Srini’s Tech Tip: Using the Navigation Pane in Excel 365 and Excel 2021

As you get more advanced in your Excel skills, you will inevitably have many data sheet tabs in a workbook. While it is easy to click on a few visible tabs, or even use keyboard shortcuts to navigate to each tab, these two methods are very cumbersome when you have many sheet tabs.  Scrolling within a sheet for multiple objects or items can also become a time intensive task.

The good news is, in Excel 365 and Excel 2021, there is a new feature to navigate the sheet tabs and the contents within, whether titles, tables or charts. The new feature is the Navigation Pane. Just enable the Navigation Pane, and you can click on a sheet name and the contents within.

Step 1: Enable the Navigation Pane

  • Click on the View tab, then click on Navigation in the drop-down menu.

 

Step 2: Working with items in the Navigation Pane

  • In the Navigation Pane, click on the sheet name to switch to the sheet tab in the workbook.
  • Use the Expand/Collapse arrows to the left of the name to expand and display the contents of the selected sheet.
  • Click on a sub item/content name to go to the specific item or object in the worksheet, instead of scrolling.

 

The Navigation Pane displays all the items in a list, like a Table of Contents page, or a Bookmark Windowpane in a lengthy Adobe PDF document.  The Expand/Collapse arrows are useful when navigating a long list of worksheet contents.  The Search Bar at the top of the Navigation Pane allows you search for a sheet name, which further minimizes scrolling within the pane itself.

 

Why Perfectionism Can Lead to Poor Performance

You’ve heard it before: You shouldn’t let perfection get in the way of progress. But you also want to excel at work and perfection may seem like the best pathway for career growth. However, perfection can be a barrier to getting ahead—in some surprising ways. It’s to your advantage to let go of the pursuit of perfection and find ways to be excellent without being ideal.

Some aspects of perfectionism—setting high standards and working toward goals proactively — can be good for your career, but perfectionism has a significant downside. Obsessing about making mistakes or letting others down or holding yourself to impossibly high standards can have negative consequences. According to research examining 43 different studies over 20 years by York St. John University, perfectionism is linked to burnout as well as depression, anxiety and even mortality.

‌Perfectionism is demotivating. Striving for excellence and pushing yourself are wonderful motivators, but you’ll reduce your engagement if you carry these too far. With ideals which are unattainable, you’ll never feel like you’re good enough and you’ll miss out on rewards of accomplishment. When you’re down or disheartened, it will be tough to put your energy into your work and you’ll detract from your own effectiveness.

Demotivating perfectionism often results in:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Physical health problems

Perfectionism distances you from others. If you fall into the trap of believing you’re close to perfect, you run the risk of intimidating others who know they aren’t. They will want to avoid the overwork or overthinking which become your hallmark. Further, if you avoid admitting mistakes, you’ll come across as inauthentic.

Signs that your perfectionism is creating distances from others:

  • Strained relationships
  • Not being present

Perfectionism reduces your effectiveness. Know when enough is enough and be satisfied with delivering on a project where you’ve performed well, if not flawlessly. Rather than waiting to release your work until it’s perfect, get comfortable with incremental improvement over time, and the career benefits of continuous learning.

Indicators of reduced effectiveness due to perfectionism:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Increased vulnerability

 

 

So how might you shift from your perfectionist tendencies? Whether you’re a confirmed perfectionist or a personality who is always driving for too much, you can change. Here are some suggestions.

Change your thinking. Recognize that you’re limiting yourself and seek to think differently—taking the pressure off of yourself to be all things to all people all the time. Know you can’t possibly do it all and reassure yourself that whatever you do well is a contribution to the community and to your colleagues.

Find a friend. Find a trusted colleague with whom you can compare notes and who can give you feedback and validate your efforts, as well as challenge you when you’re getting stuck. The process of reflecting with a friend and feeling understood can help you make progress.

Be selective. Another way to manage perfection is by assessing what’s most important for your performance and growth. There may be tasks which are less important or less consequential—and you can put less into those—while other tasks demand a higher level of effort.

Set deadlines. Work expands to fit available time, so set deadlines for your projects. Give yourself a timeframe for your work, and when you hit the limit, call the outcome good enough. Strive to do your best and be ready to say something is good enough when it’s time to complete the task.

Adopt a mantra. Sometimes it can be helpful to adopt a saying which will help you stay focused on your goal. For example, tell yourself, “Done is better than perfect.” Or, “Don’t confuse excellence with perfection.” Keep these in mind as you seek to change your beliefs and your behaviors.

Excellence is certainly linked with career advancement, but perfection is not. For all kinds of reasons, perfection can limit you—in terms of your performance, relationships, happiness and wellbeing. No human is perfect, but you can reimagine “perfect” as embracing your imperfections. Be truly you—own it—your talents and strengths as well as your limitations.

 

References:
Forbes (2022, April 3) Tracy Brower, PhD: Perfectionism is Bad for Your Career: 3 Most Important Things to Know
WebMD (2021, August 17) Dan Brennan, MD: Perfectionism: 6 Consequences to Watch For

How Introverts Can Increase Visibility in the Workplace

Visibility means opportunity. Being outgoing and sociable is often seen as the key to success, introverts can feel like they’re at a disadvantage. But being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t shine in the workplace.

Introverts bring their own set of strengths, like being able to focus deeply on tasks, think creatively, and find smart solutions. They’re good listeners too, which makes them great at communicating. But despite these skills, introverts might struggle to get noticed, especially in workplaces that value loud and outgoing personalities.

As an introvert, you can make yourself seen and heard—without pretending to be someone you’re not. Make your presence felt through thoughtful engagement—without being the center of attention. Asking smart follow-up questions, building on what others have said, or simply acknowledging the points made by colleagues are simple ways to get involved in group conversations. There are a number of ways introverts can get noticed and succeed.

1 – Arrive early, speak up quickly (and thoughtfully). Whether it’s a networking event or team meeting, don’t wait for the “right” moment to jump in. Challenge yourself to be the second or third person to contribute to the conversation in order to overcome the initial barrier of participation.

  • Prepare beforehand, jotting down key points or questions you want to raise.
  • Focus on impact by ensuring that your contributions are thoughtful and add value.
  • Swap self-effacing statements for more assertive language. For example:
    • Instead of “This may not be right, but..,” try “Another approach could be…”
    • Or, instead of “Just throwing this out there..,” try, “I’d like to propose…”

2 – Invest in professional development. Take a public speaking course to help build skills and confidence. Seek out leadership training to enhance your ability to lead and influence others, essentially opening up new opportunities for growth and advancement.

3 – Show up through other people. Think of the people with whom you have a mutual champion relationship. You advocate for one another. By connecting with a few key people who have you in mind as they connect with others, you’re visible by association. They act as referral and resource partners, and visibility happens organically and on a personal level. Nurturing a champion relationship with one connected person at a time is more energy efficient and strategic than focusing on the masses.

4 – Lead with your strengths. When you’re aligned with your strengths and lead with them, your message will resonate with others and naturally increase your visibility.

Create a strategy for yourself that is based on being seen, heard, and known by the people who would benefit most from your offerings. And create that strategy in such a way that honors and is in sync with your introvert energy. Being successful doesn’t require that you shout from the rooftops or throw yourself at people. You don’t even have to fake being an extrovert. The people who shine are those who create visibility in a way that aligns with their values and strengths.

 

References:
The Muse (2020, June 19) Beth Buelow: 7 Ways Introverts Can Stand in the Spotlight Without Pretending to Be Extroverts
Forbes (2020, June 26) Inga Bielinska: Five Ways Quiet Workers Can Increase Their Visibility and Recognition
The Wellness Corner (2024, February): How Introverts Can Gain Visibility in the Workplace
Harvard Business Review (2024, March 6) Melody Wilding: An Introvert’s Guide to Visibility in the Workplace

Skills Needed to Work Effectively with Artificial Intelligence

Many employees and managers are excited about how AI can make their work easier and more efficient. But others are concerned that AI will replace people, dampen creativity and ingenuity, make their own skills obsolete, and create workplaces that feel more machine-centric and less human.

While many fear AI will make our workplaces soulless, research suggests that it could actually push us to improve our human-centered soft skills. Workers and companies need to be intentional about cultivating these skills, which are often more difficult to master, harder to measure, and frequently get pushed aside in favor of technical skill sets. The latest research shows that in the AI age, employers expect to increasingly value “soft skills” that enhance human interactions and foster rich, people-centered company cultures. They anticipate that AI will work best when it enhances people’s talents and helps build human connectedness.

Studies reveal two categories of human skills that leaders see as critical — and which organizations are actually teaching to their employees.

  1. Effective interpersonal skills, such as basic conflict resolution, communication, skills of disconnecting from emotions, and even mindfulness practices.
  2. Domain expertise, with a focus on preserving that knowledge among experienced talent and developing it among young inexperienced workers.

 

BGSF staffing firm asked their 218K+ LinkedIn followers to vote on the soft skills they believe will be most important in the workplace in 2024. Here’s what they discovered…

Poll Question: “Which soft skills are most important in the AI-dominated workplace?”

Critical Thinking (47%)
It’s not a surprise that critical thinking received the most votes (47%), as this is a uniquely human skill requiring logic, rational thinking, and unbiased evaluation. According to Fast Company, critical thinking is a necessary skill to evaluate generative AI responses which could contain biases and errors from the vast amounts of patterns and structures in data processing. Employees with the skills to critically assess, question, and filter AI outputs will make the human-AI collaboration a more successful partnership.

Emotional Intelligence (23%)
According to Forbes Advisor, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence ranked 2nd in the BGSF poll and becomes increasingly important when navigating social dynamics in an ever-evolving global workplace.

Creativity (18%)
Creativity came in third, receiving (18%) of the votes. The ability to be creative is an essential skill for effective problem-solving. Creative thinkers often tackle issues from fresh perspectives. According to Forbes Advisor, creative soft skills include brainstorming, imagination, curiosity, and experimentation. According to a study by Hendarman and Cantner, developing soft skills such as creativity and problem-solving may lead to new ideas and services that add value and solve problems, helping the team members and overall organization be more successful.

Unbiased Decision Making (12%)
Although this category came in last (12%), it’s important to note that unbiased decision-making is a uniquely human skill requiring rational thinking, reflective consideration, and the ability to ensure that any AI deployed aligns with your organization’s values and is never used in ways that could be harmful or unjust. This skill will become even more important as AI continues to evolve and impact the workplace.

If done thoughtfully, a renewed focus on soft skills could result in vastly improved workplaces where human connection, strong values, rich communication, and dynamic innovation abound. AI is challenging us to confront many complex workplace issues—and the possibilities for success and new opportunities are endless if handled with care. It’s on us to decide whether we will let AI enhance or diminish the uniquely valuable skills and connections that make us human.


References:

Harvard Business Review (2023, November 3) Nada R. Sanders and John D. Wood: The Skills Your Employees Need to Work Effectively with AI
Fast Company (2024, January 23) Peter Cardon: New Study Finds AI Makes Employers Value Soft Skills More
BGSF (2024, January 23) dmabe49: Which Soft Skills are Most Important in the AI-dominated Workplace?

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