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A Deeper Dive in SOPs

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Keeping your SOP process simple will create consistency, which is more important than creating a perfect system.

Implement This: A Deeper Dive SOPs

SOPs can be a lot to explain, and even more to implement, and it can really be as extensive or as simple as you make it.

But here’s my recommendation: keep it simple on yourself. Create them in the easiest way possible, name them clearly, and choose one place to store them. Then build the muscle by doing it consistently (even when you're in a hurry).

First off, what is an SOP? Well technically, it’s a Standard Operating Procedure. And they can be pretty extensive.

But again, let’s keep it simple.

Usually in our industry, there are two main kinds of SOPs: Project SOPs and Task Overview SOPs.

Here are some questions I’ve gotten recently about SOPs that I will go over bullet by bullet.

Remember, there are so many ways to create and keep track of SOPs, but I’m going to go over the most simple ways I’ve found so that you can start creating and maintaining them right now.

What form do they really take?

For project SOPs that have multiple people, deadlines, and steps: I prefer doing a written out process with steps, deadlines, assignees, details, and often multiple overview screen recording videos.

For Task Overview SOPs: I just record a quick screen recording video, sharing my screen and going over expectations. Then I name it correctly, put it in the right folder, and send the task with a priority, deadline, and any additional information (links, logins, etc).

How do we create them? And who creates them?

For Project SOPs: I like creating them in a single Google Document, because there’s not really that many: There are basically core processes (HR, Sales, etc) and major repeatable projects. You can organize them by department or category and have a table of contents, or use the formatting feature for easy search-ability.

Another option is keeping them in your project management software. You can do this by creating a document or list in ClickUp, Monday (or whatever you use) and keeping it updated. If you’re doing it as a task, I would create one main task for the whole project, with one person overseeing that project and a deadline for when that project is due, then each step would be subtasks with different assignees, details, and deadlines.

For Task Overview SOPs: I create SOP task overviews using Loom. But you can use any screen recording software. I like Loom because of the foldering system, ease of sharing, transcripts, and price. I keep it simple and record my screen with all the steps.

Don’t be the only one creating them: If someone on your team is doing any repeatable projects or tasks, have them record the steps or record a video so they OWN that process. Then tell them what to name it and where to store it. There should be a naming convention and a process for where they go that everyone knows by heart. Consistency is KEY. And documentation is crucial for delegation.

How do we store them?

For Project SOPs: I store the processes in a single google document for all my processes. Or in some cases, I might recommend storing them in a project management software. Ensure that it is shared with everyone. You want to put them where your team lives and refer to it often so that you remember that it exists.

For Task Overview SOPs: I store them in the correct Loom folder, that the right people have access to, with a clear name so it is searchable. Other options are a spreadsheet, list, or Airtable. Again, keep it simple and put them where your team lives.

How do we remember that they exist and where they are when we need them?

You remember that they exist by putting them where you and your team live, referring to them constantly, and consistently creating and updating them.

Almost daily, I’m sending Task Overview SOPs. I have made it a habit to put it in the correct Loom folder immediately, which is shared with my VA so she knows she can look in her SOP folder to find any of the overviews she’s looking for.

I also have her updating the processes as she’s implementing them, to keep them up to date.

And if I’ve already created a process or task overview, I send them to the Process document or the Task Overview folder to find it so they are building the muscle to look for it there first, before they even ask me for an overview.

If my team is creating SOPs, they know where to put them because I show them by example. And I consistently ask them to “put it in the SOP folder” or "add it to the Process doc" when they send me an overview or when I assign them a new task.

In Summary:

Keep it simple: Create one Process Document. Create SOP folders on a screen recoding software. Don’t double store them or create unnecessary complexity.

Keep it consistent: Record overviews anytime there is a new task. Document the process whenever there is a new one established. Name them the same way every time, put them in the same place every time (it will take an extra 15-30 seconds to put them in the proper place before assigning them, but it will be worth it to have them organized). If you create something, know where you’re going to store it immediately and put it there, even before you assign it.

Keep everyone accountable: Make sure that everyone on your team is creating SOPs and storing them correctly. Everyone should own their processes.

Today’s action item: Create one short video overviewing a task that needs to be assigned. Challenge yourself to keep it under 5 mins to ensure it is simple. Name it with the topic - title - date. Create a new folder to put it in. Move it to the right folder. Assign the task with the video, priority, and deadline.

I know this can be a complex topic, so if you have any clarifying questions, send a reply to this email and I'd be happy to answer them.

Here's to you getting Time Rich,

Summer and The Time Rich Team

PS. Here is an example Task Overview SOP I sent to my VA for inspiration. And here is an example of one of my Project SOPs​

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