Using Templates And Drafts To Boost Your Productivity

The more productive you are, the more projects you can manage, and of course the more money you can potentially make.

So, what can you do to increase your productivity, get more things done, in less time, and earn more money?

Use templates and drafts! ;)

Here are some examples:

  • E-mail drafts
  • Website templates
  • To-do list – Schedule
  • Invoice template
  • Copy-pasting

E-mail Drafts – Mailing Lists

If you often send out e-mails to colleagues, clients, and coworkers, and always format your e-mails the same way, why not write your e-mail once, and use that as a draft everytime? This can be quite effective and boost your productivity, since you spend less time writing and more time managing project and working on getting things done.

For example, you have this project where you have to work with 6 other people, and you have to send them updates many times everyday day.

Create a new e-mail message, put the e-mail addresses of all recipients, write a “fill-in the blanks” e-mail, put your e-mail signature at the end, and save it. Then every time you want to send updates to those 6 people, just use that draft, fill in the blanks, and hit send (same thing if you want to send e-mails to potential advertisers and companies). You save 3-4 minutes everytime. (every minute counts when you have to send 10, 30 or 50 e-mails everyday)

Website Templates

If you run a blog you probably already know how quick and easy it is to setup WordPress. You download the files, upload them to your server, install WordPress, download templates/themes, upload them, (or create one from scratch, but that takes some time, think “learning curve“), choose one, customize it, and you’re all set. You can have a blog up and running in less than 30 minutes.

If you build websites for clients, why not create one (or many) basic template(s) you can use for every single project? Build a basic theme/template, easy to customize to suit your client’s needs, and you’re good to go. Make it so it has everything you might need in the future, since you’re building it from scratch, you know it inside out.

Use a template as a starting point. You need ways to turn work over fast, so using a template (a nice one) makes total sense. I’m no big fan of TemplateMonster templates, since they’re often poorly coded, building one from scratch would be better, and you wouldn’t have to worry about credits to the author since you build it yourself.

To-do List And Scheduling – When You Write Things Down

Many of us use time-management apps and to-do lists to better schedule tasks. Make sure you always write things down the same way, so you have all the infos you need right there, and make your list easily accessible (web-based tools are great). Have many templates already made for different types of projects and tasks.

Here are some examples:

Appointments and meetings

  • With who?
  • For what project/reason?
  • Time and date
  • Duration
  • Location and directions – address
  • Phone number

Projects for clients

  • For who?
  • Name of the project
  • Deadline
  • Who’s involved
  • Contact infos
  • Tasks – role

Your own projects

  • Name of the project
  • Tasks
  • Goals
  • Deadline

Personal activities

  • When?
  • With who?
  • Location
  • Duration
  • Phone numbers if necessary

Everyday Life – Necessities

  • Time and date
  • Location
  • Duration

Invoice Templates

Since you definitely wanna get paid for your work and wanna keep track of everything, create an invoice template, or use a web-based tool or a software to help you with that. There are tons of free services out there. Keep the layout of your invoices the same all the time, so it’s more consistent, just change the invoice number everytime you make a new one.

Check out this list of web-based invoicing tools.

Copy-Pasting Makes Life Easier

The X, C and V keys on my keyboard are almost worn-out, I’m a copy-pasting addict, it’s crazy, but it saves me a lot of time. Whether you’re building a website or just writing on your to-do list, copy-pasting can definitely help save you time, energy, and increase your productivity.

You Can Use A Template/Model For Almost Everything

There are many other things you can use templates for, such as:

  • writing an article/blog post
  • business plan – project details
  • quotation for [insert project here]
  • Advertisement – Ads
  • Christmas cards sent to clients
  • Even writing a book or e-book

Things To Keep In Mind

Using templates is a great way to boost your productivity, but there are some things you have to keep in mind.

There is nothing like the personal touch when you send an e-mail, the results are usually a lot better than when you send out an e-mail that “looks and sounds” like a template (I usually delete those). Make it so that it looks like you wrote the e-mail from scratch.

In fact, if you are working with templates and you have to show your work to some people or clients, and it really looks like a template (people can tell), it won’t work. You have to always put that “unique touch”, make it more personal. But still templates are great, especially since you are the one that created them, you’re in charge, and you know exactly where you’re going, and how.

So, have you used templates before? For what (project, website design, to-do list)? Did it help you be more productive?

Jon