How to Use Templates to Make Planning and Completing Your Projects Easier

by Polly in Task System

Today I want to give you a really tactical strategy for planning and organizing your projects.  The strategy is to use templates for all your projects that you do often and in which the same steps are used each time.

Templates are basically blueprints or master checklists for how to get something done.  If you are familiar with PowerPoint, Pages, or Word then you are probably familiar with how templates are used in creating documents. They can help tremendously to speed up the creation of documents you need for work projects.

But did you know that you can also use templates to help make planning and completing your projects easier?  I use task templates all the time for all major projects (both home and work).

They help save me time and mental energy because I don’t have to rethink the project steps or tasks every time.  I just open my template and start planning from there.

Here are the templates I have created for home:

  • Beach Vacation
  • Cruise Vacation
  • Girls’ Birthdays
  • Joe’s Birthday
  • Father’s Day
  • Christmas
  • Thanksgiving
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Halloween
  • Easter
  • Weekly Review
  • Morning Routines
  • Afternoon Routines
  • Evening Routines
  • Back to School
  • Graduation
  • Graduation Party
  • Monthly Finances
  • Taxes
  • New Year Plan & Prep
  • Spring Outdoor Clean Up

I also have many templates created for my work projects and Conquering the Chaos related projects.

How to Create Your Templates

There are a lot of different ways you can create templates for yourself, but here are three different ways you can get started creating your own.

#1 – Create Templates in Your Electronic Task Organizer

If you use an electronic task organizer then this is probably the best option for you. This is the way I create my templates.  I use Nozbe and the template feature is fantastic.

The drawback with this option is that not all electronic task organizers allow you to easily create templates.  A lot of them have a work-around to create them, so check the help section of your task software to see how it can work for you.

Toodledo is another task system that allows you to easily create templates.

#2 – Create Your Templates in Evernote or OneNote

You can create project templates in Evernote and OneNote as well.  These are good if you use either of these programs to keep track of your tasks or if you just simply want to print a copy or copy the tasks into your paper planner.  Both of them allow you to create templates.  Just Google “How to create an Evernote template” or “How to create a template in OneNote” to learn how.

#3 – Create Your Templates in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Apple Numbers

A good old fashioned spreadsheet is another option.  You can use the spreadsheet to keep track of your projects and your progress or like the Evernote/OneNote option you can simply print it off when you need it.  To keep everything organized I would suggest you create just one file, name it templates, and then within this one file use different sheets for each template.  That way everything is in one spot when you need it and you don’t have to worry about your templates getting lost in all the files on your computer.  Here’s an example of what I mean

Things to Keep in Mind

Okay, now that I have convinced you to start using templates here are a few pointers so that you don’t become overwhelmed or frustrated.

#1 – Create the templates where you know you will use them.  If you are a paper based task person, then create them in the way most easily transfered to your paper planner.  Creating templates you won’t ever use is a complete waste of your time.

#2 – Don’t try and create all your templates at once.  That will become really overwhelming.  Just create them as you need them.  So if you are planning a summer vacation, just start with that template.

#3 – If you need ideas as to what to include in your template, use Google to help you.  For example, planning a birthday party?  Google “birthday party planning checklist” to help get you started with ideas.  You can use the checklists you find online to help you create your own and give you ideas as to what you need to include.

Hope this helps.  Got questions?  Reach out so I can help.