SMART Goals: Time Management Training

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 19, 2020
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Now that you are venturing into the job market, it is time that you come up with some serious goals. Planning what you would like to accomplish with your new position can help you advance your career and personal life.

Many experts recommend that to get ahead in the business world, you will need to create SMART goals for yourself and the company. A SMART goal is a technique used by many small business owners and individuals to save time and energy. This is a tool that helps enhance productivity and increase the chances of positive results.

Let’s face it – there comes a time in everyone’s career where you hit a slump. You can prevent this from happening by creating realistic objectives you can achieve over time. By creating goals, you are opening the door to success. Having a clear target in mind will help you stay focused and sharp, giving you a sense of purpose where others feel lost and wander aimlessly.

Knowing how to set clear, obtainable goals will help you go far not only in your career but also in life.

Read on to learn how to create SMART goals for your future.

What Are SMART Goals?

Before you begin setting goals, the first thing you will need to do is understand the meaning behind a SMART plan. SMART is an acronym that is generally used by individuals and small business owners.

  1. Specific. Be clear about what you want and decide how you are going to accomplish it. Try to start by setting a few goals at a time. Not doing this is only setting yourself up for failure.

    To be more specific, try asking the five W’s: who, what, where, which, and why.

    1. What are my priorities, and what do I want to accomplish?

    2. Who can help me move forward with my plans?

      Job type you want
      Full Time
      Part Time
      Internship
      Temporary
    3. Where can I carry out my projects?

    4. Why do I need to do this?

    5. Which resources can help move the plan forward?

    Example:

    “Moving forward, I will only apply to copy-editing positions.”

  2. Measurable. When you are creating your goals, make sure that they are attainable. This means that you will need to keep a close eye on each goal and track your progress. Settling mile-stones throughout each goal will help keep a realistic timeline and adjust if needed.

    Example:

    “By the end of next month, I will have edited five manuscripts.”

  3. Achievable. You must be realistic with your expectations and set achievable goals for yourself. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. This means determining whether it would be something you can accomplish short term or later on the line.

    Example:

    “Before I begin editing, I will carefully read the manuscript so that I may have a better understanding of the story. Once I finish reading the manuscript, I will begin with some light editing. Finally, I will contact the author and discuss the changes needed for the manuscript.”

  4. Relevant. Make sure that when you are setting your goals, they align with your overall vision. It is essential that when you are creating your goals, each one of them go hand in hand with each other. The last thing you would want is to lose focus on what your projections are for the future.

    Example:

    “To achieve my goal of becoming a well-paid and respected copy-editor, I have decided to take some copy-editing courses and apply to positions at publishing houses.”

  5. Time-bound. Set an exact deadline for your goals and do everything you can to manage them adequately.

    Example:

    “Within a year, I plan to work at a publishing house and edit at least four manuscripts a week.”

Why Should You Be Using SMART Goals?

Using SMART goals not only helps you save time and energy, but it will also create boundaries for you to follow. Having limits will ensure that you hit your mark every time, therefore moving forward in the business world.

Creating SMART goals for yourself will make you more efficient in and outside of the office, increasing your performance and giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Sometimes a person can feel overwhelmed by taking on too much at a time. SMART goals help you break down the big picture into smaller, more attainable objectives, which in turn lightens any unwanted pressure.

How to Make Your Goals Achievable

By using SMART goals, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to accomplish your short-term goals more efficiently.

One way for you to achieve your goals is to choose objectives that you find exciting and inspiring. The chances are that if it is something you like and are passionate about, you will remain motivated to complete each task.

Let others in on your plan. Having other people help you hold yourself accountable for maintaining your goals.

Write down your goals and keep them somewhere you can continuously look at. Nothing can serve you better than a visual reminder of what you want to accomplish. When writing down your goals, do not forget to add a timeline. That way, you can keep better track of each one.

Jotting down your goals makes the commitment more of a reality. This means that you are willing to commit to the objectives and your overall plans.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using The SMART Goal System

Creating a list of goals can be considered very uplifting, positive, and responsible. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs use the SMART goals system to move ahead in the business world.

However, like everything in life, there are pros and cons to this system

  • Pro

    • It grants a clear and specific goal of what an individual or company needs.

    • It holds people accountable for their goals.

    • It gives people a sense of accomplishment and increases performance at work.

    • It brings motivation and focus to your life.

  • Con

    • At times people can feel overwhelmed by not meeting their specific goals.

    • Every task becomes reward-based. Therefore, whenever there is no reward, there is less motivation.

    • Having to adapt and modify your goals can, at times, become frustrating and cause unwanted stress.

    • When you are setting goals for things you do not yet understand, you may bite off more than you can chew. Remember that before you put any timeline on your goals, you understand what they are and how you will need to approach them.

Examples of SMART Goals

Now that you know what SMART goals are and how it benefits you in your career and personal life, here are some examples of how you can apply them to your everyday life.

Example # 1

Objective or overall goal: I want to write a book.

Specific: I want to write a children’s book about a happy dinosaur.
Measurable: I will write 1000 words a day or ten pages per week.
Achievable: I will start researching my book and then begin writing.
Relevant: Finding information on dinosaurs will help my book be accurate.
Time-Bound: My manuscript will be completed within eight months.

SMART Goal: For me to become a well-established author, I will need to write at least 1000 words per day or ten pages per week. Once I have completed my research about dinosaurs, I will be able to integrate it into my book so that it may be more accurate. The book will be completed within eight months and be ready for editing.

Example #2

Objective or overall goal: I want to start my own business.

Specific: I want to sell handmade clothing online.
Measurable: I will set up a webpage and have ten available articles to sell within the first two weeks.
Achievable: Once I set up my webpage, I will begin promoting my product through social media.
Relevant: Selling handmade items online will help me financially so that I may open my store in the future.
Time-Bound: I will have my webpage up and running within two weeks, and I will have at least 20 articles of clothing ready by then.

SMART Goal: Within the first two weeks, I plan to have a website up and running, with at least 20 articles of clothing available. To gain traction for my business, I will also be promoting my products on social media. The overall reason for selling my handmade clothing online is to earn enough revenue to open a storefront.

Final Thoughts

When creating SMART goals, always have an end date in mind. The last thing you want is for your goal to continue indefinitely. Not having an end date only opens the door to procrastination and a decrease in productivity. By not doing this, you will only be setting yourself for failure.

Remember to be clear and realistic when setting your goals. Keep in mind that your ultimate objective is to remain productive and motivated.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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