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Each week brings files, emails, new projects, and task lists. How much of that is completely different from the work you have done? Odds are, not much. Many of our daily tasks are variations on something we’ve done countless times before.
Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you start something fresh. Use templates–standardized documents with formatting and text as starting point for new work. As soon as you save a version of the template, just add, remove, or change any info for that exceptional record, and you’ll have the work.
Programs work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management apps, survey platforms, and email. Here’s the way to use templates from your favorite apps–and how to generate documents from a template–so you can get your common tasks quicker.
Programs take the time to build, and it’s easy to wonder if they’re worth the investment. The short answer: absolutely. Editing a template requires much less time than formatting something. It’s the difference between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That’s not the only benefit: Using a template means you’re not as inclined to leave out crucial information, also. For instance, if you want to send freelance writers a contributor arrangement, changing a standard contract template (rather than writing a new contract each time) ensures you won’t leave out the crucial clause regarding possessing the material as soon as you’ve paid for it.
Templates additionally guarantee consistency. You send regular job updates to customers or investors. With a template, you know the update will always have the formatting, design, and standard structure.
How to Produce Great Templates
Not all templates are created equal–and some things don’t need a template. Listed below are a couple of tips to follow.
First, templates must be comprehensive. So err on the side of adding also rather than too little, it is more easy to delete info than add it in.
Imagine you are creating a template of your own resume. You would want to record details about your responsibilities and accomplishments, so you’ll have all the info you want to submit an application for any job.
You can always delete notes that are less-important later on, but you may forget it at the last 25, if it is not from the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in all these factors for you (more on this in a bit). But should you need to fill in the information on your own, include some text that’s simple and obvious to search for so it is possible to find text that has to be changed without much work.