Whether it’s your work schedule, your personal goals, or just your day-to-day tasks, proper planning can make all the difference.

What is a SMART plan?

A plan that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound allows you to track your progress and keeps you accountable to your goals.

Specific:

Start with the basics. What do you need to accomplish? What are your goals? Once you have a good understanding of what you want to achieve, you can start planning out the steps that will help you get there. An example of a non-specific plan is “I want to lose weight.” A specific plan would be “I want to lose 15 kilograms.”

Measurable:

When it comes to planning, the more specific you can be, the better. This means having a clear idea of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. For instance, if your goal is to save up a certain amount of money, you could measure this by the amount of money you have saved at the end of each month. This will help you to see whether or not you are on track to reach your goal.

Achievable:

When you’re making your plans, it’s important to make sure that they are realistic and achievable. There’s no point in setting yourself up for failure by planning something that you know you can’t do. For example, if your plan is to get a promotion, you will need to make sure that this is something that is achievable within the timeframe that you have set or else it’s more a dream than a plan.

Relevant:

Make sure that your plans are relevant to your goals and objectives. This isn’t to say that you can’t branch out into new areas – like pick up a new hobby that has nothing to do with your work. It’s more that you need to make sure your plan aligns with your overall values and objectives. This simply means finding a reason why this plan is important to your life. If your plan is to write a book simply because you’ve always wanted to, then the relevance is “This plan aligns with my overall life objectives.” The point is that you need a deeper reason to stick to your plan or you won’t.

Time-bound:

Your plan should be time-bound so that you can track your progress. Without a timeline, it’s easy to procrastinate and put off working towards it. 

More tips to plan better:

  • Be realistic about the time you have available. If you try to pack too much into your schedule, you’re likely to end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed. 
  • Make use of technology. There are tons of great planning tools available online and an app for everything on your phone. 
  • Get organised. If your space is cluttered and disorganised, it will be harder for you to focus and be productive.
  • One of the best ways to make sure that you’re always staying on top of your plans is to set aside some time each week to review them. This will help you make any necessary adjustments and ensure that you’re on track.
  • Write it down. This way, you have a physical reminder of what needs to be done and when. You can also refer back to your notes later on to see how well you’ve been doing.

When it comes to being better at planning – don’t work harder, work SMARTer.