VLOOKUP, MATCH & OFFSET formulas

Read more – VLOOKUP, MATCH & OFFSET explained in plain English

How to do wildcard searches with VLOOKUP?

Often we need our lookup formulas to go wild. Not in the sense of go-wild-and-chomp-a-few-kilo-bytes-of-data sense. But wild like wild cards. For eg. In the below data, we may not remember the full name of sales person, but we know that her name starts with jac. Now how do you get the sales amount for that person?

You can use wildcard characters * and ? with VLOOKUP & several other Excel formulas.

How to use VLOOKUP with wildcards?

Read more – Using wildcards with VLOOKUP formulas

Making VLOOKUPS dynamic with data validation

Sometimes we don't know what we want. If this happens when I am in a bar, I usually order a cocktail. Just a mix of everything. The same will work in Excel too.

For eg. If you have lots of data, but the value you want to look up needs to change based on whims and fancies of your users, then you can resort to a cocktail. A mix of VLOOKUP with Drop down lists (Data validation).

Making VLOOKUPS dynamic with data validation

Read more – Use data validation with VLOOKUP to lookup anything you want

How to lookup values to the left?

There is no argument that VLOOKUP is a beautiful & useful formula. But it suffers from one nagging limitation. It cannot go left.

Let me explain, Imagine you have data like below. Now, if you want to find-out who is the sales person who made $2,133 in sales, there is no way VLOOKUP can come to rescue. This is because, once you search a list using VLOOKUP, you can only return corresponding items from the column at right, not at left.

How to lookup values to the left?

Read more – How to use INDEX + MATCH combination to fetch values from left

How to lookup based on multiple conditions?

Not always we want to lookup values based on one search parameter. For eg. Imagine you have data like below and you want to find how much sales Joseph made in January 2007 in North region for product "Fast car"? Read more to find how to solve this.

Read more – How to lookup based on multiple conditions?

How to get values from multiple columns with VLOOKUP?

VLOOKUP is great for extracting information from a huge data table based on what you are looking for. But what if you need to extract more than one column of information? For eg. Lets say you have salesperson's name in left most column, and monthly sales figures in next columns, one for each month. Now, you want to find the total sales made by a given sales person. How do you go about it?

Read more – How to get values from multiple columns with VLOOKUP?

Using VLOOKUP formula with tables

Excel Tables, a newly introduced feature in Excel 2007 is a very powerful way to manage & work with tabular data. I really like tables feature and use them often. If you are new to tables, read up Introduction to Excel Tables. In this short video, understand how to use tables with VLOOKUP formulas.

Watch the video – Using VLOOKUP formula with tables

Doing 2 way lookups in Excel

So far we have seen what VLOOKUP formula is and how to put it to some nifty uses. Lets go one step further and learn how to do 2 Way Lookups.

What is a 2 Way Lookup?

Lookup is when you find a value in one column and get the corresponding element from other columns. 2 Way Lookup is when you lookup value at the interesection of a given row & column values.

Doing 2 way lookups in Excel

Read more – 2 way lookup formula in Excel

Getting 2nd matching value from a list using VLOOKUP

We know that VLOOKUP formula is useful to fetch the first matching item from a list. So what would you do if you need 2nd (or 3rd etc.) matching item from a list?

Read more – Getting 2nd matching value using VLOOKUP

Range lookups in Excel

Here is a really tricky problem. Recently I was given a data set like this (shown below) and asked to find the position of lookup value in the list. The only glitch is that, instead of values, the lookup table contained lower and upper boundaries of the values. See the below illustration to understand the situation. In this case, how do you lookup?

Range lookups in Excel

Read more – Doing range lookups in Excel

6 VLOOKUP tips

Ok, you have learned how to write vlookup formulas. You have also seen some pretty interesting examples of it.

But how do you write better VLOOKUP formulas?


M Junaid Tahir
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Story - Secret of success

A young man asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him towards the river. When the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled his head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, 'What did you want the most when you were there?" The boy replied, "Air." Socrates said, "That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it." There is no other secret

Moral of the Story 

A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishment. Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce great results. The motivation to succeed comes from the burning desire to achieve a purpose.
i hope everyone like it

M Junaid Tahir
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Good parenting

Childcare :: #1407
By Bill Perry from Chatsworth USA.

Good Parenting
As you struggle to be the best parent you can be, keep one goal in mind; that as your kids get older, they should always know that you love them. We all make mistakes as parents, but it's a lot easier for them to understand and appreciate your efforts (however clumsy) if they know your heart in the right place.


Touching Story: Unconditional Love :)

This story truly touched my heart.
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.
He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
And he was willing to do that for her.
~ Author Unknown ~
Lessons to be learnt :
M Junaid Tahir
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