Getting SMART about it.

Suddenly the business is very busy. And so too is every other part of my life – although maybe it’s always like that, and it just seems busier because my attention is elsewhere. There is more washing in piles than in drawers, and these piles catch my eye like I imagine the flashing beacons in submarines catch the eyes of the crew rushing to buckle themselves in before the vessel dives. I ignore them with the same practice of those submariners: I’ve registered their signal, I know what it means, and I’m responding by doing what needs to be done. And that’s not washing. Not right now, anyway.


How did things go from being so slow to so fast? I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is that I asked for it. I wrote it down, I pictured what it would look like, I told people what I was interested in, and I spoke out loud about my hopes for the future. I’ve been doing most of these things since lockdown, when I started practicing the Miracle Morning routine with The Happy Wee Health Club - I’ve written about this before, so you might know something about the meditation, affirmation, visualisation, reading and gratitude practice I follow every morning. I don’t know if things would be going the same way if I wasn’t doing these things, and I’m sure that there are other paths to success, but they have helped me with clarity and focus, and I do like starting every day with a list.


There is, however, only so much wishing, hoping, talking and imagining that you can do before you have to start working, and to start working I use SMART goal setting – because, as they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish, and we all have plenty of those. When things are super busy, as they are now, I also use SMART goals to break down what needs to be done into manageable tasks – goals don’t have to be huge and life changing: just getting to lunch time can often require the same amount of focus and forward planning.


There’s a huge amount written about SMART goal setting online, but here’s a quick introduction.


SMART is an acronym for:


Specific


Measurable


Achievable


Relevant


Time-bound


What does this mean? Well, when you set a goal, it should be clear and precise – you can’t focus on something that is vague and inconsistent, it needs to be specific. You could ask yourself What it is that you want to accomplish; why it is important; who is involved; where you will be working; and what resources you might need. You then need to be able to quantify your success – measure it – to know when you have achieved your goal. Your goal also needs to be within the realm of possibility. For me, having a money-making business is an achievable goal, but piloting a submarine isn’t. Realistically. Goals need to mean something to you in the life you’re living and align with and contribute to your overall aims; they need to be relevant to you (and maybe also your family). Finally, goals should have a defined beginning and end, so set a deadline and give yourself a time frame.


I find this helpful because plotting it out makes me consider a goal all the way through, and this makes planning easier. And, for me, this planning makes achieving the final goal a more flexible process. And I need to be flexible, if I’m ever going to be able to get any washing put away So, I’ve got the washing on my to-do list, and it always gets done, in time, and the beacon stops flashing and eventually the manoeuvre is completed. To be started again, tomorrow.




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