The Importance of SMART Goals

At In Order To Succeed® we help clients succeed. Whether it’s achieving a more organized lifestyle, accomplishing a difficult move, using technology to keep our households on track or editing a wardrobe—it gives us sublime pleasure to help others embrace and achieve an organized life. One of the ways we do this is by working with clients to set themselves up for success rather than failure using measurable goals that meet the benchmarks of appropriate goal setting. We use the metric of SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound. Today we’ll take a look at how to set goals in a way that makes sense and so that clients achieve success over failure every time.

SMART Goals

Acronyms are popular for a reason: they give people a way to remember a more complex idea by giving them a device by which to remember it. This is more than a hip buzzword, though, they are a practice that when applied help businesses, other organizations, and individuals progress at a new pace.

What are SMART goals? A way to check to see if goals are realistic. Let’s say you want to use technology to make your life easier, you might set a New Year’s Resolution of “Use technology more.” Sounds like a great idea for most people, right? The scraps of paper, notes scrawled hither and thither, texts and emails and other electronic communications sent over various platforms easily missed and not close to being efficient—what could be better than streamlining through technology? But how does “use technology more” measure up as a goal when we use a metric like SMART? What does it mean? What can you tell from the goal? SMART is a way to look at your goal to decide whether or not it can help you achieve.

Do You Have Specific Goals?

“I want to use technology more” While it is a goal that specifies an area where you want to accomplish something, it’s vague. Why do you want to use technology more? Are you learning a new program related to your philanthropic ventures? Have your kids gotten frustrated with a voicemail, text, Facebook Messenger AND email reminding them to walk the dog? Be specific in your goal and you’re likely to be more successful. “I want to use technology to run a more efficient household.” Giving your goal a specific reason, even if it seems obvious to you, makes it more than just an item on a to do list. It helps you to set a powerful intention.

Do You Have Measurable Goals?

So, you want to start using apps and other technology. And you want to do it to be more efficient in how you run your household. That’s a good start to your goal. But, technically, you could simply just start using one mode of communication, like texting, and have met your goal. Or, on the other side of the coin, you could start using seven apps that all do the same thing, wasting lots time. People like to see progress and chart changes—think about the popularity of apps that track everything from water intake to steps taken and stairs climbed. By making your goal measurable you accomplish a few things:

  • You put more thought and time into setting the goal, which makes you more invested.
  • You can track your progress which helps you feel successful along the journey rather than just at the end.
  • You are more likely to hold yourself accountable.

Your goal might now look like, “I want to use technology to find one app that will help me run a more efficient household and use only that app for 90 days.”

Are Your Goals Achievable?

An important part of setting better goals is assessing whether or not they are achievable. Like the investment of time in making measurable goals, taking time to assess whether or not goals are achievable is an important step. If you are in the midst of a life-changing event, don’t know how to download apps and sync them across users, or have not spent any time researching good ideas for apps, you’re not going to achieve your goal. If members of your family don’t use smartphones you’re also not going to achieve it. While your SMART goal doesn’t need to change in wording ask yourself if it’s doable — is it possible for every member of your household? Have you built time into your schedule to research apps?

Are Your Goals Realistic?

There’s a difference between “Achievable” and “Realistic” albeit subtle. Anyone can use technology to help their household be more efficient. But should anyone? If your household is attempting to communicate through more “face time” this might not be a realistic goal that helps you overall. When looking at goals make sure they are doable (achievable) and that the outcome meets the needs of your motivation.

What’s Your Time Frame?

Attaching time to a goal might seem like it would only serve to make you nervous but it actually helps empower you along the way. You can’t get efficient in a week using technology. You might, though, be able to get a grasp of whether a particular app works for you and learn its intricacies over 90 days. Using this type of thinking forces you to mindful of many aspects of the SMART goals process including asking if you have measurable goals.

“I want to use technology to find one app that will help me run a more efficient household and use only that app for 90 days.” Does it pass the test? We already know that this goal is specific and measurable. It’s achievable and completely realistic. It has a time frame, too, meaning it meets the criteria.

SMART Goals For All Of Your Goals

This is just one example of how to set measurable goals but let’s look at other areas of our lives.

Traditional Goal: I want a more organized kitchen.

SMART Goal: I’d like to organize my kitchen this weekend so that I have more room to keep it looking its best and so that I can find things I need instead of wasting time going through everything.

Does It Meet The Benchmarks of SMART goals? You’ve been specific that you’re targeting a kitchen in order to live more efficiently and not waste time. You’re going to get it done this weekend. This goal meets the criteria. How will you measure it? When you cook at the end of the weekend!

 

Traditional Goal: I want to use my smartphone more.

SMART GOAL: In the next thirty days I would like to use my phone to help me stay organized instead of scraps of paper that can get lost and look messy.

Does It Meet The Benchmarks of SMART goals? Add this to your list of measurable goals. It is one that sets a specific time limit to achieve something that is possible and for the reason of de cluttering your life. Maybe it’s your first step to going paperless?

By redesigning your goals as SMART and focusing on what can be measured you will achieve your desired results. The consultants of In Order to Succeed® are available to help you develop your plan and set you on the right track, whatever your goals might be, personal or professional!

5 Tips to Help You Get Back to Work

People take breaks from work for all kinds of reasons. Some sip margaritas in the Bahamas for two weeks; others are at home with a new baby, and others may be forced to take time off while they battle a serious illness. Whatever the case, that first day back to work can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

Depending on how long you were gone, you may be coming back to new projects, new coworkers or other unexpected changes. That’s in addition to the transition back into your old routine. If you’ve been practicing organizational strategies such as taming your email inbox, your transition back to work will be much less hectic.

Instead of stressing on your first day back, try some of these techniques for getting back into the work groove.

Do Nothing the Day Before

If you come home from vacation on Sunday night, you won’t be very productive on Monday morning. The same goes if you’re running endless errands the day before. You might want to tie up loose ends before returning to work, but it’s best to take it easy the day before going to work.

You play a different role when you’re away from work: student, caretaker, patient or beach bum. It takes time to get back into the working mindset, and you need that one day to clear your head and make the transition back to employee.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

The first day back will be harder than you might anticipate. Trying to get through it on four hours’ sleep or with a hangover will only make it tougher. Go to bed early so you can return with the right energy and temperament to face the day.

You already know what can happen when you don’t get enough sleep. Those effects can be even more pronounced when you’re going back to a job you haven’t done in a while. Some people need more sleep than others but try to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before going back to work.

Start the Day Early

One reason to get to be early is because you’ll need some extra time to get reacquainted with your office, paperwork, and other workplace issues. Your colleagues will be ready to go once the work day begins, so get in a little early and get caught up.

Just as you’d do warm-ups before working out, give yourself an hour for low-effort activities before everyone else comes in. Check emails, read office memos or just sit at your desk with a cup of coffee. Whatever you do, use the time to get ready for the day ahead.

Take it Slow

Some cars can go from zero to 60 in five seconds. Mentally, it’s a lot harder for people to do this. You won’t have the same stamina as before, especially if you were out because of an illness. Don’t feel like you have to jump in head-first on your first day back.

You’ll have a full plate already, so don’t volunteer to take on additional projects. Focus on small and easy tasks and save larger tasks for another day. Go out for lunch instead of eating at your desk. After a day or two, you’ll be ready to return to your normal hectic pace.

Don’t Do Overtime

It’s not uncommon to work late because you want to get ahead or because the job calls for it. However, constantly working overtime can cause all kinds of health problems. Some of these ripple effects include drugs and alcoholism. Working overtime might be standard practice in your office, but try not to make it a daily habit or you may end up taking the 12 step program to recovery.

Sickness plus overtime equals disaster. The body doesn’t heal as quickly when it’s under stress, so burning the midnight oil won’t make your transition any easier. Even if you can’t stick to a 40-hour work week over the long term, allow yourself to do it when you first go back.

Whether you’re excited to get back to work or dreading the thought, follow the tips above and that first day back won’t seem so overwhelming.

Author: Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. He writes on a variety of topics on his blog, Mashbout. Follow Jesse on Google Plus.

How to Focus on Work

People take breaks from work for all kinds of reasons. Some sip margaritas in the Bahamas for two weeks; others are at home with a new baby, and others may be forced to take time off while they battle a serious illness. Whatever the case, that first day back to work can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

Depending on how long you were gone, you may be coming back to new projects, new coworkers or other unexpected changes. That’s in addition to the transition back into your old routine. If you’ve been practicing organizational strategies such as taming your email inbox, your transition back to work will be much less hectic.

Instead of stressing on your first day back, here is how to focus on work to get yourself back into the work groove.

Do Nothing the Day Before

If you come home from vacation on Sunday night, you won’t be very productive on Monday morning. The same goes if you’re running endless errands the day before. You might want to tie up loose ends before returning to work, but it’s best to take it easy the day before going to work.

You play a different role when you’re away from work: student, caretaker, patient or beach bum. It takes time to get back into the working mindset, and you need that one day to clear your head and make the transition back to employee.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

The first day back will be harder than you might anticipate. Trying to get through it on four hours of sleep or with a hangover will only make it tougher. Go to bed early so you can return with the right energy and temperament to face the day.

You already know what can happen when you don’t get enough sleep. Those effects can be even more pronounced when you’re going back to a job you haven’t done in a while. Some people need more sleep than others, but try to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before going back to work.

Start the Day Early

One reason to get to be early is because you’ll need some extra time to get reacquainted with your office, paperwork and other workplace issues. Your colleagues will be ready to go once the work day begins, so get in a little early and get caught up.

Just as you’d do warm-ups before working out, give yourself an hour for low-effort activities before everyone else comes in. Check emails, read office memos or just sit at your desk with a cup of coffee. Whatever you do, use the time to get ready for the day ahead.

Take it Slow

Some cars can go from zero to 60 in five seconds. Mentally, it’s a lot harder for people to do this. You won’t have the same stamina as before, especially if you were out because of an illness. Don’t feel like you have to jump in head-first on your first day back.

You’ll have a full plate already, so don’t volunteer to take on additional projects. Focus on small and easy tasks and save larger tasks for another day. Go out for lunch instead of eating at your desk. After a day or two, you’ll be ready to return to your normal hectic pace.

Don’t Do Overtime

It’s not uncommon to work late because you want to get ahead or because the job calls for it. However, constantly working overtime can cause all kinds of health problems. Some of these ripple effects include drugs and alcoholism. Working overtime might be standard practice in your office, but try not to make it a daily habit or you may end up taking the 12 step program to recovery.

Sickness plus overtime equals disaster. The body doesn’t heal as quickly when it’s under stress, so burning the midnight oil won’t make your transition any easier. Even if you can’t stick to a 40-hour work week over the long term, allow yourself to do it when you first go back.

Whether you’re excited to get back to work or dreading the thought, follow the tips above and that first day back won’t seem so overwhelming.

Author: Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. He writes on a variety of topics on his blog, Mashbout. Follow Jesse on Google Plus.

Friday Week in Review

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Friday is Week in Review Day: Catch up on all the cool tweets, blog posts, articles of the past week, and email us any organizational news or chatter you think we missed.

Week in Review: 21 March 2010

Home and Business Organizational news and chatter from around the globe.

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Week in Review: 14 March 2010

Home and Business Organizational news and chatter from around the globe.

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“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power” – William James.
Productivity Tip: Start your week right. What’s the plan? How about put aside 1/2 hour tonight and get one before another week gets away.
Do you need a break: “How to Tell When It’s Time to Take a Break” from Freelance Folder.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” – Mark Twain.
How do you connect with people: “Tweet or Meet? How to Choose Your Medium Wisely,” from Harvard Business Review.
Organizing Tip: Invest in clear plastic or glass containers to store leftovers No more searching in every container and no need for a label.
5 Tips for Renting Out Your Home” from In Order to Succeed’s Blog.
Reason to hire a Professional Organizer to help sell your house: “Survey: decluttering is the best thing u can do to increase the value of your home when trying to sell” from Home Gain.
“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate accomplishments”- Napoleon Hill.
Is your To-Do List longer than some short novels? Tame it:”How to Tame Your To-Do List” from Dumb Little Man.
It’s almost time for Spring Cleaning: “The Clean Season: Spring Cleaning Solutions” from Express Night Out.
“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen” – Lee Iacocca.

Week in Review: 28 February 2010

Home and Business Organizational news and chatter from around the globe.

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Six New Year’s Resolutions

4191485585_99932470ab_oHappy 2010. This New Year why not want make resolutions that are not only easy to keep but will improve your productivity, time management, organization and success. Here are six new year’s resolutions to simplify your life:

Stop Multitasking
Take on one thing at a time. Give your family, your friends and your personal and professional issues your full attention.

Tackle Clutter
Begin the organization process with areas that are most visible and/or problematic. Start small and be sure to allow sufficient time for each step in the process (sort, purge, assign a home, containerize, then maintain and equalize regularly).

Aim for Success not Perfection
Any job or project has a point of diminishing returns. Think of time as return on investment. Will the payoff of this task be worth the effort that you’re putting into it? That is the juncture at which additional time or effort spent is not going to significantly affect or enhance the end result. Beware of trying to complete an action step more perfectly than is necessary to satisfy your boss, client or yourself. A job that is done “too” well may require the devotion of time that could be better applied somewhere else.

Learn to Say No
Devote time to your goals. Lessen your commitments in accordance with your big picture life goals and say no to things that do not fit in with those goals.

Recharge Yourself
Give yourself some down time. Schedule it to be sure that you make it happen.

Be Thankful for What You Have

Further Reading
Six Ways To Boost Productivity
15 Productivity Pearls to Create a More Organized Life
Manage Your Actions and You’ll Free Your Time
In Order To Succeed
Photo courtesy of: tourist1000’s photostream.

Week in Review: December 13, 2009

Screen shot 2009-09-24 at 11.03.29 PMHome and Business Organizational news and chatter from around the globe.

Have more organizational news and tips or another cool blog you want to share—email us at info@inordertosucceed.com.

Week in Review 10/18

Screen shot 2009-09-24 at 11.03.29 PMHome and Business Organizational news and chatter from around the globe.

  • Time Management Tips for College Students – How to balance your school work & still have a life ~ “Top 12 Time-Management Tips,” from US News.
  • “With self-discipline most anything is possible.” -Theodore Roosevelt
  • Articles for managing email – http://bit.ly/CHIk5
  • “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” ~B. C. Forbes
  • Great article (interview with Peter Walsh) on how clutter affects our homes, minds, and souls. “Sweat the small (and large) stuff,” from National Post.
  • “The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.” ―Ben Stein
  • “The multitude which does not reduce itself to unity is confusion.” – Blaise Pascal
  • Piles of Paper presenting a problem? http://bit.ly/ciTT0 ~ Check out these solutions from OrganizedAtoZ.com
  • Too Big to Fail — Or Too Complicated to Succeed?” from Harvard Business Publishing.
  • Productivity tip: For managing Google Docs create a “Top Ten” folder to quickly find those that that you use most often
  • “To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Being strategic is appreciating the art of taking a moment to pause, listen, and reassess.
  • “You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.” ~ Ethel Barrymore
  • “Every artist was first an amateur.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The path to prosperity begins with a passionate purpose.
  • A life lacking progress is a life losing significance.
  • Overcoming Procrastination Instantly Using Self Talk,” from Litemind.
  • “Failure is an event, never a person.” – William D. Brown
  • Sports-gift.org gives gently used equipment to needy kids. Donate & Declutter.
  • Organize a landing strip at your front door,” from Complete Organizing Solutions.
  • “If you hit every time, the target is too near or too big.” – Tom Hirshfield

Further Reading

Download a copy of In Order To Succeeds founder and president, Denise Caron-Quinn’s tweets from 11 October 2009-17 October 2009.  You’ll find even more home and business organization news and tips in her tweetbook.