By and large, Americans are hard workers. As a culture, we believe in maxims such as “put your shoulder to the grindstone.” Quotes from illustrious authors include such work-related thoughts as, “Nothing will work unless you do.” (Maya Angelou) And “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” (Vincent Lombardi). But our NYC Professional Organizer points out that it’s one thing to work hard, and another thing entirely to work SMART.
Almost everyone has had the experience at one time or another of feeling like they are running in place. The harder they try to reach for the finish line, the farther away it appears. If you’ve experienced that, you surely remember how hard you worked. But the issue is not whether you were working hard, but whether you were working SMART. Let’s take a look at what that means:
Our NYC Professional Organizer explains that working SMART means setting up simple and effective strategies for getting the results you want, with more flow and less anxiety, and most importantly, more success! The 5 basic principles to working SMART are to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Here’s how:
1. Specific: When setting up goals, make sure that you know what end result you want. Clearly define your goal in terms of WHAT you want to achieve, WHY it is important, and HOW you plan to achieve it. You have to know where home plate is if you want to throw a strike.
2. Measurable: Track your progress towards your goal with measurable criteria. Write down several milestones that you have to reach to get where you need to go. Evaluate your efforts regularly to make sure that you are moving steadily towards your objective.
3. Attainable: It important to set goals that will challenge you and give you an opportunity to grow and learn. At the same time, our NYC Professional Organizer stresses that you want to be able to deliver the results at the end of the process. Try to strike a balance between stretching out of your comfort zone a bit and using the tried-and-true strategies that have worked for you before.
4. Relevant: In order to commit to a goal, and work towards it steadily, it has to be important to you. It has to make sense in terms of your immediate and future plans. Decide how your goal and your strategy for achieving it fits into your life, and make sure to remind yourself whenever your inspiration lags a bit.
5. Timely: Consider realistically how much time you need for achieving your goal, then plan how you will work incrementally during that time frame. Breaking the task down is important. When the goal feels like one huge undertaking, procrastination is more tempting, and then the goal feels unreachable. Stay on track with your schedule, and you will get there!
These SMART principles can be used to achieve goals both large and small, from cleaning out your desk drawers to getting ready to apply for a new job. Make it a habit to work SMART!