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Every week brings new jobs, emails, documents, and task lists. Just how much of this is completely different from the job you’ve done before? Odds are, not much. A number of our daily tasks are variants on something we have done hundreds of times before.
Do not reinvent the wheel every single time you start something new. Use templates–as starting point for 17, standardized files with formatting and text. Once you save a separate variant of the template add, remove, or alter any data for that record that is unique, and you’ll have the work.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey programs, and email. Here’s the way to use templates in your favorite programs –and to generate documents from a template–so you can get your tasks faster.
Templates take the time to construct, and it’s easy to wonder if they are worth the investment. The answer: absolutely. Editing a template requires much less time than formatting some thing. It’s the distinction between retyping it, or copying and pasting some text.
That is not the only benefit: Using a template means you are not as likely to leave out key information, also. For example, if you need to send freelance writers a contributor agreement, changing a standard contract template (rather than composing a new contract every time) guarantees you won’t leave out that crucial clause about owning the material once you’ve paid for this.
Templates also guarantee consistency. Maybe you send customers or investors regular project updates. With a template, you know the upgrade will have the same formatting, layout, and general arrangement.
How to Create Great Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and some things don’t require a template. Here are a couple of guidelines to follow.
First, templates must be comprehensive. So err on the side of adding rather than too little, it’s simpler to delete info than add it in.
Imagine you’re developing a template of your resume. You’d want to record in-depth facts about your responsibilities and achievements, so you are going to have all the info you need to submit an application for any job.
You can delete notes that are less-important later on, but you might forget it in the final 25, if it’s not from the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in these variables for you (more on this in a bit). But if you have to fill in the data by yourself, include some text that is simple and obvious to search for so it is possible to find text that has to be altered without a lot of effort.