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Each week brings documents, emails, new projects, and task lists. How much of this is different from the work you’ve done? Odds are, maybe not much. Many of our day-to-day tasks are variations on something we’ve done countless times before.
Do not reinvent the wheel every time you start something new. Use templates–standardized documents with formatting and text as starting point. As soon as you save a separate variant of the template, just add, eliminate, or alter any data for that exceptional record, and you are going to have the job completed in a fraction of the time.
Templates work anywhere: in word processors, spreadsheets, project management apps, survey programs, and email. Here is how to use templates and to automatically create documents from a template–so you can get your common tasks done quicker.
Templates take the time to build, and it’s easy to wonder if they’re worth the investment. The answer: absolutely. Editing a template requires much less time than formatting something. It is the difference between retyping it, or copying and pasting some text.
That’s not the only benefit: Using a template means you are not as inclined to leave out crucial info, too. For example, if you need to send freelance writers a contributor agreement, changing a standard contract template (instead of composing a new contract every time) ensures you won’t leave out that crucial clause about possessing the material once you’ve paid for it.
Templates additionally guarantee consistency. Perhaps you send regular job updates to investors or customers. With a template, you understand the update will always have the same formatting, design, and structure.
How to Create Great Templates
Not all templates are created equal–and some 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 rather than too little, it’s more easy to delete info than add it in.
Imagine you are creating a template of your own resume. You’d want to record facts about your duties and accomplishments, and that means you’ll have.
You can delete less-important notes on, but you might forget it in the final version when it is not in the template.
Some tools will automatically fill in these factors for you (more on this in a bit). But should you need to fill in the information by yourself, add some text that is simple and obvious to look for so it is possible to locate text that needs to be altered without a lot of effort.