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4 Tips to Transform Your Desk Manual Into the Ultimate Productivity Tool

Make your own SOP manual – start here!
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Office Management

4 tips to transform your desk manual into the ultimate productivity tool

Showcase your talents by putting together a desk reference manual. Done bit by bit, it can become the ultimate productivity tool.

Never be left scrambling to remember how something should be done. Use this step-by-step guide for creating your own administrative SOP manual.

Here's how to do it:

Motivate yourself for the job. Keep in mind the manual's main purpose: It helps temps, or anyone else, who has to sit at your desk, to be productive and effective. It also saves aggravation, stress and time. Someone filling in for you won't be able to turn to your boss for help.

"Since a lot of execs don't know the ins and outs of their jobs, it's the assistants who know all the little things," says Joan Burge, the founder and CEO of Office Dynamics.

Beyond the fact that a manual keeps the office running smoothly, "It also makes you feel proud, when you look at how much you know and the extent of your work. It can be a vehicle for marketing yourself, when you start competing for positions," says Burge.

Use a three-ring binder, with a table of contents and tabs. As you go through your day, put in samples: templates, examples of formal correspondence, regular reports. Create a Word document for writing down processes. Each time you work on a core task, make a note of how it's done. Build the notebook as you go.

Creating good step-by-step documentation takes some thought and effort, but the end result is a resource that can be used over and over again by you or anyone who needs it. Start creating your SOP manual today with this step-by-step guide!

Put in day-to-day tasks and tips on managing your boss. Your table of contents should reflect the full range of your work, including sections on the day-to-day occurrences, such as morning routine, telephone/voice mail, filing and correspondence.

As you're filling out this section, ask yourself: "How does the boss like people to answer the phone?" and "What's the most effective way to communicate with her about priorities, whether email, morning meetings, another method?" and "Does she have a specific way of signing off her correspondence?" Example: "Joan likes to use 'hoping to serve you' at the end of her letters, instead of 'sincerely.'"

Share tips particular to your boss or office. Include sections labeled "Travel preferences" or "People you should know," including outside clients, your travel agent, printers, etc. Or store your notes in a "General notes" section.

Example: "If you don't have a good memory, take a lot of notes. Joan is a big thinker, so she likes for you to keep up with the details."

Start building your SOP manual binder today!

When you're out of the office, it's nice to be missed. But it's nicer when things can run smoothly so you don't return to a pile of problems or unhandled business.

A smoothly operating office is a sign of a prepared and polished professional who has the best Creating a Standard Operating Procedures Manualinterests of his or her co-workers and company at heart – and a solid Administrative Procedures Binder is essential.

Get to work with Creating a Standard Operating Procedures Manual and you'll never be left in the lurch when something happens or scramble to remember how something should be done.

There's no need to reinvent the wheel. You'll have 6 sample documents to follow, from a table of contents to an activity log to an out-of-the-office checklist and more. Get your copy today!
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