Smart Goals, How I set up and use Smart Weekly Goals

I’m normally a goal oriented person.  I like to get things written down and planned out in order to show myself how I’m going to move forward with whatever tasks are on my plate.  And like a lot of people I know I lean towards setting more goals than is possible to achieve in my normal day.

In order to combat this “SuperWoman” mentality of I-can-do-everything-and-never-burnout I started tracking my goals in a weekly tracking system.  The aim was to restrict my goal setting to 1 page for the week and it had to include everything that needed doing in that week.

As time progressed I also found that my goals needed to be SMART Goals.

You may be asking What do you mean by SMART Goals?

SMART Goals is an acronym that I use to guide my goal setting.  I’m not 100% sure where I first came across it but I’m told the concept is often attributed to the author Peter F. Drucker in The Practice of Management book  but as I haven’t read that book I doubt that’s where I heard of it.

SMART Goals are:

A quick search online will show you that there can be many different ways to interpret SMART Goals, I’ve listed the ones below the way that I use them.  However, if you are trying this method out for the first time the words in the brackets are things others have used or I have used in the past to qualify a SMART Goal.

Specific (simple, sensible, significant)

Meaningful (measurable, motivating)

Achievable (agreed, attainable)

Realistic (reasonable, relevant, and resources, results-based)

Time-sensitive (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-bound)

I’m sure that there could be other definitions/words that work as well so feel free to play with it.

Snap Shot of Charissa's Weekly Planning journal.
Photo by Charissa L. Finch

How I use SMART Goals

so when I’m laying out my weekly goals I break them down into a couple of categories, Home, Work, and Blog. This helps me know where I can focus at any given point in my regular day.

Specific, it can be hard to elaborate on something like basic chores when it comes to being specific.  But if you have things like “Sweep the floor” you could specify the room etc.  For me I tend to “specify” the number of times this week I want to do something.  (See the # of little boxes to the left of the task)

Measurable/Meaningful – Depending on what we are talking about here I often use measurable, but when working out the big goals I’ll focus on the Meaningful.  For weekly stuff, though it’s usually measurable.  For instance, I do Group Board Applications on Pinterest daily, the little boxes beside that checkbox tell me I’ve done at least 5 that day.

Achievable – Not everything that ends up on my planning throughout the week is actually achievable by the end of the week.  However, when setting it up I always only put things I think I can get done on my lists.  Otherwise, it looks too long and I get overwhelmed and just give up on getting any of it done.  The items that I think of during the week that I know I won’t get to this week get an indicator that means “Move me to somewhere else”, and there is another way I indicate that I’ve moved it after that has been done.

Realistic – I think most people know that your goals need to be something you actually could do.  There is no point in working towards something if it’s not possible to do.  For instance, I could put down a goal that some big celebrity would call me this week.  But let’s be realistic here, I’ve never met a celebrity and I highly doubt they would remember me even if I had.  So expecting a call is unrealistic and not worth writing down.  Making meals for my family and ensuring that we eat, yes, that I can do.

Time Sensitive – All these items are time sensitive in that they need to be completed this week or are at least assigned to this week so the bigger picture of my big goals can be completed by that deadline.

The Categories

Home goals

Typically these include things like cleaning that needs doing, weekly chores, making meals etc. They show up on my page like checkboxes. While they may not be set for a specific day they are all due by the end of Saturday (time). The tasks are specified by item, for instance, I do an average of 2 loads of laundry every week for our family. This gets listed as 2 checkboxes stacked on top of each other & the word laundry written beside it. I do a load of dishes in the dishwasher at least 4 times a week so that is 4 boxes with the word dishes beside it. Sometimes I’ll also list meals I’ve planned or keep a running grocery list beside here too, but not very often. Occasionally I’ll need to pick up a gift or do some kind of shopping, that gets listed here as well. And bills that need to be paid.

Work goals

These are the tasks that get assigned to me by my boss. By day I’m an executive assistant so it can include things like phone calls, reports that need doing etc. Sometimes it’s also the breakdown of smaller steps in bigger projects. Like a report, I’m working on that shows time worked by the department. Right now that’s broken down into “running raw data report” and entry by month… as the information is not in an easy to access spot & needs to be put into a spreadsheet so it can be analyzed.

Blog goals

As I build this blog from scratch I have a number of big goals in mind. But the biggest goal is to provide useful, engaging content that helps other people in their journey back to themselves.

Based on the SMART Goals, that is pretty specific, but it’s also subjective. And being relatively unmeasurable, and not time sensitive. It’s not really something I can put in my weekly goals.

I can, however, set out action items that help me build towards that goal. Like how many posts (and the topic they are about) and related tasks. Or products and services that I need to look into for reviews or just to help me manage the blog.

Photo by Charissa of her weekly planning & goal setting pages
Photo by Charissa L. Finch

Days of the Week

On the opposite side of the page, you’ll see the Days of the week with a set of 8 boxes to the left.  The Boxes are my water trackers, and the days of the week let me see my schedule at a glance.  The lines with the days of the week are highlighted to help me differentiate between them more easily.  Also, the space to the right of the name of the day is where I record my morning gratitude. 😉 and a word of the day if I have one.

Now to be fair I don’t record everything, for instance, I work an 8 to 5 job Monday to Friday so I don’t tend to record that in my planning.  Also, habits that are already ingrained to the degree that I do them without thinking also not included.

But if I’m working to develop a new habit or working on goals they go on this page for the week.

I do use this book for more than just my weekly planning/goals.  like journaling, planning out months and years of goals and big projects.  And I work through problems and take random notes in it as well.  This thing goes with me everywhere.  I fill one up on average every 6 months to a year.  In other posts, I’ll go over some of the other ways I use it, but in the meantime why don’t you let me know what your weekly goals are like?  Do you have a way of planning them out and tracking if you are meeting them or not?