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Each week brings new jobs, emails, documents, and task lists. How much of that is totally different from the job you have done before? Odds are, not much. A number of our day-to-day tasks are variants on something.
Do not reinvent the wheel each single time you start something new. Instead, use templates–standardized documents with formatting and text as starting point. As soon as you save a separate version of the template add, eliminate, or change any info for that unique document, and you are going to have the job done in a fraction of this time.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management apps, survey platforms, and email. Here’s the way to use templates and the way to generate documents from a template–so it’s possible to get your common tasks quicker.
Programs take the time to construct, and it’s easy to wonder whether they’re worth the investment. The short answer: absolutely. Editing a template takes much less time than formatting something from scratch. It’s the difference between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That’s only one advantage: Using a template means you are not as inclined to leave out key information, too. For example, if you need to send freelance authors a contributor agreement, changing a standard contract template (rather than composing a new contract each time) guarantees you won’t leave out that crucial clause about owning the material once you’ve paid for it.
Templates also guarantee consistency. You send customers or investors regular project updates. With a template, you know the upgrade will have the formatting, design, and standard structure.
How to Create Fantastic 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 must be comprehensive. So err on the side of including too rather than too small, it is easier to delete information than add it .
Imagine you’re developing a template of your own resume. You would want to list facts about your duties and accomplishments, so you are going to have all the info you want to submit an application for any job.
You can delete less-important notes on, but you might forget it when it is not from the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in these factors for you (more on that in a bit). But should you need to fill in the data on your own, add some text that is obvious and easy to search for so you can locate text that needs to be changed without a lot of work.