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Each week brings new jobs, emails, documents, and task lists. How much of this is completely different from the work you have done before? Odds are, maybe not much. A number of our day-to-day tasks are variants on something we have done hundreds of times before.
Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you start something new. Rather, use templates–standardized files with formatting and text as starting point. Once you save a variant of the template, simply add, remove, or change any data for that record, and you are going to have the new work done in a fraction of this time.
Programs work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey platforms, and email. Here’s how to use templates and to automatically generate documents from a template–so it’s possible to get your tasks faster.
Programs take time to build, and it’s easy to wonder whether they’re worth the investment. The answer: absolutely. Editing a template takes much less time than formatting something. It’s the distinction between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That’s only one advantage: Using a template means you’re less inclined to leave out crucial information, too. For instance, if you want to send freelance authors a contributor agreement, changing a standard contract template (rather than composing a new contract each time) guarantees you won’t depart out that crucial clause about owning the material once you’ve paid for it.
Templates additionally guarantee consistency. Maybe you send investors or customers regular job updates. Using a template, you understand the upgrade will have the exact same formatting, layout, and standard structure.
How to Produce Fantastic Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and a few things don’t need a template. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
First, templates should be comprehensive. So err on the side of adding rather than too little, it’s easier to delete info than add it in.
Imagine you are developing a template of your resume. You’d want to list facts and that means you are going to have all the information you need to apply for any job.
You can always delete less-important notes later on, but you may forget it in the final version if it is not from the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in these factors for you (more on this in a bit). But should you have to fill in the information by yourself, add some text that’s simple and obvious to search for so it is possible to find text that needs to be altered without a lot of work.