The previous posts defined productivity as being something we’re passionate about getting accomplished.
The next few posts begin to drill down on those high level dream goals and chunk out into actionable chunks. Along the way, we’ll look at quite a few productivity systems.
Goals to Chunks, Milestones and Tasks
The subject of breaking or chunking down goals to sub-goals (or milestones) and tasks is one dealt with through many good online resources, and is dependent on your own time and other resources available. This post isn’t going to go over that, but here are some well known definitions –
Measurable (or Motivational)
Attainable (or Achievable or Actionable or Action Orientated (or Assignable or Accountable)
Realistic (or Relevant or Responsible or Recorded)
Time-bound (or Timely or Timed)
Depending on your definition, the acronym basically reminds us to set goals which are detailed, objectively measurable and have a time frame to act as deadline.
A derivative from SMART is SMARTER where the E and R may stand for Evaluate and Rewards as additional motivational factors.
You get the gist.
SMART Tasks as well as goals
Setting SMART goals is a well-used methodology, and big dreams and missions for the long term are not easily measurable towards success or otherwise in the short term, unless we also apply the same policy to the smaller sub-goals and actions (tasks) we do to ultimately achieve the bigger milestones. But at that point, we learn how easy it is to fail or not achieve our smaller goals,even when we made them SMART.
What are SMART Goals for, anyway?
We all know we should be setting smart goals, yes. But why? How often? And even with goals set smartly, how many of us actually still fail at them all, even with the most passionate of intentions.
We can all spend a lot of painstaking time writing and rewriting goals out until they look positively SMARTer than SMART yet still not succeed at them. So what’s the point?
In one of S.J. Scott’s many kindle books, ‘S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple – 10 Steps to master Your Personal and Career Goals‘, he says –
“I set S.M.A.R.T. goals every three months…Do I achieve all of them? Not at all. Instead, goals help me gain regular insight into what I really want from life and what actions can get me there”.
Goals, Milestones, Habits, Routines and Tasks
Sometimes the terms habit and actions may seem interchangeable. In fact, in the above SMART ebook, it’s all about setting routines and habits to achieve goals.
“The point here is that when you know specific actions can lead to a positive result, it’s often better to focus on the routine instead of the arbitrary goal”.
But tasks and routine habits are different, of course, so a definition is in order (via Michael Hyatt) –
- Goal: “Something you are trying to achieve.” I sometimes use objective, target, or even project as a synonym.
- Milestone: “A significant marker that indicates progress toward a goal.” I sometimes use subgoal as a synonym.
- Habit: “Something a person does often in the same way.” Habits are not usually an end in themselves; they are a way to achieve a goal. I often use rituals, disciplines, or practices as synonyms.
- Tasks: “Actions a person takes that move them toward a goal or milestone.” I often use actions or to-dos as synonyms.
Tomorrow we look at some animal systems for tasks and next week we’ll be looking at focus and action planning.