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Each week brings task lists, emails, files, and new jobs. Just how much of this is different from the work you’ve done? Odds are, maybe not much. A number of our daily tasks are variations on something we have done hundreds of times before.
Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you start something fresh. Instead, use templates–as starting point for work that is , standardized files with formatting and text. As soon as you save a version of the template add, remove, or change any info for that document that is unique, and you are going to have the new work.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey programs, and also email. Here’s how to use templates from your favorite programs –and the way to automatically generate documents from a template–so it’s possible to get your ordinary tasks done quicker.
Templates take time to build, and it’s easy to wonder whether they are worth the investment. The answer: absolutely. Editing a template requires much less time than formatting something. It’s the distinction between retyping it, or copying and pasting some text.
That’s only one advantage: Using a template means you are not as inclined to leave out crucial information, too. For example, if you need to send freelance writers a contributor agreement, changing a standard contract template (instead of writing a new contract every time) ensures you won’t leave out that crucial clause about owning the content as soon as you’ve paid for this.
Templates also guarantee consistency. Maybe you send clients or investors regular project updates. Using a template, you know the upgrade will constantly have the exact same formatting, layout, and standard arrangement.
How to Create Great Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and a few things do not require a template. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
First, templates should be comprehensive. It is easier to delete info than add it in, so err on the side of adding instead of too little.
Imagine you are developing a template of your resume. You would want to record details so you’ll have all the info you want to submit an application for any job.
You can always delete less-important notes on, but you might forget it at the last 25, if it’s not from the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in these variables for you (more on that in a bit). But if you need to fill in the data by yourself, add some text that is simple and obvious to look for so it is possible to find text that needs to be altered without a lot of work.