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  • Odd Question

    Anyone have a procedure manual for themselves? When I used to work for another company (I am now a SAHM and work for myself in direct sales), we always had a procedure manual telling us how to do the various functions. I have all sorts of resources for ways to do things in my business, but when it comes down to doing the "next action," the bottom line is that you have to pick one way to do it.

    I have my next actions captured (at least in my personal life), but I still find myself bogged down with "how to do it" when it comes to my business. So many of the things I do in my business are routine - it seems to me that a personal procedure manual would allow me to quit thinking about how I am going to hold the appointment and thus free up my mind to think about who to hold the appointment with and how I can tailor it specifically for them.

    It would be very GTD-esque in terms of the benefits (freeing my mind to think about what is important). But I find myself thinking that I should be out "working" instead of writing up such a manual, just like I feel like I should be doing my next actions instead of writing all of them down and putting them into order according to the GTD system.

    Would I be wasting my time if I sat down and did a personal procedure manual? It really wouldn't take me more than just a couple days (all things considered - I have a 2-year-old who keeps my attention span pretty short). Am I crazy? Does anyone else have such a thing for themselves?

  • #2
    I don't think you're crazy at all

    I think developing some checklists to free up your mind is a good idea. As you follow them, you'll probably see what works and use that to keep improving them. At least that's been my experience with my own evolving procedure for making my favorite bread recipe.

    And we all have the Weekly Review to follow.

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    • #3
      checklists to the rescue

      for the ordinary stuff. My checklist includes checking the day's appointment book morning, noon, late afternoon and after dinner, checking my n/a lists, etc. I have 30 things that should be done everyday and I keep it in a teacher's rollbook and check it by hand. I can't always do everything on the list but if an item doesn't get done for 3 days I see it clearly. Some items are rotational, for example, I have three bathrooms to clean and I just indicate which one if any was cleaned that day by a letter for its color. I sincerely wish I had a program for the Palm for this but I have not found anything for repeating tasks. Also, having recently faced a situation in which I had to deal with a crisis of serious proportions, I think that a list of "instructions" is a great idea for really critical matters. Just be selective or you could write for days. While I am not in sales, I would think it is very useful to create or obtain stuctured interviews for sales work. Just today I was looking at sofas and the sales lady seemed to have about 10 questions on a checksheet-begiining with "Are you familiar with how our strore works?" to "Have you measured the space?". and "Do you have a long term plan for furnishing your house?" Although I just wanted to see what was on sale, she got me to set up a visit to my home!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jamie Elis
        for the ordinary stuff. My checklist includes checking the day's appointment book morning, noon, late afternoon and after dinner, checking my n/a lists, etc. I have 30 things that should be done everyday and I keep it in a teacher's rollbook and check it by hand. I can't always do everything on the list but if an item doesn't get done for 3 days I see it clearly. Some items are rotational, for example, I have three bathrooms to clean and I just indicate which one if any was cleaned that day by a letter for its color. I sincerely wish I had a program for the Palm for this but I have not found anything for repeating tasks. Also, having recently faced a situation in which I had to deal with a crisis of serious proportions, I think that a list of "instructions" is a great idea for really critical matters. Just be selective or you could write for days. While I am not in sales, I would think it is very useful to create or obtain stuctured interviews for sales work. Just today I was looking at sofas and the sales lady seemed to have about 10 questions on a checksheet-begiining with "Are you familiar with how our strore works?" to "Have you measured the space?". and "Do you have a long term plan for furnishing your house?" Although I just wanted to see what was on sale, she got me to set up a visit to my home!
        Datebk5 to the rescue

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        • #5
          It depends on the task.

          For regular items in my Tickler file, I'll write the procedure on the sheet of paper itself. For example, I have a Tickler to remind myself to check my computer's Tripwire logs every week (Tripwire records changes to your files). It's a four-step process involving complicated Terminal commands. I've written the commands on the Tickler sheet.

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          • #6
            I've been self-employed for most of my working life, and as I've seen others leave the corporate environment & enter self-employment I've observed many of them get wrapped up in trying to create corporate-style structure.

            I'm not saying it's wrong to do that, but when your only inventory is your time, you constantly have to decide whether you want to consume that inventory writing non-revenue-generating procedures or selling the inventory to someone who will pay for it. That can be a tough call.

            I have numerous checklists borne of experience and they are constantly being revised on the fly. But as for a personal procedures manual, let me suggest a very simple one-sentence manual, taken from a DA seminar:
            "Make it up, and make it happen."

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