When you find yourself repeatedly working on similar projects, you can save time and reduce errors by setting up a project template

Here's how to set up a template, with my favorite example: a packing list!

Lesson transcript:
[00:00:00] So now you know how to set up a repeating project or repeating tasks in OmniFocus, and that's helpful because it saves you time and reduces errors. If you're doing something repeatedly, writing up the correct sequence of tasks once and then having that project repeat ensures that you don't forget things and that you do things consistently. 

[00:00:18] But what if there is a project that you will do more than once, but not on a set schedule? How would you deal with that? You would still like to save the time by having all the steps saved somewhere and available for you to look at and work through whenever you need them. But you don't want to set a repeating schedule in OmniFocus because there is no repeating schedule. Well, project templates come in. 

[00:00:43] So I like to use project templates quite a bit because there are a lot of things that I do every now and then, but not on a set schedule. So let me show you how to create a project template in OmniFocus and how that can save you time and reduce errors. Gonna go ahead to my folder list and actually create a new folder called—I'm going to call it project templates. I like to put this folder all the way at the bottom and I'm going to add a project. It's gonna be a new single-action list and I'm going to call it a packing list because I think this is the number one use for a project template in OmniFocus. 

[00:01:15] Now, first thing you want to do is—I'm going to set this project to on hold because if I have this project active or in this case this single action list active, then it will show as available. And I don't want the tasks that I put in any project templates. In any template projects, to show as active when I'm poking around other perspectives in OmniFocus because I can't work on them right now. 

[00:01:38] So I'm going to add some items to my packing list. Toothbrush. Toothpaste. Comb. Underwear, socks, shirts, pants. You get the idea. I could go on like this for a long time. But, you know, create the packing list once and use it, and then you'll find that you forgot to add a lot of things, so go ahead and add [them] to the template for use next time. All right. So we're creating a project. In this case, it's a packing list. 

[00:02:08] Now, by the way, if you want—go ahead and say pack toothbrush and pack toothpaste and pack comb. But I just find that cumbersome and unnecessary. So when you're going on a trip, you just right click and go copy and you go in under your trips and go paste. Now we have a packing list. Oh, I didn't paste under here just to select like this—now it's under here. And what I like to do is I'll say pack for a trip, pack for a conference as that's the first one coming up, pack for data science conference and say that's due, I don't know, two days from now because that's when I'm flying and I'm going to set the project to active status, to active—that means that I can complete these tasks right now. You can also set this to deferred to the future, obviously, if you'd like. All you do is go through them and when you're done, you'll have packed. 

[00:02:53] So often what happens to me is I'll run through all these things and I'm like, oh, wait a second, I should also bring my money clip. So I'll add my money clipp to the list. All you gotta do is then go back to your project template, yeah, and then you add that item here as well so that you'll have it the next time you copy over your project template into your trips folder or whatever other folder you're adding the project to, and make sure that that's there. 

[00:03:16] So this is how you create a project template. It's really simple. Just make an—a paused project under the project template folder and go copy and paste that project as you need it. And one more tip. Again, let me show the inspector. I like to set the review for any project templates to maybe like every three months. There's no—there's no need to review these every week, especially something like a packing list. You'll—you'll probably actually never review it. You'll just kind of update it as you're packing for a trip and you realize that your list doesn't include certain items, yeah? But just set the review to like a long period of time so that you don't—not—don't have to go and mark it as reviewed every week. 

[00:03:58] That's how you use project templates in OmniFocus. I'm sure you can come up with lots of projects that you do repeatedly, but not necessarily on a set schedule. So go ahead now and create templates for that and then start working from those templates whenever you start a project like that. I assure you it will save you time and reduce errors.

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