Thursday, November 7, 2013

What are your SOPs?

Photo credit: jnatiuk (stock.xchng)
(I wrote this when I did indeed work at a contract research organization. The job is now well in my past, but I did learn so much from it, and I’m grateful for the experience.)
I work at a contract research organization that partners with pharmaceutical research companies. Before they begin working with us, our clients do a thorough audit of our Standard Operating Procedures (or SOPs) to ensure that we are conducting our business legally, ethically, and fairly.

Our clients want to be sure that our employees are not only trained, but know our SOPs well enough to follow them as habit – for in the business of medicine, the cost of error can be especially grievous.

But you don’t find SOPs just at the office. Every day, we all operate with our own SOPs.

Think about it. How do we wake up in the morning? Do we know exactly what we are going to wear, or do we rustle up any clothes that are clean and (relatively) unwrinkled? Do we pause to eat some sort of breakfast, or do we just drink that cup of coffee which is waiting for us at the office? Do we give ourselves enough travel time to allow for unexpected traffic delays, or do we wait until the last minute and put our pedal to the metal to get there?

Do we think about what we are going to do that day – a continuation of yesterday’s work, a whole new priority, or basic cleanup and maintenance?

Do we know what we are going to eat for lunch, or do we just hope that our favorite treat is waiting for us in the vending machine?

Do we know what we are going to do when we get home? Do we have a plan for dinner, exercise, speaking with family and friends, e-mail, tidying the house, personal hygiene, errands, etc.? Or do we just collapse in front of the TV, only bothering to rise to put in and take out a microwave dinner?

Do we know what we will do just before we go to bed? Do we allow ourselves time for contemplation, quiet or even just a little reading? Do we know what time we need to go to bed to get an optimal amount of sleep? Or do we stay awake doing trivialities, staying just ahead of the long arm of sleep as long as possible?

Ask yourself, what are your personal SOPs? Are they working in your best interest? Is it time for an audit?
NaBloPoMo November 2013

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