I’m office manager at a school for children with autism. That title may be a little misleading, as I don’t really manage the office. I am the office. Just me, little old me, and the director, who couldn’t find a pen if it was in his pocket (it usually is, and it’s usually not his) and who generally has about seventeen things going at once, none of which in any way involves following those pesky ~rules~ set up by HR or Payroll or Accounts Payable.†
With any school, it’s important that no matter who is sick or absent or distracted, things keep going. When you’re talking about a school for kids on the spectrum, it becomes a bit more imperative. Breaks in routine are Not. Good.
So recently when the boss was telling someone how I’m awesome, that I’m office manager, receptionist, nurse, occasional janitor, sometime maintenance tech, and all the while somehow manage to keep him mostly in line so HR doesn’t come hunting him with torches, and that without me the whole school would fall down–I appreciated it, but I also decided it should not all depend on me. I’m human. I get sick. And sometimes I need a vacation. So I started collecting my checklists and notes on how things work into a Standard Operating Procedure Manual. Kind of like this except not so formal. So if I ever needed to, you know, not go to work, the entire school wouldn’t fall down while I lolled around in my bathrobe drinking lemon tea with honey, or basked on the beach with a few chance-met cabana boys.
And because I’m a gung-ho kind of girl, and just the little bit of work I’ve done on the SOP so far already has me refocusing after interruptions faster and also managing not to forget extremely important stuff, I thought “hey. I should try this at home.”
Hmm, thought I. Perhaps this is one reason I get so little done at home?
You don’t have to hit me with a ton of bricks. Two or three will generally do it.
Now I’m revising my Control Journal, or as I like to call it, my flight manual. I’m actually going to have two–one for the house, which my housemates will help me with or so help me…
The other is for my desk. For my writing, and my personal growth, and my efforts not to sleepwalk through my life. I’m sorting and arranging all kinds of notes from everywhere into OneNote for this purpose, because OneNote is incredibly easy to use and I can put it on my phone and have ACCESS to all this from anywhere. It will have plans like an evening routine that includes the things I care about, instead of screwing around on the internet.
Imagine. All my writing notes, character thoughts, galaxy-building plans, snippets of dialogue, all in one place where I can find them and if I can’t find something I can search it. The list of movies, books, tv, that I want to catch up on, all on a page I can find quickly and easily and maybe even with links to the content I’m looking for. Routines for evenings when I’m tired but need to get things done. Plans for days off that include both work and play. Guides for publishing my books so I don’t forget steps. Menu plans so I make real food instead of being tempted by garbage, when I don’t have the energy to make the plans and the food in the same night.
There’s so much I want to do, that I feel like I could do, if I could just get all of me aimed in the same dang direction…
Because you know what? I’m actually kind of awesome, and I’m tired of my life not reflecting the magnificence that I just know I can give out.
From this day forward, SOP is Be Awesome.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
† My boss is amazing and marvelous and I <3 him, but I am aware that other departments may not feel the same, and I do understand why.