This tutorial is available for all users. Start with a 7 Day Free Trial today and get access.

Hey there stranger!

Let's not be strangers any more. Start a FREE TRIAL today to view this tutorial, right now.

Ali Abdaal's Google Sheet | Year at a Glance

About this Tutorial

Ali gave away a free Google Sheet Template. In this tutorial I step through making it better, with better fonts, and colors. As well as making it more branded to share Ali's brand message better as the sheet gets copied and used, and shared. Great tutorial for those wondering how to brand your own sheets. Make your own lead magnets, and share your brand's message via Google Sheets.

Video Transcript

00:00 Hello, so in this video we're gonna go over this year at a glance template that I just got from Ali Abdaal.
00:06 So how he manages time is so this is a video he just created about a week ago and it showcases not just the template, but it also showcases a link to get the template so you can go get Ali Abda's template of how he manages his time and this is actually an exercise so it's not necessarily literally
00:26 how he manages his time but it's an exercise to understand days and the days of the month and the rest of the year and you can do this for a year, for a quarter, for a month, for the the rest of the year, right now I'm creating this video in May so maybe you're like, oh the next six months
00:47 are very important in my life and I want to map that out and this is a great system to do it what's really cool too is the style that Ali Abdaal adds to this it's not just a basic sheet but I want to go a little bit deeper and show you in this video a couple of things I want to show you one 
01:08 how I think this sheet individually could be better a couple of font choices style choices you'll see and then also go into branding so if you're giving away a basics rule and then have that full health Overall you'll see that this is a shade sheet like this like in this description you
01:25 won't be able to get this sheet you have to go to Ali Abdaal's I won't give you the sheet for free unless you are a better sheets member if you're a better sheets member you get this sheet that I made better for Ali Abdaal's so, really exciting oh, so when you're making a sheet and
01:43 if you want to give this away if you want to give this style of sheet it's sort of a workbook or a planner kind of thing which I highly recommend you do if you're kind of customers, clients, audience is going to enjoy this kind of thing but make it your own you'll see all about that later 
02:00 really how to bring it and it I'll share with you how to do that and I'll walk through doing this for Ali here so first off the number one thing I would change and this is not necessarily the best change but I I just want to recommend it is in the sheet itself and in the instructions from the email
02:22 here is some instructions we have these long-winded instructions and and images of make a copy, rename this copy, click here that's all that doesn't seem like a lot if you're into if you're copying a lot of sheets but we can make this better this url that is shared in Ali Abdallah's email is a direct
02:44 email not a direct sheet a direct link to the sheet but if you add copy you get this and and sometimes you might hear that recommendation slash copy and this makes it one click to copy but here's the problem with this is that it doesn't allow someone to really just see it and know that they're copying
03:04 the right thing if you mess up the link it's not so clear if this is wrong or not and so it this actually produces I think more trouble and more contemplation more complication but what you can do is go template slash template slash preview by doing this you get to see inside the sheet the one complication
03:29 I would say with this is that this used template button does say used template so you do have to give some messaging of like copy it here by clicking on this used template button but here's the thing it's not as complicated as going to file make a copy and here's also the thing you don't necessarily
03:47 have to give instructions on how to make a copy this file make a copy is very well known and if somebody doesn't know how to use that then they might not be using a Google Sheet properly just something to think about total I actually sort of am erring on the side of more instructions and not just these
04:07 sort of screenshots of two steps but at least let people know that click use template and give them maybe all of these options like say hey click here and copy to your Google Drive click here and see it see a preview and copy it to your Google Drive click here to access the sheet immediately because
04:25 here's something interesting that happens when you are creating a sheet that you know okay other people you will use asynchronously meaning they're gonna you're gonna send an email you're gonna have this on your website you're gonna have it somewhere sign up to my newsletter and we'll send you
04:42 a link blah blah blah all that stuff if you're doing it that way then yes you'll want to give this sort of copy slash template preview but if you're doing something like a community organizing or like a live stream or something having all of these anonymous animals actually does create a little bit 
05:05 of community I know they're anonymous I know they're weird and colorful if you become a BetterSheets member if you're if you are a BetterSheets member or you become a BetterSheets member you can actually choose your avatar in BetterSheets by the way note to better sheet members you can choose your avatar
05:20 at BetterSheets but of all the things in Google Sheets Google Sheets and Google Workspace always feels lonely we are here sitting in our chair on our computer in a sheet but we know that other people are around we are collaborating right especially if you are editing with other people in your workspace
05:43 in your workspace in your work it gives a little bit of camaraderie right so if you're doing something live or at least pressurizing that time into maybe an hour or so having these anonymous animals and just adding a little bit of more fun to it so i do understand why maybe during launches you're
06:03 doing a product hunt launch or product launch or like a weekend hackathon or a community event or if you're trying to gather you know a hundred people to add some add something or get something alright in a matter of a day this might be great to see that there's other people here so i would not
06:21 discount just giving them blame url alright but let's make a copy and make some actual changes so actually let's jump into this this sheet talk about it a little bit and make some changes because he alihabdal has made a wonderful sheet but has missed number one advice i ever give about google sheets
06:42 is ariel don't use ariel so the the number one thing i would change about this sheet i don't know why there's a blink thing here i don't know why but honestly the sheet looks great right what ends up happening is he does a couple of things right very right he deletes all of the necessary rows
07:04 and columns except these two for some reason has a nice header that actually funny enough matches the color here so just a shade lower i would actually make these shades these lower maybe to match it but that's not really making it better what is making it better is if we change this aerial text
07:27 to let's say Carla Carla is like my favorite font right now change it to Carla increase the font a little bit we don't even need to keep it at like 11 just bring some freshness i would also you know but these are pastel colors which make it very nice there's an opportunity here for comics ends i 
07:51 would not bold it i would in fact gray it out a little bit this might look weird right because it's different but i think it's better because you will know the month the month is something you just need to see the word know it you don't have to be reminded of it one of the classic mistakes we make
08:14 is have our headers bold and bright and then our data very hard to read and mushed up so i would maybe even do this i would make the numbers here something like 12 and then i would take this header row and decrease it down to like 10 you only need to glance at this header and maybe again i would take
08:37 these down a step right these are using the these classics so they're easy to take down a little bit yeah like you know what happens is that this sheet looks sort of mono not monotone mono something oh this one's unique here that's good i would add more unique colors when you ran out of unique
09:03 colors and you also need to have like so many different colors you can have them maybe the different maybe have the different seasons here but yeah just do this by hand we don't need that header to be so bright so and you did a wonderful job of having it not like in your face in a whole row this
09:24 is different but i do think the main focus should be on the content here especially when you're planning and let's look at these numbers too i think we can take these down a notch as well let's try to do that let's take this text i'm actually going to go over and do a custom number i like 444 
09:47 444 i think that's way better than the darkest dark and maybe even what happens if we do white so in this case if it's white text you want which actually might look nicer you do need to do the darker background so i would go back to this you know just playing around and trying to make this a little bit
10:14 better there we go yeah this white looks great instead of this black so there all the headers are back to their background darker and their white text that looks way better we can increase this if you want sort of at a glance so this is year at a glance so the idea is that you're just getting this sort
10:36 of big picture so what might happen is if your text at the header is too small like 10 and here's 12 your words like you're gonna actually like lose the header completely but honestly that's not such a bad idea right we don't need this header to remind us it's december we're gonna get that by contextual
10:54 reasons right by being here it's the end of the month end of the year this does look a little sort of too pastel-y too sort of easter-y i would try to and these headers towards more seasonal right and the other thing that's gonna happen is that our this this looks nice as it is but once we 
11:16 start adding things and having a large amount of text here maybe not a large amount of text but we're gonna be merging some of these to say hey this block is this because vacation or something right we're gonna have a lot more text here what i would do is i would just right away make all of these 
11:34 i'm holding down command to select all of these i would just make these a little bit bigger you know aesthetically you might want to you might want to take a photo or a screenshot of this especially if you're trying to share it yeah like i would give a lot more room because this is what people are going
11:51 to use this right and depending on your viewport this looks like one two three four almost like four and a half so i would maybe do four months in a viewport depends a lot on your viewport because like if you can you can do something like ah you can't do it but we can zoom out and zoom in depends
12:13 on the size of your sheet but like look right now i have it at four months across that's a nice set of no it's just more than a quarter oh my god three months is a quarter so you can even do something like this that's a little bit too much keep going a little bit down there we go so now we got a quarter
12:36 there and then maybe add a break here if you really don't want to see the next quarter yet because we're gonna put a lot more text here and it's just gonna break down right you can even have a sort of each quarter on a separate tab if you want i like the idea though that it is at a glance and you
12:52 see a year and you see these months sort of next to each other they're so quick and one more subtle change i would do it does improve the readability honestly like having a less contrast background of your google sheet is just generally you're gonna be able to spend a lot more time here and you can 
13:17 sort of see it you can even up the background a little bit but by doing this you're just gonna be able to spend more time glancing at it i know oh the high contrast sort of looks good and looks great especially in screenshots and maybe you again if you're trying to sell this or sell a version of this
13:36 like a planner or workbook you want to take some things away from this having a high contrast version might be great for like social media shares but actual usability of it is going to highly increase if you can actually make it a good experience using your sheets so having this sort of darker background
13:58 here and you can hopefully see the difference it's a minor difference but it helps over the many hours so if you haven't yet I would also check out my sheet styles add-on so this add-on it's absolutely free go to sheet styles hyphen hyphen sheet hyphen styles dot better sheets dot co or better sheets
14:22 dot co slash tools and you can get it it's absolutely free it has a that paper style which is Facebook Facebook fb fb f8 Facebook Facebook Facebook f8 but also has papyrus style which is a little darker background and you can do the whole sheet this way start off with this as a template a base and
14:38 then create your template on top of it it's great data management also does row by row so you can color all of the return to default if you do wish to like just make it do some typing do some data entry then revert it back to to default which is just aerial white background and black is black text
14:59 okay so let's do something else here to the sheet that we want to make it better okay one of the things that I've noticed especially when giving away freebies is that if you're giving away a free sheet ultimately you actually want people to share it ultimately one the sheet itself should be helpful 
15:20 to the sheet itself should absolutely be shared and you want people to share it I mean sure like you're gonna want people to like share your link and have other sign up but let's be real here once it's in once this sheet is in someone's Google Drive it is very hard for them not to just share this 
15:41 share button is the biggest button on this page we want and so let's just look at reality and think how do we make this sheet shareable easy to share great to share people want to share it but also like has a link back to our site right so what I would do and and what I like doing is adding a big 
16:07 header that anyone can delete as well if they really want just make it gray maybe not a big header but actually you know what I don't even suggest this I you may want to do that but I would say on these instructions so here's a here's a one quick thing this URL just make a button here hyperlink URL
16:37 is gonna be this URL and actually add you know template preview to it and then label it click to make a copy I did not put quotes here there instead of all these instructions we can get rid of all these instructions and just have click to make a copy and then here you have more instructions on how to
17:08 use it and if you want a button like a really cool button go to google workspace at get addons button styles install button styles here this is oh it is installed and what you get to do is have a three by three cell extensions button styles and you can create a really cool button you can set a custom
17:40 style we have some presets here let's do sneon blue one and it creates this really cool button and you can add some text to it with a hyperlink click to make a copy let's change that text to white let's go with what i like is azwald it's down here no one ever uses it because it's in the o's right
18:02 click to make a copy boom there we go a wonderful big button it says click to make a copy and has slash template slash preview this is so much easier to use than those instructions now the instructions can be on how to use how to use this planner and now we have an instruction sheet that is click
18:26 to make this the click to make a copy here's how to use this planner and Ali Abdul let's look at his site and see what else we can do because I think we can add some cool logos oh yeah we want to no we don't want the let's just take a screenshot of this we're gonna insert an image in cell you want
18:57 oh we have this to be yellow thing in that in the way so let's let's actually ah are we gonna get that all the time let's try to do okay we got a screenshot let's go back here and actually insert it over this one we're gonna do insert image in a cell we're going to drop all the signature right there
19:28 so this is a brand this is an image from your website directly in here into this right we got it right there ooh now HTML colors we're gonna grab the colors from this file because we want to match it very well this is how we do it go grab this URL not xcode and we are going to change all of this 
19:54 background to a custom color oh god you can do that cool that's not it let's try that again custom color i think it's gonna be this one there we go now that image from the website the background color's already been determined we can now integrate this this image right here it doesn't look out of place
20:17 right maybe all of this does and we can color all of this too and for those who get through the instructions and how to use this planner have this text from Ollie's website it says and over at Sunday snippets newsletter and I would put a link right here and make another let's make another button 
20:46 let's do it over here these, we just got to select a three by three selection and then we're gonna add this neon yellow style we're gonna do equals hyperlink here's the hyperlink to Ollie opto so sign up for Sunday snippets there we go let's change that text oh nope not the background the mmm that doesn't
21:20 look great mmm we want that black nevermind all right we can also do command u to get rid of the underline there click sign up for Sunday snippets click to make a cop great we have some sheets we have we can also change these colors by the way maybe I want to try what is this color let's get this hex
21:41 code let's change that to make it more branded right not that far away we'll do that again here okay let's change this also to Oswald and white that look good what was this seventeen so this could be like fifteen great perfect we can also make this longer hopefully we want but yeah we got the great 
22:13 buttons we got instructions on how to use this planner we got some information about Sunday snippets link to your website Ali and it looks like your website too right we have the same background color here in the sheet so it the sheet is an extension of all the website which the alleys website is 
22:34 an extension of him and this business right it is the key part we can have all of this information as well we can format and put into these instructions or even more information right there could be another tab here called more information about Ali or more information whatever the point is right you
22:51 can. Add more tabs and have this embedded inside the sheet so now if anybody ever copies this and shares it there are now still links to Ali's website there's links to make a copy there are branded parts of the sheet that encompass are inside of here and very easy to copy.
23:12 If you're trying to get longevity out of these free things, having links to other free things are really wonderful here.
23:19 Ali has a free notion template with his best productivity, his favorite productivity techniques adding that link to that in the sheet, right?
23:30 Adding a tab and non-saying instructions but. A more productivity or for notion get free notion template. You can take this, duplicate it and really call it free.
23:42 Notion template. And now this is embedded. Now anyone getting this sheet. Now it is very rare that someone is going to get this sheet, come to this tab and delete this and then.
23:52 It's a lot of steps. What's going to happen more often than not the reality of it is someone's going to get it downloaded, put in their Google Drive.
24:01 And then when it comes up in conversation, they're going to share their sheet with that person. Of course, they are also going to say, hey, I got this from Ali Abda, right?
24:10 That is going to be a table sticks part of the conversation. But. The sheet itself now is embedded with all these tools, Ali's links, things that Ali has in his brand for his brand.
24:21 And now anytime anyone shares this, it is more and more susceptible. It is more and more reason that someone else is going to come and find Ali based on this exact planner that is really awesome and really useful, right?
24:32 You make something really. Cool, really useful. Give it away for free. Embed it with all of these other free things and links to your site and you will never go wrong.
24:39 There is a non-zero present chance that you will get more traffic from this than without. So this is really cool.
24:45 We took this sheet here, took the instructions sort of away, made it more how to about the sheet, gave easy.
24:53 To use links for people to copy it to their drive. Made buttons. We also made this a little bit better with better fonts and a little bit of a different header again.
25:04 I would recommend making the sheet useful. And if you do want a high contrast sort of, ah, big boldness. I would say make that, make it a, take a screenshot, put it in your sales, but making the sheet useful and better for users.
25:21 And even if it's going to be less contrast, it's going to be less sort of zingy. It's okay. Have that as a sales thing, but have people make people enjoy Google sheets.
25:31 Let them enjoy Google sheets much more and not. Get headaches from high contrast. Don't, you don't have to worry about bold, big headers.
25:39 We're going to get through those headers. We're going to see them glance at them and be done with them. Now we can actually use the sheet consistently and can all the time.
25:46 It's really cool. And I also talked about branding the sheet much more. And I hope this helps you as. It's a Google sheet user.
25:55 If you're trying to make Google sheets for your lead magnets for your business, hopefully this makes it better for you.
26:01 And also go check out Ali Abdul's site, get stuff his website, his, his YouTube video here about managing time. Great.
26:09 This was only one part of that video. So really great tools and. Tips that Ali shares all the time. Hope also if you're here for the first time and better sheet members, you get the new one here down below.
26:24 Bye.