None of us want to deal with more forms, checklists or templates right?
We just don’t have the time (or the patience).
But, what if I said that templates are one of the easiest ways to unlock time in your day…
Do you want to know how?
Great! Well, that’s what I’m going to share with you.
So you can stop chasing your tail,
Going round in circles and…
Struggling to keep on top of that ever-growing pile.
Are you wondering if this mountain of work will ever go away, or get any easier?
Well, it’s time to take back control…
and put a stop to the things that keep stealing your time!
I want to share with you a strategy that worked for me.
A way to;
- reduce your workload so you feel delightfully higher levels of energy
- make things quicker and easier so you can breathe and feel more relaxed each day
- most of all, start spending more time doing the things you want and deserve!
You can achieve a lot with savvy templates following a simple mantra:
“Work SMARTER (not harder)”
Now you and I both know that templates can steal your time too.
So, let me share with you the right way to manage templates to save you time…
Now just before I share the method with you,
Why don’t you grab a template or an idea for a template and actually ‘do’ this as we go?
(why not save even more time right now!)
Start with a template that will improve one of your top 5 pain points in your business or role.
Choose something you have control over that you don’t necessarily need approvals for.
Ok, let’s get into it…
Follow these 3 easy steps:
1. Identify the desired outcome
Start by identifying what outcome you want to achieve. Make sure it is clear and concise. This is essentially defining the foundation for every other aspect in creating or modifying your templates. And most importantly this is where you identify the time-consuming tasks that you ultimately want to eliminate so you get more time back in your day. Without identifying a clearly defined outcome you can lose more time by not effectively achieving what you set out to do – that’s definitely not what we want!
2. Select platform
When you know what your desired outcome is you can then identify what level of functionality is required. Consider what functionality would be:
- good to have or ‘must’ have: the not negotiable things needed to achieve the outcome.
- better to have or ‘desirable’ features: these are the things that would make it better.
- best to have or ‘ultimate’ features: to maximize your time in the long-run.
Categorise platform choices by the above. Typically we’d all aim for the ‘ultimate’ option with the highest level of automation (time-saver alert). However, when it comes to factoring in things like cost, the complexity of the platform and time required, then the final decision may be adjusted to accommodate.
3. Design with flow
Once you know what platform you’ll be working with you can then start sketching or drafting the layout. Think about how the design and flow might impact your desired outcome and of course how it will help you save time. This will have a major impact on the success of a SAVVY template. There are quite a few aspects to consider so here are the main ones to consider;
- Size; of page, graphics, font, fields…the list goes on but you get the picture
- Font; needs to be clear and easy to read (if relevant, use business style guide)
- Colours; use to balance and emphasize areas on the template (avoid overuse or scolding people with too much bold, capitals and red)
- Language; use clear, simple words to get any messages or instructions across. Use full words (not acronyms), simple language (not jargon)…or if you must, provide an alternative for clarity – never assume everyone is in the know.
- Layout; typical beginning, middle and end – start with context (what/why/how) and provide guides throughout by being clear and then indicate where the end is and what to expect or do next.
- Flow; consider what people are used to and how the eye flows.
The only way to really know if a template layout is going to work well is by testing it. Do a run through (make any adjustments) and then ask other people to do a run through and provide feedback. Doing this before rolling out will help address any issues and time-wasters that could have been preventable.
Automate, automate, automate!
Ah, my favourite! This can be a tricky one but oh so so rewarding!
Now, this isn’t exactly a step in the process.
But something you should consider at every step of the way.
The best way for me to put this is to challenge yourself.
Find, learn, do what you can to automate as much as possible.
This provides the greatest opportunities for saving time. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
A simple formula could save you time.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple formula could save you time.
A simple formula could save you time.
Or if you really want to get fancy…
Automate your emails or purchasing process – the list goes on.
Every little bit adds up.
Let me finish off by sharing some tips when it comes to actually ‘doing’ your templates.
So when it comes to making changes I love working between 2 main strategies:
- Improve as you go – by making changes to a template and process until you’ve maximized its efficiency and effectiveness. Typically this would be for a number of minor adjustments.
- Press pause – by stopping everything else (within reason) to make a change. Typically this would be for a major change that would have significant improvements and is worth letting things pile up for a moment to break the cycle of all the time sucking tasks.
Both of these strategies have a time and place along with your desire and drive to make a change.
It might not be a case of choosing to do what’s easy in this instance but what’s right…for you – the future you.
And be kind to yourself as you learn things you may not have done before.
Celebrate your wins (and lessons) and keep sight of your vision and your ‘why’ behind wanting to save time.
Well that’s a pretty simple process to follow, right?
Have you been thinking about all the templates you can modify or create to save you time (and your sanity)?
Start unlocking more of your precious time by working through them just one at a time.
What’s something on your list that you can take action on today?
Before you know it, you’ll have made improvements all over.
You’ll be gracefully completing your tasks in style feeling like you’re on fire again!
Since I love saving time and sharing great ideas and strategies, I’ve created a short and powerful checklist for things to consider when creating and modifying templates…
Get your FREE DOWNLOADABLE here: The 3 Keys to Time-Saving Templates
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I’d also love to hear from you too…please share your thoughts 🙂