If you’ve ever eaten a McDonald’s cheeseburger, you’ll have experienced one of the most successful SOPs in the history of American business.
Ray Kroc is the man behind the golden arches. In 1955, he began revolutionizing the fast food industry with meals in less than 60 seconds.
How did he do it?
He believed in the power of the assembly line and the necessity of the SOP. His 75-page manual on making the perfect burger played a vital role in helping McDonald’s grow to 38,000 worldwide stores.
Side note: if you haven’t see The Founder, it’s a must-watch documentary!
Intro to SOPs for Dads
Listen, I realize our homes are not run by 75-page manuals. We don’t mass produce cheeseburgers — unless of course you’re throwing a pool party for 20+ people. 🙂 But, I believe there’s something here we all can be inspired by and utilize in the household.
In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a balanced and productive family life can be challenging for dads. Especially for those that have specific and measurable healthy dad goals, like myself. However, by implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at home, dads can establish efficient routines that streamline tasks and create a harmonious environment.
This article aims to guide dads on utilizing SOPs, traditionally used in businesses, to effectively manage household responsibilities, enhance productivity, and foster stronger family bonds.
Let’s start with the basics, and define SOP.
What is an SOP?
SOP is the acronym for “Standard Operating Procedure”. Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, defines an SOP as a:
Predefined process used to complete a task or resolve a problem.
A SOP can be in the form of a single page PDF, to a multi-page manual (like McDonald’s 75 pager). They are typically stored in a central electronic database where people can access them quickly.
5 steps to creating SOPs at home
If you’re a nerd like me, and excited to dive into creating SOPS at home, here’s a basic 5 step process to get rolling.
Let’s start with identifying areas that could lean on SOPs.
1. Identify Key Areas for SOPs
To get started, dads should first identify key areas in their family life that can benefit from SOPs.
Common areas include:
- meal planning and preparation
- house cleaning
- morning and evening routines
- children’s schedules and activities
- managing personal and professional commitments
One of the best SOP documents my wife and I created was a digital shopping list to reference while in a grocery store — which helps us avoid seed oils. My kids and I also created a quasi-SOP for how we handle rough and tumble play, especially when wrestling or play fighting!
2. Collaborative Approach
Implementing SOPs at home should involve the whole family.
Dads can gather everyone for a family meeting to discuss the benefits of SOPs and the importance of organization. Encourage open communication and seek input from family members, ensuring that the procedures are inclusive and align with everyone’s needs and preferences. By involving everyone, dads promote a sense of shared responsibility, cooperation, and ownership of the SOPs, leading to a more harmonious and productive household.
Use a visual timer, such as the awesome and simple Time Timer, so your kids know how long this “family meeting” will last!
3. Documenting Procedures
To make SOPs effective, it is crucial to document them clearly and concisely. Dads can create detailed guidelines for each procedure, outlining step-by-step instructions, responsibilities, and timelines.
Use digital tools such as:
- shared calendars (my wife and I have multiple shared Google calendars!)
- task management apps
- project management software
I’d recommend using one of these software apps to capture and document the ideas. This documentation will serve as a reference point, ensuring consistency, and avoiding confusion or misunderstandings.
4. Delegation and Accountability
Effective delegation is key to maintaining productivity at home. Distribute tasks among family members based on their capabilities and preferences, promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility. Assigning age-appropriate responsibilities to children can also foster their sense of independence and accountability. Regularly review and discuss progress, providing constructive feedback and recognition for a job well done.
In less fancier words:
Find a way to reward them for carrying out an SOP!
For example, I love a kids ticketing system for positive reinforcement.
5. Flexibility and Adaptability
OK rigid dads, I’m talking to you here.
While SOPs are designed to bring order and efficiency, it’s essential to remain flexible and adaptable. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances change. Dads should encourage family members to communicate any adjustments or challenges they face. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of SOPs and make necessary adaptations as the family’s needs evolve. Embrace the spirit of continuous improvement, using simple feedback loops, and seeking suggestions from your wife and kids.
Dad’s Final Thoughts
By implementing SOPs, dads can transform their homes into well-organized and productive environments.
This means we can enjoy a more balanced family life, reduce unnecessary stress, and create stronger bonds with our loved ones.
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Can you win at Dadhood AND everywhere else in life? I'm just crazy enough to believe we can. With the right knowledge, hacks, habits, and motivation — we can crush it ALL!
Eric Sharp is the founder of Healthy Dad Hacks. He married the love of his life (Sarah) and proud Dad of a blended family (Hazel & Roman). When not thinking about being a better Dad, he enjoys; CrossFit, entrepreneurship, eating carnivore, collecting Michael Jordan sports cards, music, and fancy sneakers.
[Picture: Turkey Trot 2021]