Working hard is so overrated! Whether you’re left twiddling your thumbs and staring into the void at the end of an 8-hour office shift or you find that your inefficient workflow means there’s never enough hours to get it all done, the conventional working day is the enemy of productivity for many people.
Everyone knows that working SMART is where it’s at! However, sometimes that’s easier said than done, and optimizing the way you communicate, collaborate, and create can be a job in itself. Luckily for you though, there’s plenty of ways to boost your productivity—and working with SMART methodology and goal setting is just one of them!
SMART methodology has been around for almost 40 years and is still going strong. Its aim is to take ungainly concepts or projects and turn them into small, grounded, actionable goals—so you can stop staring at the walls in despair and start getting things done!
The term first cropped up in a 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran but traces its roots to Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives (MBO) concept way back in the ‘50s. However, while its first application was probably tapped out on typewriters and telegraphs, thanks to the constant march of progress, technology makes implementing SMART methodology easier than ever!
What is SMART methodology?
SMART methodology revolves around creating aims which follow five clear points, one for each letter of the acronym. When combined, they form an achievable goal that helps you to identify where to go next. These five points are:
The first point to consider in SMART methodology is how you can make a pie-in-the-sky idea more specific. This means moving from big, general concepts to target a precise area to work on. As opposed to saying; “design branding for new product launch”, you break it down into smaller goals, the first of which might be “complete and send logos for new product launch.”
How can you achieve your goals if you don’t know when you’ve completed them? Make your aims quantifiable, such as having milestones to work through (like marking them open, in progress, and complete or using other specific metrics). For example, we could add to our aim by saying “complete and send three logo designs for new product launch.”
Here you will have to do some thinking! You’ve set your goal, but is it realistically achievable? Or will it just be too big, leaving you to the dread of procrastination, loss of motivation and death of your flow. Assessing whether something is attainable doesn’t mean giving up on big ideas, but rather breaking them down into smaller SMART productivity goals to achieve anything you put your mind to!
Is your goal connected to the relevant project, person and broader SMART goal? Take the time to ensure that this goal is needed and then make a point to direct It to the right person at the right time. Thinking again about that product launch, we can now say “complete and send three logo designs to the product manager”, ensuring your hard work gets to the right person!
Deadlines may scare you, but they also push you to get things done. Having each of your SMART productivity goals time-bound makes them more actionable, easier to manage and more likely to be completed. Set yourself a date by which to achieve each goal. By adding a point in time or deadline to our example, we end up with a completed SMART goal: “Complete and send three logo designs to the product manager by next Wednesday.”
Spike – Bringing SMART Methodology into the 21st Century
So, how do you go about integrating SMART goal methodology into your everyday life? Technology now makes it simpler than ever, so you can focus on actually getting the work done, and Spike has all the tools you need to create, track and achieve your SMART goals all in one place.
With Spike, you can create a shared, To-Do lists for specific tasks, ensuring you and your colleagues aren’t overwhelmed by the broader project. By breaking down larger projects this way, you are able to stay on top of multiple SMART goals at the same time.
However, it’s not only about being able to move from completed task to completed task, but also being able to measure your progress. Spike Tasks lets you track the status of a specific task with progress marking right in your Inbox—from Open to In Progress to Done (with an option for Stuck just in case!).
You now need to discover if your proposed goal is attainable. How does it fit into the bigger picture? Does it clash with other projects, goals and engagements? Spike keeps all your work and personal management in one place, so you can quickly and simply see tasks, invitations, commitments and, of course, your social calendar!
Sorting your Inbox by contact, Spike ensures that you can quickly and efficiently get your work to the relevant person. Added to this is the practical and easy to use File Manager that allows you to call up tasks, emails, documents and more with a simple keyword or using your contacts name or email address.
Scheduling your goals can get messy, but with the Spike Calendar this can now be done without switching between multiple apps and platforms. This allows you to see all your SMART goals, and how they relate to other important aspects of your business and personal life, in one place. Create your own deadlines and make sure you never waste time again.
A SMART Methodology Example Using Spike
Let’s take a look at our SMART methodology example from earlier and break down how you can optimize your workflow using Spike:
“Complete and send three logo designs to the product manager by next Wednesday.”
- “Complete and send” = A very specific aim that can’t be misinterpreted or confused. Using Spike, you can send the different logo designs instantly in your shared chat, and they’ll be previewed directly within your managers Inbox. Here, you can discuss any changes that need to be made before sending the final version.
- “Three designs” = A measurable aim that can be broken down into different SMART tasks (one per design using Spike’s To-Do lists) and then taken step-by-step from Open to In Progress to Done as you move through each design using Spike Tasks. Of course, three is more than attainable with your boundless creativity!
- “Product manager” = Send the relevant work to the relevant person so you know what you’re doing, why, and who it’s going to. With messages grouped by person rather than spread across your Inbox, you don’t have to worry about sending it in the wrong thread or to the wrong people—get your work to the right person on time, every time and then follow up easily.
- “next Wednesday” = Timely! You know exactly when it needs to be sent so you can get going. Spike’s integrated calendar keeps you on track, and you can also get Tasks and Notes to pop back up to the top of your Inbox at a time of your choosing. And if you get the designs done early? Well, just schedule an email to send them on Wednesday and take a few days off!
With powerful, integrated tools at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to work SMART and not hard. Spike is reimagining productivity for the 21st century, and by using the app in tandem with the SMART productivity methodology you can stay on top of your goals and achieve all of your aims.
Keep up to date with how Spike is modernizing productivity on the Spike blog or drop us a Tweet @SpikeNowHQ to tell us about how you’re using SMART methodology to boost your personal and professional productivity.