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Each week brings new jobs, emails, documents, and job lists. Just how much of this is different from the job you have done before? Odds are, maybe not much. Many of our tasks are variations on something we have done hundreds of times before.
Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you start something new. Instead, use templates–as starting point for work that is new, standardized files with formatting and text. Once you save a separate version of the template add, remove, or change any info for that document that is exceptional, and you are going to have the new work.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey platforms, and email. Here is the way to generate documents from a template — and the way to use templates from your favorite programs –so you can get your common tasks done quicker.
Programs take time to build, and it’s easy to wonder if they are worth the investment. The answer: absolutely. Editing a template requires far less time than formatting some thing from scratch. It’s the distinction between retyping it, or copying and pasting some text.
That’s not the only advantage: Using a template means you’re less likely to leave out key information, also. For example, if you need to send freelance writers a contributor arrangement, changing a standard contract template (instead of composing a new contract each time) ensures you won’t leave out that crucial clause about owning the material once you’ve paid for it.
Templates also guarantee consistency. You send investors or customers regular project updates. Using a template, you understand the update will have the same formatting, design, and structure.
How to Produce Great Templates
Not all templates are created equal–and a few things don’t require a template. Here are a couple of tips to follow.
First, templates should be comprehensive. So err on the side of adding rather than too small, it is more easy to delete information than add it in.
Imagine you’re creating a template of your own resume. You would want to record facts about your responsibilities and achievements, so you are going to have all the info you want to submit an application for almost any job.
You always have the option to delete notes that are less-important later on, but you may forget it in the final 25, when it is not in the template.
Some applications will automatically fill in these variables for you (more on that in a bit). But should you need to fill in the information on your own, include some text that’s easy and obvious to look for so it is possible to find.