Time Management: SMART Goals
Part of good time management involves setting goals. Time management is easier if you know what you’re aiming to do, so you have goals - get that assignment in on time, organise regular study time, set aside leisure time etc.
Why set goals?
- Helps you organise your time
- Helps you think about what's important
- Help remind you of what you need to do
- Provides accountability (you reach goals, or you don't)
- Achieving your goals will help builds confidence and help you to believe in yourself
- Will keep you motivated
SMART goals are better than stupid goals, though the SMART here is an acronym standing for:
- Specific - Define the "who, what, where and why" of your goal, including resources at your disposal and any restrictions that exist.
- Measurable - What are the ways you might measure your success? Define the "how much" or "how many" aspects of your goal. Can you set a number, or have a definite endpoint?
- Achievable - It's nice to set your sights high, but can you achieve them? Set goals you can reach, rather than goals you'd like to reach
- Relevant - Are they worthwhile? Do they match your other efforts and needs?
- Time-bound - They need a start and finish date
SMART is a way for you to think about your goals and how to achieve them by ensuring the goals are clear, focused, and practical.
Here's an example goal:
"I will get fit by running more often for at least 20km so that I'll have a better job one day."
it's not a SMART goal (but getting fit is a good goal to have)
- Getting fit isn't specific
- "more often" isn't measurable
- You're not going to run 20km at a time!
- A better job isn't relevant to this goal
- "One day" isn't a deadline
A SMART goal would look more like
"I will run 5km twice a week to help me lose weight by the end of 2023"
- Running is specific
- Twice a week is measurable
- 5km is achievable
- Losing weight is relevant
- Deadline is end of 2023
- Tell others about your goals - It's easier to hold yourself accountable for your goals if others know about them. Knowing other people are aware of your goals can help motivate you to keep going.
- Be focussed on and flexible with your goals. It you are feeling overwhelmed by a task, break the task into smaller parts, and assign a personal deadline to complete the tasks.
- Reward yourself. Find a way to reward yourself not only when you have accomplished your goals but also when you make progress towards achieving them. Rewarding yourself will encourage you to work hard to achieve your goals and be motivation in setting new goals - you need carrots as well as sticks!
- Remind yourself why you're setting these goals - don't lose track of the bigger picture - why do you have these goals in the first place?
- Assess any possible risks or obstacles - when you set goals, it's good to think about what can go wrong so that you can act in advance to avoid problems and also think about a plan B if you can't avoid them.
Evaluate each goal you do and don't accomplish. Reflect and review your goals - what went well and didn't. What can you learn from things that went wrong? What can you do better next time?
Take some time to ask yourself:
- Why did you set that goal?
- Did you encounter any obstacles? How did you react when you hit the obstacle?
- Did your achieve your goal, or not? Did circumstances change?
- How did you measure your progress towards your goal? How did you know if you achieve it?
Reflecting like this will give you a better on setting, measuring and achieving realistic goals,