Saturday, July 16, 2011

Use Templates or Waste Time

If you don't make extensive use of templates, you are probably wasting time.

Many software programs provide stock standard templates or allow for user-made templates. The template functions in Microsoft Office products for example, are excellent. You can use the templates provided as is, or customise them for your needs. They have dozens of them.

One of the most useful features of templates is that you can combine them with other features eg, forms and protected document. When used to produce standard documents like letters, templates save time writing and formatting every letter from scratch. Add the forms capacity and protect the document and you have a very efficient combination. Here's a short example:

When I was an HR manager, I used to produce employment contracts for a variety of different salary levels at four different offices. My contract form was a template with drop down boxes for the different positions, salary levels and offices. The template was protected so that the only details in it that could be changed were the positions, salary and offices fields. This meant that whoever created the contract only had to focus on those three aspects. If they got them correct, all of the other wording would be correct and the contract would be a valid one.

This is an excellent way to ensure quality and to reduce time spent proofreading a document. These features can be applied to a range of business documents if you simply think about what you do that is repetitive eg, letters to customers about overdue accounts, quotations, and much more.

Are you using templates in your business? Do you use drop-down boxes and protect your documents to ensure accuracy? I'd like to hear from you.


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