18. Templates to Sanity

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/18. Templates to Sanity

18. Templates to Sanity


The blank page, the empty project. These are my least favorite things that I encounter in my daily business life.

I’ve noticed that I have to completely segregate my business activities so that I can be the best at all times. My brain operates with different functions and it’s important I separate these activities through as many controls as possible.

By having templates that I’m working from, I help to focus my brain on creative work when I need to be creative, and tactical work when I need to be tactical.

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Welcome back to smooth operator, already middle the week. So it's hope you are having a good day hope. Everything's going well in your business. And thanks for taking the time out of your busy business life to join us here. This is a really exciting episode because it's it's something that's so intuitive, and yet every time I find a new way to implement it, I'm like, Oh my gosh, why didn't I think about that, like 30 days ago, would have made my life so much easier. And it's the idea of templates. And I'm calling this episode templates of sanity because templates are how I keep saying, to be honest, I love templates, I have them all over the place. Now. Literally, I have like saved Evernote files with just links to templates that are just Google Docs that automatically copy because it's a template I worked from and I love templates, because I hate the blank page. I hate the empty project I hate having to start from I gotta organize this first. When really I'm in creative mode. Like I'm trying to capture something, I got this burst of energy and something that I'm trying to do. And oh, crap, I got to organize it first.

And it's one of the least favorite things that I encounter in my daily business life. It hampers me down it, it takes a certain amount of energy from me, the idea of Saudi setting up headings and different fonts and all that crap, where like, I need things to look right for me to be comfortable in the creative process. Basically, I have two different ways of working are a couple different ways of creating working creative or working creatively. Often, I'll just get out a blank sheet of paper or my legal pad. And I'll just start jotting down chicken scratch like starting to pull things together. I also will occasionally, if I know it's a really complex process, I'll use post it notes on my board or my board or my wall. And I'll just like be moving post it notes around. But we're talking about very specific functions within your business that I really use templates for. And so really, I just didn't notice that I need to completely segregate my business activities, my brain operates with different functions, it's important that I separate these activities with as many controls as possible. And that works. That's where templates really come into massive effect for me. By having templates that I'm working from, I can help to focus my brain on creative work when I need to be creative, and tact work when I need to be tactical. Just some examples and some helpful things that I've been using. And some of them I've been using for a while some of them are still new.

This podcast is a template. I have a templated episode where the front end, you know, the introduction is there. I have all my mic set settings in there already, you know, everything saved. And even the outro is in there. I just got to usually just move it around in post production. But I'm working from a template I don't have to worry about where's this file? Where's that fall? Where's with these settings? It's gonna sound different Oh, crap. Well, how did they set this? No, it's I optimized it once. And now I just use the template, I just duplicate it, and I start new. That's it. So it makes the preparation phase for recording a podcast, incredibly easy, I need to document my thoughts and do a Google Doc, and then hit record. That's it. So it makes it much easier. And so I can stay in the creative flow versus getting bogged down with technical details. I'll have like a weekly Evernote sheet. This is something I duplicate every single week. And my master like week of sheet contains different headings depending on different things I know that come up every week different meetings, I know I have or I want to be able to organize my thoughts. Before we start that meeting, I have a whole section in there called tools. And tools are just links to some of the SOPs and the templates that I use the most. So and it's set in a Google doc if you just put copy on the back end or something, it'll automatically copy it into a new Google Doc really fun way of making sure you don't mess up your template, but you automatically have a copy and you can just start from there. So that's something I do all the time. But this Evernote sheet, it allows me to track my work throughout the week document things you need to prepare on. And just these quick references and I duplicate this every single week. That's how my week starts. And I get to start fresh it's routine allows me to start the week with momentum and clarity and a clean plate literally I'm not carrying anything over from the previous week.

Some other as I use templates, I do a whole lot with numbers now. It's the nature of my job Director of Operations I'm in the weeds on our numbers, our financials, I need to be able to pull sales figures from various promotions and be able to see at a glance how they did so I got I made heavy use of pivot tables to create a really flushed out 10,000 foot view on how something went, how the week went. And those pivot tables are, they're fine, I like to do them. But to do like them, right, every time can be kind of a pain in the butt. But if you can create the good the perfect pivot table once, then you're golden. So I just have it created. So I'm going to use drop my raw data in there, and boom, the pivot table is right there, I have my numbers, I have everything I need. And I'm set, I can accomplish that task in a really short period of time, it's a matter of using a Save Search, save report function that I have in our CRM, pull the raw data help drop the raw data into my template, and boom, there's a figures that says now to couple on what we talked about last episode. This is something when the time comes, I can offload. I can bring another team member to actually do this work for me. So I don't even have to do it. I just get the the older report. Here's how everything went Adam, here's what we're looking like. How great is that I've accomplished to two things with the same with the same with the same function, I have this thing that I can now do. The other great part of that is I can I have this this reference library of all these different tables and data, if I need to go back and I need to see how something performed. Hey, how did that promotion go in the second week of q1, I have the information. It's all right there, I don't have to go searching for it. I tried to piece together the materials after everything's been cluttered in our CRM with multiple other sales that went through, everything is there. So a couple other places I make heavy use of templates.

I really like email templates and social media posts. I've offloaded a lot of that for for this business. And for another business I work for the social media posts, the general feel of what I want in it is templated. So I could offload that give it to a VA, they know in general, I gotta make some tweaks here and there. But they know in general what that structure looks like. And so they're not operating from a clean slate either. The big one that I use is I use a recurring project every week, where we have a lot of recurring tasks in our business, things that just happen every single week. It's scheduled, it's manageable. It's something that everyone can predict. But we still have to assign it, we still have to make sure we have coverage. So we do have a weekly recurring project that is a template that is duplicated, and then dates are assigned to it. And a whole lot of automation goes in there. But that's a whole nother thing to set up that automation once and then set it and forget it. That has now been offloaded. Because I set it and forgot it. I can now I can now offload it and I just recently did where I'm not setting up that weekly recurring project anymore. My assistant is and that is so relieving to have that off my desk. But it all started with the fact that I had the foresight to create that recurring project that template to work from every single week. And to couple that with project management, there's so many project management things that we do, that are repeatable, they're things that just have a flow to them. Think about a promotion, promotions largely have a flow. And there's a beginning, there's all these intermediate steps that have happened along the way. And there's an end, we know what those are, in general is it going to be a perfect template that's going to work every time? No, but that's not the point.

The point is that you have your starting point and your ending point. And maybe you need to adjust one or two things in between. But you're starting from 95%, right. And now you have something to work off of. So having these templates in your CRM in your, your project management software is really, really huge. I even do like engagement tracking with different contacts. If I'm trying to nurture a lead. To do some collaboration, I have a template I'm working from where I have scheduled follow ups from that initial bump. And then that initial conversation, milestones that I want to accomplish, everything's built out in a template, and just a matter of duplicating it, creating a new task based on that template. And I mean, it makes for a good what I call drive by task, where I get off a phone call, I have to document something really quick, I really don't want to take 10 minutes to set up a project. But I don't have to write I spend five seconds clicking new task from this template done, man, it just when you operationalize this and put it in all aspects of your business, you're going to be addicted to it, you're going to want to see more areas of opportunity to create templates. It's a little bit it's kind of a slippery slope in that regard, because you're gonna want to templatized everything and great so do that as often as you can as much as you can. Because it's going to help you it's going to give you that momentum, take that tactical burden off your plate and you're able to then work within the creative space able to work without that. That mundaneness that comes from having to reset crap up over and over and over again.

That's not what we're here for. We're not here to be a part Project Management Software monkeys were here to lead our companies to lead our businesses to get the big projects done and as many obstacles as we can take out of our way, the better we are for it. Alright. I'm like super geeking out about this. Now I'm going to create some more templates.

Because like I said, it's kind of addicting and you just start to see more and more opportunities all around you. The further you get down this rabbit hole. So, man, jump on into the rabbit hole, the water is fine, I promise you, and you're gonna love it. So anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to listen. I'm Adam Liette. From Smith Operator, do check us out at www dot Adam liette.com leave a review on the podcast, reach out send send me an email. It's very simple. Adam at Adam liette.com. I love to hear some of your ideas about the show things that you want to see featured in the future. Maybe different insights, different lessons that you'd like to hear that I've learned I'd love to share as much as I can with you. Alright, thanks so much. Until next time, I'll see you then.

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