For example, he knows he’ll be preparing an agenda at least once a month for a committee he chairs at church. “So I created a ‘dummy agenda’ and saved it as a template,” he writes. “Now, whenever I get ready to plan future meetings, I start with the template rather than creating the agenda from scratch.”
Hyatt gives this example: Strangers or vague acquaintances often asked him to review a book proposal, consider them for a job position or meet with them for advice. “I really needed to say ‘no’ in order to be faithful to my other commitments. But I found it difficult.”
He could have ignored the requests, but he didn’t like the idea of being unresponsive. So he decided to look at the requests objectively.
In doing so, he found identified “buckets” that the requests fell into, allowing him to create e-mail templates for nine types of inquiries: personal meeting request, book proposal review request, business opportunity, employment consideration, blog reprint request, customer complaint, media inquiry, donation solicitation and speaking invitation.
Don't make gathering and analyzing data become a daily battle. Use the templates already built for hundreds of purposes, or create your own. Microsoft Office Templates and Forms: Repeating Success in MS Word & Excel will show you how.Here’s one example of a template one might use for responding to submitted bids:
Your bid just arrived, and it looks spot on to me after a very quick review.
Mark Spark will be the project engineer on this project, and he’ll be in touch with you within the week with additional questions for follow-up.
Thank you for bidding this.
You can always add more detail as needed. As Hyatt says, “I may personalize the response or even respond in a completely different way. Regardless, the template covers 90% of the requests and frees me up to focus on the other commitments I have made.”
Any time you stare at a blank page and ask yourself, "Now how did I do that last time?" you've missed an opportunity to use Microsoft Office's greatest tools: templates.
Forms allow you to gather data and transform it so you can aggregate and analyze it. Knowing how to use forms and form fields can let you multi-purpose your data to avoid retyping or copying and pasting.
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