How to Improve Productivity with SMART Goals image

How to Improve Productivity with SMART Goals

Staff Squared date icon10th January 2020

Tag iconSmall Business

Big or small, we all have goals that we’d like to reach. Whether it’s to improve on certain skills or reach a particular milestone. But have you ever stopped to think about how achievable or measurable your goals are, or how productive you’re being in your pursuit to meet them?

Goals are great in the sense that they provide a sense of direction, motivation and focus to your life, be it personal or professional. By setting yourself goals, you have something to work towards, and that can only ever be a good thing. 

Having said that, it’s all well and good promising yourself that you will do better at your job, but without having a clear understanding of how you are going measure your progress and, most importantly, get to where you want to be, it can sometimes prove difficult to achieve that target. 

How Productivity is Impacted by Goals

Our productivity can be measured by our success to achieve our goals. Achieving goals quickly, with less investment of time, money and effort, is a great way to tell how productive you are.

How you set your goals will have a large impact on your achievement. If your goals are clear and ensure your focus to your best achievement, your productivity in the achievement of the goals will be much higher.

However, setting goals for yourself might not be as straightforward as you think. Some common mistakes often made by people when setting goals include: 

  • Making your goal difficult to monitor, making it near on impossible to know whether it has been achieved or not.
  • Goals being too general and don’t give a clear enough understanding of why you need to achieve them.
  • Unachievable goals mean that you will put in a lot of work for no gain.
  • Not having a time frame gives a sense of urgency as there is no room to pace yourself and assign achievable milestones towards to end goal.

These types of goals often lead to unproductive efforts, usually resulting in valuable time and money being lost. 

However, all is not lost! By using SMART goals, you can drastically improve the achievability of your goals, saving you time and allowing you to become much more productive. 

What are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. SMART goals adopt off of these criteria to help guide you in your endeavour to set yourself clear and focus driven targets, which will ultimately increase your chances of success in achieving them. 

SMART goals are:

Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous.

Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress towards the accomplishment of the goal.

Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve.

Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose.

Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.

How to Set SMART Goals

SMART Goal – Specific

Goals that are specific have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific, the five “W” questions must be considered:

Who: Who is involved in this goal?

What: What do I want to accomplish?

Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?

When: When do I want to achieve this goal?

Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?

For example, a general goal would be “I want to get in shape.” A more specific goal would be “I want to take out a gym membership at my local leisure centre and work out four days a week to be healthier.”

SMART Goal – Measurable

A SMART goal should have criteria for measuring progress. If there are no criteria, you won’t be able to determine your progress or know if you are on track to reach your goal. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:

  • How many/much?
  • How do I know if I have reached my goal?
  • What is my indicator of progress?

For example, building on the specific goal above: I want to take out a gym membership at my local leisure centre and work out four days a week to be healthier. Every week, I will aim to lose 1lb.

SMART Goal – Achievable

A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help you figure out ways you can realise that goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be stretched to make you feel challenged, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it. You should ask yourself:

  • Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
  • Have others done it successfully before?

SMART Goal – Realistic

A SMART goal must be realistic in that the goal can be realistically achieved given the available resources and time. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. 

You should ask yourself:

  • Is the goal realistic and within reach?
  • Is the goal reachable given the time and resources?
  • Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?

SMART Goal – Timely

A SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time-constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal. You should ask yourself:

  • Does my goal have a deadline?
  • By when do you want to achieve your goal?

For example, building on the goal above: On 1st January 2020, I will take out a gym membership at my local leisure centre and work out four days a week to be healthier. I will work out four days a week. Every week, I will aim to lose 1lb. By the end of June 2020, I will have realized my goal if I lose 4lbs over the course of the month.

Why it’s Important to Set SMART Goals

Individuals or businesses often set themselves up for failure by setting general and unrealistic goals. Telling yourself “I want to be the best at X” will never truly get you to where you want to be because there is no way of telling what it will take for you to be the best at that thing, and there is no way of measuring your progress towards it. This goal is vague with no sense of direction.

SMART goals set you up for success by making it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The SMART method helps push you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals.

Want a way to manage your goals and objectives in a reliable and measurable way? Why not sign up for a trial account of Staff Squared to try our Goals and Objectives management?

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Lead Customer Care Agent - Staff Squared

Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Support Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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