This is a re-print of a guest post I did last week for the Google for Students company blog. They're hosting a series of guest posts from Googlers who blog, and I was lucky enough to kick off the series! If you read Life After College regularly you've probably seen many of these templates already, but hopefully this will still serve as a nice re-cap. Important note: if any of the previews don't show up, you can still use the template. Google Docs has been picking some technical fights with me lately, and we haven't reconciled yet!
8 Ways to Manage Your Life After College with Google Docs
Life after college can be confusing and chaotic. As a veteran Googler, life coach, blogger, and productivity geek, it might not surprise you to know that I run my life with Google Docs. I’ve created templates to help organize almost every aspect of life after college, and I’m hoping they’ll help you get a handle on things too!
The great thing about using Google Docs & Spreadsheets is that they are easy to edit, accessible anywhere (any computer or your mobile phone), and you can share them with friends for added accountability and feedback. So without further ado...
1. Prepare for job interviews with the Job Interview One-Sheeter This template condenses nine key questions into a one-page "Cliff’s Notes" for your next job interview. Quickly articulate and refer back to your answers on nine key areas, including: strengths, goals, work-style, ideas, challenges you've overcome, questions for the interviewer and an answer to that dreaded "weaknesses" question.
2. Set career goals by creating a Professional Development Strategy To succeed in your career you need to take an active role in your learning and professional development. No one else will do it for you. This template will help you set a strategy around your professional development goals by walking you through three areas: Your Vision (short and long-term brainstorm about your desired impact, and what you want to do & have), The What (skills, knowledge, education, experience), and The How (quarterly benchmarks and resources).
3. Track conversations, professional contacts and potential mentors with the Networking Tracker Use this networking spreadsheet to track names of people you meet that you want have follow-up conversations with. The template eliminates the need to refer back to business cards - people's information is easily accessible online (and stored in one place). The tracker also makes it easy to skim through your list of contacts every few months and drop people a note if you haven't talked to them in a while.
4. Get your finances under control with the ever-so-simple Four-Step Budget Template Most budgets are too cumbersome to be useful (in my humble opinion). Check-out this handy four-step budget: After filling in income, must-have expenses and nice-to-have expenses, you'll get a "monthly allowance" for you to spend on discretionary items as you'd like, with the peace of mind of knowing that your main expenses are taken care of.
5. Have some fun! Dream big by creating a Life Checklist The principle of the life list is simple. You list all the things you want to do in life - big and small - then cross them off as you do them. This template will help you create a life checklist of your own. To see an example of my life checklist, click here.
6. Take an overall temperature check of your life with the Wheel of Life The Wheel of Life is a commonly used coaching exercise. It can help you examine each of the areas of your life and determine where you want to focus your attention. In this template the wheel is clearly a square :), and the cells automatically change color based on the values you enter (1-4=red, 5-7=yellow, 8-10=green).
7. Hold yourself accountable for strong health habits with the Fitness & Activity Weekly Tracker We all love checking things off a checklist, right? Use this template for tracking your weekly fitness activities (or anything else you want to track). You set the target goal for each activity (ex: run twice per week, strength training three times per week), and the spreadsheet will give you a countdown as you check-off various activities. It also totals your minutes per week, with a column for keeping notes and a place for tracking your weight.
8. Set-up a system for managing appointments with the Simple Appointment Tracking Spreadsheet If you do not have a place to keep track of recurring appointments (medical or otherwise), you will always be scratching your head trying to remember when you are next due – or forget about making the appointments completely. Set up a simple spreadsheet to track all of your recurring appointments and the relevant contact information in one place, then schedule reminders to actually make the next appointment one month before you are due.
I’d love to hear what you think after trying these - and please get in touch if you have requests for future templates!