Welcome to our free Goal Setting and Time Management tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Goal Setting and Time Management Training course.
Often the difference between success and failure in goal setting is dependent on whether or not your goal is a "SMART" goal.
While the SMART paradigm provides a framework to think about your goals, it is always important that the goals you set be your own goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
A goal needs to be specific and focused as opposed to being ambiguous and vague. When you are thinking about a goal, you should have a precise image in your mind of what achieving your goal will look like.
When you write down your goal, make it brief and easily understood by anyone reading it.
A goal that states "We will increase sales" is not as specific a goal as "We will increase overall sales by 3% per month over the next 12 months." The more specific your goals are, the greater the chance you will succeed.
You should be able to answer the following questions for a specific goal:
The "measurable" in SMART goals points to the ability to measure progress as you seek to achieve your goal. Your goal should be quantifiable, such that you can track its progress through milestones that you set along the way. If you cannot measure your goals, it will be difficult to manage them.
Here are some examples of measurable goals:
If you can answer the following question, your goal is measurable: How will I know when the goal is accomplished?
An attainable goal is realistic. It is good to set ambitious goals, but they must be attainable. An attainable goal is one for which you have the required skills, knowledge, and resources available.
It is important to understand that while your goal must be attainable, it must also be challenging. It is easy to meet goals that offer no challenge, but the point of setting a goal is to learn something or to gain something in the process of meeting that goal.
You should be able to answer the following question to determine if a goal is attainable.
When setting goals in a business setting, they must be relevant to the industry and to your job responsibilities. A relevant goal is consistent with your other goals and plans for what you want to achieve in in the business. Relevant goals in business also track back to the mission of the company, reflecting the values presented there.
You should be able to answer "Yes" to the following questions about a relevant goal:
A goal needs to have a target date that you want to achieve it by. Without a deadline for your goal, you will not be able to measure progress and you might push it off in order to do other "not so important" tasks.
When setting the target date for your goal, it is a good idea to:
Use the following questions to check if your goal is time bound. If you can't answer these questions, it probably isn't.
In this exercise, you will answer the following questions about SMART goals.
After developing SMART goals, the next step is to take action. Taking action is what makes a goal a reality. Acting on goals requires planning, executing, and monitoring the progress toward those goals.
Fortunately, there are many tools to choose from that can help you in planning and tracking your goals. Some are:
We will not go into details of the pros and cons of the different tools available. However, let's discuss some basic features you should look for in the tool you choose.
|Planning||The tool you choose should let you write down the steps or subgoals that you need to achieve in order to accomplish your main goal. Any goal that takes a couple weeks or more to accomplish should be broken down into subgoals. These are milestones on your journey toward your goal. The tool of your choice should allow you to schedule these milestones and the date or time by when you want to achieve them.|
|Tracking||If you cannot track your progress toward your goal, you won't know when you might be going off track in your journey. Successfully completing different milestones is also a great motivator. Your tool should provide a means to check off milestones as you complete them and to know if you are on schedule. Without this feature, you might start lagging behind and not even know it.|
|Ease of Use||Whether you use a paper-based tool, an online application, or a smartphone app, it should be easy to use and access. For some, a simple diary with a yearly calendar can be more effective than a software application that's loaded with features but has a complicated user interface. Others might prefer to manage all their goals by smartphone apps. The idea is to find what suits you. You might want to experiment with some tools until you find what works best for you.|
In this exercise, you will answer the following questions about using tools for goal setting.