SMART Goals: What They Are and How to Write Them

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Photo by Markus Winkler

Goal setting is challenging for most people.

Using a goal-setting method can decrease the chances of continually experiencing failure. For example, crafting goals according to the SMART method increases the likelihood of personal and professional goals succeeding.

If you’re going to make a real impact for yourself, your team and your company as a whole, this outline is for you on how to write SMART goals so that you can start increasing your performance at work.

What Are SMART Goals?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

The idea is that these five characteristics define every goal set by your team. If something as simple as writing your goals down will increase your chances of success tenfold, imagine the potential success level from actually creating a goal plan. You want to define a goal as much as possible increases the chances of attaining that goal. On the other hand, if a goal is vague or abstract, it’s easier to veer off the tracks and never see the goal through to completion.

How to Write SMART Goals for Your Work

1. Specific

  • Who is involved? Is it just a goal relating to you, or the rest of your team or your company as a whole?
  • What exactly is involved in the goal? Is it related to your line of work or someone else’s?
  • Where is this goal going to take place? Is it something you will work on outside of the office? Or will you be completing it with your team during regular business hours?
  • When will you start working on this goal? Will you start to work on it next week? Or is it contingent on X being completed first?
  • Why are you completing this goal? Does it relate to your main objective or your company’s? Will it help improve your career goals?

2. Measurable

  • What unit are you going to use to measure your progress?
  • Will you measure your progress against a teammate’s?
  • Will you use a range for measuring your progress, rather than a specific number?

3. Attainable

  • Is this goal too challenging for you to attain?
  • Alternatively, is this goal too easy for you, and does it need to be assigned to someone at a lower level?
  • Is the goal within your skillset, or does it need to be delegated?

4. Relevant

  • Is the goal relevant to your final objective or to the objectives of your team?
  • Does this goal better suit someone else on your team with a specific skill set?
  • Will this goal help you grow as an employee?
  • Does the goal relate to your other work?

5. Time-bound

  • When do you ideally want this goal to be completed?
  • Does this goal’s deadline impact other deadlines?
  • Will you need to time block to work on the goal’s tasks?
  • Does the deadline allow for enough time to complete the goal?
  • Will the due date extend beyond your time at the company? If so, should you pass on the task to someone else on your team?

SMART goals are the simplest way for your team to achieve goals. While the method is by no means foolproof, it is preferable to setting empty goals without direction, timeframe or measurables. Plus, SMART is a simple acronym that is easy to remember and can be applied to other areas of your life outside of the workplace. Now that you are familiar with SMART goals and you know which questions to ask to start writing them, you can move forward with your team to put the above information into practice.

SMART goals will help your team succeed. But if you want to take your team’s success to the next level, time tracking software can help you keep track of everything your team does — from meetings to report writing. You can apply this knowledge to measure the progress of your SMART goal. All team members can benefit from using actiTIME to track all their goal-related tasks.

Originally published at

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