The Secret to Organization: The Family Operations Manual

If you’re feeling like your parent responsibilities are being sacrificed by your entrepreneur life, I have a treat for you. Not too long ago, I invited Renée Warren of Family Academy to pop in and share some boots on the ground tactics to help you succeed at family and business.

Renée did not disappoint! In her struggles and victories, you’ll find a kindred spirit.

She explains that within one year, she gave birth to two babies, launched two businesses, and moved two times. At one point, she worked with twelve clients and managed ten to twelve employees and freelancers across various time zones.

As she strived to be the best she could be at business, her family responsibilities fell by the wayside. With her home life organization in shambles, she and her husband knew something needed to change. If not dealt with, this vicious cycle would only get worse.

Does her story sound familiar? Don’t be disheartened.

From losing to winning, in family and business

So Renée and her husband acknowledged a need for change. This is the first step to crawling out of the chaos. But what then?

They came up with a strategy called The Family Operations Manual. It changed their life and they hope it will change yours too. So read on!

What is The Family Operations Manual?

In a nutshell, The Family Operations Manual is a manual that lays out the important information and how-to behind your family’s life. Say goodbye to the days of not knowing where you left the doctor’s number or having to re-write instructions for the next babysitter. Everything about your family will be located in one handy playbook.

Truly, we all know what it’s like to have phone numbers and important documents scattered across the house in odd places. You can uncomplicate your life by having this easily accessible system created.

From meal planning to packing checklists and funeral wishes, your family will no longer be in a constant state of confusion when a family document must be found. Reminder for password updates or passport renewals can also be stowed away in this playbook. It keeps your family running like a well-oiled machine.

Breaking down The Family Operations Manual

To help you out, Renée is giving you a copy of her family’s playbook. You may copy it at this link.

What makes her playbook unique is that it incorporates a system that can easily communicate beyond what a pen and paper could do. Because the system is on google drive, you can easily share it with your spouse, kids, and other pertinent people. You update the file on your google drive and everyone else with access will see the latest version too.

Now that you’ve copied the document to your own drive folder, let’s look at how Renée breaks it down.

Understanding the sheets within the document

At the bottom of the document, you’ll notice three different tabs labeled reference, procedures, and template.

  • Reference. This sheet is a master list of all your reference documents. On the far left column, you’ll see a reference number that’s linked. Clicking this link will take you to the reference document.So, for example, you can have a reference document created for each child. The document will hold all the medical information for that child – you can list allergies, medicines he or she is on, passport number, etc. You may also write down phone numbers associated with this particular child (specific doctors, teachers, etc.)Additionally, you can have a reference document with instructions for your babysitter. This document will be written once and adapted over time as needed. You won’t have to retype it every time a new sitter is employed and you’ll know right where it is located. At the click of a button, you can send it to the babysitter or print it off for her.
  • Procedures. In your procedure sheet, you’ll find a list of procedures such as emergency contact information, house cleaning schedule, and packing checklists. You can create a list of procedures for a variety of scenarios as they come your way and they’ll be filed away here for safe keeping. Again, as with the reference sheet, the very left column links to the appropriate document.
  • Template. Next, we have the template sheet. Here you’ll keep a database linking to various documents such as your meal planning system, your family tree, and your kids’ lunch plan.

How this system works for you

There are numerous benefits to embracing this system but it’s important to know how it can work for you.

It’s accessible from your phone

This system works because you and your family can easily access it from your phone screen. Need to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher immediately? No problem, just pull out your phone and look your child’s reference document. Her number should be there.

Share in its entirety or only in part

First, this system is versatile in that you can share the entire manual or only part of it. So for example, maybe your accountant is someone you’d share this with in its entirety. Great. You can share the spreadsheet with them. But let’s say you only want to share the babysitting instructions with someone. Open that reference document and use the share feature on just that document.

Implement with other task management tools

Second, if you’re a fan of other task management tools such as Asana, you can easily adapt this system to work with these apps. Be creative and find what works best for you and your family.

Plan family meetings around your manual

Third, communication is key. It’s important that you sit with your partner and go over The Family Operations Manual once a week. This will help you both calibrate and stay on the same page. You can both discuss updates that were made or changes that need to be made.

Renée and her husband like to have a family mission and values statement in their manual, it keeps them focused, on target, and unified in their vision.

So the secret’s out, what are you waiting for?

Now that you have the secret to keeping your family life in good working order, it’s time to get your own Family Operations Manual going.

As more and more people become entrepreneurs, it’s important that we learn how to balance family and business at the same time. Renée admits that being a parent is tough enough already, but throw a business into the mix and you really need to do more than barely survive. You need a system that will take you from struggling to thriving.

Renee WarrenRenée Warren began her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17. She’s written hundreds of articles and eBooks on startup marketing, some published on She’s currently on a mission to help over 1 million entrepreneur families gain more freedom in their lives through her programs at The Family Academy.

A certified Reiki practitioner, CrossFit athlete and mom to Irish twins, Renee resides on the East coast of Canada with husband and kids. flogo_rgb_hex-brc-site-250 flogo_rgb_hex-brc-site-250



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