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How SOPS Saved Us Hours in a Week

How SOPS Saved Us Hours in a Week

There is a difference between working in your business and working on your business. For most of us, we are spending time working “in” our business. This means you are working with an employee mindset and you are completing daily progress on tasks. However, this is not where the magic happens! As business owners and leaders in the industry, we need to find the time to work “on” our business. This is where we are clear on the vision of our company and we have the space in our day to day to work on the bigger picture.

In order to make more time for ourselves to be able to look at the bigger picture and network with other like minded business owners in a group like a mastermind, we need to have our processes mapped out. This will allow our team to jump in at any time and have a clear idea of what needs to be done from start to finish.

Let’s talk SOPS– Standard Operating Procedures. It’s been twelve years since I started my business. I can’t remember a time in the last decade where I didn’t feel like I was on a hamster wheel trying so badly to hop off. Until more recently when I said enough is enough.

I run a publishing company for children’s picture books. We have timelines and workflows that are repeated from one book project to the next, but each time we signed a new author, I would pull these tasks from my brain and assign them to team members. If someone on my team needed a resource, I would waste time digging through my desktop documents to find it. If only I added up all the time I wasted doing these two, very unproductive tasks, you would have a good idea of why I am writing this article.


Begin by mapping out a list of processes that your business repeats from time to time. For example, this could be your accountant creating a monthly P&L that then gets emailed to your business analyst. In a week after that, your business analyst has a call with you to go over your monthly spending. This entire process could be set up in a system like Asana, Trello (free options are available for smaller teams), or even a spreadsheet with due dates and tasks. With a system like Asana, you can set it up so that this process repeats monthly and is automated so that you create space in your brain for looking at the bigger picture!

Ask your team members to map out their own processes as well. Documenting their work in this way will make it much easier to train their replacements down the road if that should be needed.

Gather Resources

What are the resources your team uses on a daily basis? We have spreadsheets and google drive folders where we store marketing information on our books. Instead of having to grab those links time and time again upon request, why not have these in one place?

This also works for documents. We recently brought on a new team member who was sending me her work in Word documents. I would have to download the document to my computer, make necessary changes, then save and upload it before attaching it to an email or task for her. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through! Instead, consider getting your documents into Google Docs and Sheets so that team members can work on edits and changes in real time without all the hassle of downloading, uploading, attaching, and more!

Detox Your Digital Space

Would you be embarrassed for someone to see your computer desktop right now? Or how about your email inbox? Block out a period of time every Friday for the next month. Let’s start with 45 minutes. Begin by creating folders in your email for items that you need to save. Respond to anything that requires 3-5 minutes of your time and then unsubscribe to the subscription emails that you do not open (you are doing the sender a favor as well!)

Next, focus on your computer documents. Start with deleting and organizing files on your computer. The next step would be to consider uploading documents to Google Drive. You can actually have your drive installed on your desktop. It will not use up your computer space, but you can easily access your documents!

Spend time each week keeping your digital space organized and free from clutter by emptying the trash.

These simple steps will clear up time and space for you to get back hours of time in your week to work “on” your business and to move forward!

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by Maria Dismondy // Maria Dismondy owns Cardinal Rule Press, a children’s publishing company. When she isn’t working, she can be found embarking on outdoor adventures with her husband, three children and two covid puppies in Southeast Michigan.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.