Post doctoral researches program at Dublin City University from autobiography for grad school , image source: www.marj3.com
Each week brings task lists, emails, documents, and new jobs. How much of this is different from the work you’ve done? Odds are, not much. Many of our tasks are variations on something.
Do not reinvent the wheel every time you start something new. Use templates–standardized documents with formatting and text as starting point. Once you save a variant of the template, just add, remove, or alter any data for that record that is unique, and you’ll have the job completed in a fraction of this time.
Templates work anywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management programs, survey programs, and email. Here is how to use templates and to automatically create documents from a template–so you can get your tasks faster.
Programs take time to build, and it’s easy to wonder whether they are worth the investment. The answer: absolutely. Editing a template takes much less time than formatting some thing from scratch. It is the distinction between copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
That is only one benefit: Using a template means you’re less likely to leave out key information, too. For example, if you need to send freelance authors a contributor arrangement, changing a standard contract template (instead of writing a new contract each time) ensures you won’t leave out the crucial clause regarding owning the material once you’ve paid for this.
Templates also guarantee consistency. You send regular project updates. With a template, you know the update will constantly have the exact same formatting, design, and structure.
How to Create Great Templates
Not many templates are created equal–and a few things don’t need a template. Here are a few tips to follow.
First, templates must be comprehensive. It is more easy to delete information than add it in, so err on the side of including also rather than too little.
Imagine you’re developing a template of your own resume. You’d want to record details about your duties and accomplishments, and that means you are going to have all the info you want to apply for almost any job.
You always have the option to delete less-important notes on, but when it’s not in the template you may forget it.
Some tools will automatically fill in all these factors for you (more on that in a bit). But if you have to fill in the data on your own, add some text that’s obvious and simple to look for so you can find text that needs to be changed without much work.