Being SMART in setting goals can be really good, but reaching your goals take more than just setting them. You need to carry them out! So when I read an article on how college students can use a SMART acronym to improve their study and practice, my mind started spinning and thinking about how the same version of the SMART acronym can be applied to reaching your business goals.
Strategy – have a plan for the time you’re going to be working on your business. Look over your long term goals and set a plan for how to best spend your time to reach those goals. You might spend this business time creating and scheduling social media posts, setting up workflow, keeping current on research, reading books for certification, blogging, business accounting, or any number of things relating to your business. I have found it useful to end each chunk of business time with creating a list of the next steps so that I am ready to jump in when I can do business work again.
Mindful – Figure out what helps you focus and work your best. If that means having child care, consider hiring someone or trading a few hours a week with another person in a similar situation. When our children were young, my husband and I both had our own businesses, so we each scheduled an evening to leave and go work at the library on business stuff uninterrupted. I had Tuesdays, he had Thursdays. If you work best with music playing on headphones, do that. If silence is what helps you focus, find a quiet place. Get a drink, use the restroom, etc before you get started to minimize interruptions.
Adaptive – You know what they say about best laid plans, right? It’s true, sometimes things will happen that make it hard. It’s important to adapt and keep working on it, rather than scrapping it entirely. If an outbreak of the stomach flu makes you miss your Tuesday business time this week and you’re at a birth the next Tuesday and you spend the next Tuesday at the ER with your child ruling out a broken bone….keep putting it on the calendar. And shift to a different time in the weeks you couldn’t do Tuesday when at all possible.
Reflective – Periodically reevaluate your plan for business time, your long term goals, your organization techniques, and your strategies for marketing. Figure out what is working for you and what is not. Figure out how to play your strengths into a thriving business. Look at your weaknesses and consider how you can shore them up, take a different approach, or hire someone to take those tasks.
Timely – Prioritize time for your business over other things in your life. When you are employed by someone else, you might say “Sorry, I have to work!” to an invitation to a fun event with friends. When you work for yourself, it’s very easy to blow off business time because there’s no boss to make you do it. Part of being your own boss is being the bad guy who makes you work.
Be SMART in planning your goals, but also be SMART in carrying them out! It can take time to get in the habit of carving out time for your business, but with practice you will get better at it and it will become a regular part of your family life.
This article is adapted from the SMART acronym for college student practice by Conred Maddox on Faculty Focus.