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Each week brings new projects, emails, documents, and job lists. Just how much of that is completely different from the work you’ve done? Odds are, not much. Many of our tasks are variations on something we have done countless times before.
Don’t reinvent the wheel each single time you start something new. Rather, use templates–as starting point for new 17, standardized documents with formatting and text. As soon as you save a variant of the template add, remove, or alter any info for that record, and you’ll have the new job.
Templates work everywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey platforms, and email. Here is how to use templates from your favorite programs –and to automatically create documents from a template–so it’s possible to 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 much less time than formatting something from scratch. It is the distinction between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That’s not the only advantage: Using a template means you are less inclined to leave out key info, also. For instance, if you need to send freelance authors a contributor agreement, modifying a standard contract template (rather than writing a new contract each time) ensures you won’t leave out the crucial clause about owning the content once you’ve paid for it.
Templates also guarantee consistency. You send regular job updates to investors or customers. With a template, you understand the update will have the exact same formatting, layout, and structure.
How to Create Fantastic Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and some things don’t need a template. Here are a couple of tips to follow.
First, templates must be comprehensive. It’s more easy to delete info than add it , so err on the side of including instead of too little.
Imagine you are creating a template of your resume. You would want to record details about your responsibilities and accomplishments, and that means you are going to have all the info you want to apply for almost any job.
You can always delete notes that are less-important later on, but you might forget it in the final 25, if it is not in the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in all these variables for you (more on that in a bit). But should you have to fill in the information on your own, include some text that’s obvious and simple to search for so you can locate.