Many of us have identified goals for both our professional and personal lives which include organizing our home office and papers. However, unless we have a clear focus on what we hope to achieve, success may be out of reach. As summer comes to a close, it is the perfect time to give thought to getting organized. This could include home office organizing by de-cluttering it, paper organizing, creating a new filing system so you can work more effectively, or setting up new procedures that will improve productivity.
ARE YOUR GOALS SMART…
1. Specific – Being specific in establishing your goals helps to ensure that they’re clearly defined and that you know what’s needed to achieve success. Specific goals address the What, Why and How of your goal: WHAT are you going to do? WHY is this important to you? HOW are you going to do it?
Example: I will finish each work day with a clean desk – papers organized, files returned to cabinets and mail opened and sorted – so I can start each morning without yesterday’s tasks hanging over me.
2. Measurable – Determine the criteria for measuring your progress. You can set targets along the way to your ultimate goal so that you can easily evaluate the results.
Example: If your goal was to get your papers organized, assign a specific day of the week for filing all paperwork that has accumulated in your to-file tray. An empty tray on Friday would spell success.
3. Attainable – You want to set goals that will make you stretch and provide an opportunity to learn but at the same time are achievable. You will have to work time into your daily schedule to focus on them.
Example: Tackle paper organizing one drawer at a time, as opposed to the entire filing cabinet. Set aside time each day….maybe as little as 15-30 minutes…until the drawer is done. Take it one drawer at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and can attain your goal in a timely manner.
4. Relevant – A goal must be relevant to make it something you are willing and able to work toward and must make sense in terms of your immediate and future plans.
Example: If your objective is to have your home office painted in the fall and it is extremely cluttered, making plans during the summer to tackle organizing your home office would be essential to having the space ready for painting.
5. Timely – It’s important to set time frames for achieving your goals, or you have little motivation to get started – there’s always tomorrow. Having a good sense of the true amount of time needed to complete the tasks related to each goal is key.
Example: By March 1, I will have all paperwork organized for my accountant to start preparing tax returns.
By establishing goals composed of these five essential elements, your chances of meeting – and possibly exceeding – your goal(s) has exponentially increased. Give it a try!