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Every week brings new jobs, emails, files, and task lists. How much of this is different from the job you have done? Odds are, not much. A number of our tasks are variants on something.
Do not reinvent the wheel every single time you start something new. Use templates–as starting point for 17, standardized documents with formatting and text. Once you save a separate variant of the template, simply add, remove, or change any info for that record, and you’ll have the new work done in a fraction of this time.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management apps, survey programs, and also email. Here’s the way to use templates and how to generate documents from a template–so it’s possible to get your tasks quicker.
Templates take the time to construct, and it’s easy to wonder whether they’re worth the investment. The short answer: absolutely. Editing a template requires far less time than formatting something. It’s the difference between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That’s not the only advantage: Using a template means you are not as likely to leave out key information, too. For instance, if you want to send freelance writers a contributor arrangement, changing a standard contract template (rather than writing a new contract every time) ensures you won’t leave out that crucial clause about owning the material once you’ve paid for this.
Templates also guarantee consistency. Perhaps you send investors or customers regular project updates. With a template, you know the update will have the same formatting, layout, and standard structure.
How to Create Great Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and a few things do not need a template. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
First, templates should be comprehensive. It’s more easy to delete information than add it in, so err on the side of including instead of too small.
Imagine you are creating a template of your resume. You’d want to list facts about your responsibilities and accomplishments, and that means you are going to have all the info you need to submit an application for almost any job.
You can always delete less-important notes on, but you might forget it at the final 25, if it is not in the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in these factors for you (more on that in a little ). But should you need to fill in the information by yourself, add some text that’s obvious and simple to look for so you can find.