Note From Julie: How to Organize Your Systems and Procedures for Everyday Use

Dec 1, 2017 | Procedures

documenting your systemsWe’ve been focused on helping you prepare for the holidays this month by documenting your systems and procedures. One of our readers recently asked a question I hear often, and I want to answer it here for everyone’s benefit. Here’s her question:

“I have a procedures binder with procedures, but when I think about systems, I get confused. Where should I keep my systems documentations? In the binder with my procedures (e.g. having procedures and checklists behind each system), in a systems binder, or some other method?”

If you think about it, most systems are a combination of procedures, forms, templates, and checklists. So, your procedures binder is the most logical place for keeping your systems organized.

When you think in terms of systems, you’re really thinking about the series of procedures that make your systems run. You may want a separate tab in your procedures binder for each key system. For example, you could have sections for:

  • Travel planning
  • Meeting or event planning
  • Filing

Your system might also be spread across several tabs in your procedures binder in smaller sub-sets. For example, meeting and event planning may have separate tabs for catering, event venues, staff meetings, quarterly employee meetings, etc. The only rule? It needs to make sense to you and the way you use it. Don’t over think it or get too rigid, allow for some flexibility, and be willing to adjust how you organize it as you use it.

In some cases, your documented systems may require their own separate binder. One example from a previous job was managing human resources responsibilities. HR has several elements to it – payroll, benefits, hiring, firing, training. I kept that entire system, and the related procedures, in a binder of its own.

I did the same thing with my board meeting systems. Board meetings required their own separate binder with specific tabs for each part of the system – date selection, venue selection, agenda preparation, board member travel, board books, board dinners, etc.

The goal is to create complete documentation that helps ease your stress, improve your productivity, and create a backup plan for you, your executive, and your team. The key is to get started with one system and work your way down the list from there. If you have questions or need help along the way, please ask. Submit a contact form on our website with your questions. I’m here to help!

As always, we’re sharing some tips on prepping for the holidays on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. And if you’re unsure about creating procedures (which tie into systems), our feature infographic can help!

Supporting your administrative success,


P.S. My new book, Become a Procedures Pro™, delves deeper into the procedures and systems that can help you become a better administrative professional. Read an excerpt and explore the website at!

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