How To Write A Standard Operating Procedure FASTER
Are you taking hours to create your SOPs because of the overwhelm? I hear you. It used to take me HOURS to do one too!
Thankfully as I’ve been doing a LOT of standard operating procedures (SOP) this week, I realized that I’m now able to do it so much faster AND without the overwhelm! It’s funny how much you can really grow in just 6 months of focus. I no longer feel stressed in writing (or thinking!) them and I am now able to create them 2-3x faster than before!
So today, I’m happy to share with you what helped me to write standard operating procedures faster
1. Create your SOP Template
To make things a lot simpler and organized, one of the things you need to do to write a standard operating procedure faster is to create your own SOP Template. Doing so would mean you’ll have a general idea of what you need to write down in each of your SOP.
To create your own SOP, make sure that you have 1) Purpose 2) Policies 3) Procedure. In purpose, we set the objectives of that process to ensure that the whole team is aligned on the same goal. In policies, we write down the non-negotiables of what it entails to do the process. In the procedure, we break down the overview of the main parts of the SOP and the step-by-step task of each of those parts.
Now with your SOP template ready, you’re much more equipped to write your standard operating procedures in a blink of an eye! Okay maybe not that fast, but you get what I mean!
2. Outline the main parts
If you think you need to write a dozen main parts on your SOP, then you’re doing it wrong. The main purpose of an SOP is to systematize your process so your team members can apply it in their work with the same high-quality standards that you want to embody in your business. That’s why it’s important to start with outlining the main parts first in writing your SOP.
Here’s how you can outline the main parts of your process easily. First, create your starting point and end point. Then, start filling in the processes in between. Make sure to stick with the 3-5 major parts of your process. If the process takes more than 90 minutes to do, then your process needs to be in another SOP. After that, you can start adding the step-by-step process for each of these main parts. No need to add in all the intricate and full details (save that for later!), just write the simple outline for the steps. Once you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back because you just made things a whole lot easier!
When you see the outline, do you feel heavier or lighter? If you feel lighter, then that’s EXACTLY what we’re aiming for. We’re not only here to help you make the process of writing your SOP faster but also lighter.
3. Create a process map
Anyone else get overwhelmed trying to map out all the ideas and processes in their mind? As a visual person, I know sometimes it feels like it. Luckily, we can incorporate process maps to make it easier to visualize both for us and our teams before making a finalized SOP.
In creating your process map, you can try using Whimsical and Lucidchart for free. Start creating your main parts first and then start filling out all the other step-by-step action items. This way, you can first share it with the team member accountable for that work and make sure that you have the right details.
Once it’s finalized, you’re now ready to apply it to the SOP template that you have! Less edits, less revisions, less overwhelm. You can now write your SOP in peace knowing that you fully understood the process which makes creating your SOPs so much faster.
4. Add the intricate details
Before you get stressed and anxious with writing the intricate & small details on your SOP, breathe in and out with me. Breathe in. Breathe out. Okay, done? Great. Now as you get to this step, one thing to keep in mind is we only need what’s necessary. Keeping that in mind, not only makes the process of writing your SOPs simpler but also faster.
Since you already have all the main parts and step-by-step instructions for each parts, we’ll now simply move on to three things. First, adding what they need to keep in mind while doing the task. Second, what photos are necessary to add. You know it’s necessary when the document won’t be understood without it. Lastly, adding tables of guidelines and templates if necessary. You can list this down as part of the annex to make it a lot less complicated when the viewer looks at the document.
Having these intricate details as the last thing to do, makes it less for you to go back & forth with editing your SOP. It also lessens the overwhelm by making it the last part to add in the SOP which makes it faster to write.
Soooo, how was it? Easy, right!? Just remember every time you write your SOP that’s it’s not going to look like that forever. It will always be updated and the only essential thing right now is to get the most important details out and about on paper.
Now, I would love to know what’s your biggest takeaway from the steps I’ve mentioned above? I would love to know them in the comments below! (I promise I’ll reply to each and every one of them!)
With light & love,