How the ‘ER’ in SMARTER Goals Can Keep You Focused in the Long Run
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I don’t know about you, but I’m always so incredibly happy for summer to get here–specifically for school to get out. The past few years I’ve had all these grand plans for how our family is gonna go do these super fun things, and in between I’ll get the kids to sit down and practice math and reading skills they left off on at school (you know, so they don’t have the summer downfall, or whatever nonsense it is they call it at school.) And then after 2 weeks, reality kicks in. There’s no real structure to summer. Ever.
My struggle was to let it go, and say that’s ok. Because even though I personally need super structure to stay focused on work stuff, the kids need that time off.
At first, it really annoyed me. I didn’t want them to struggle when school started back. But also, it didn’t really give me any time to really put in the hours I needed to work. But then I realized…it was actually a blessing. This literally forces me to cut out the fat, and have specified pockets of time where I do ‘deep work’. And then the rest of the time I can just hang out with the kids and find fun stuff to do.
In designating these pockets I’ve also scheduled in my Half-Year Review, and I start thinking about it before school is even out (because of the initial chaos of the kids being at home in June). I do this by calendar year because my brain works that way, but if yours works differently, by all means–do yours when your fiscal half-year is.
The combination of the Half-Year Review and explaining the E R in SMARTER Goals is really a beautiful intertwining.
Because even though I’ve set my SMART Goals and constantly revisit them, it takes a real purposeful time to sit down and figure out what worked and what didn’t. Seeing where you’ve been and reminding yourself where you’re going helps keep that focus on the things you’ve decided really matter. And that’s what the E and R are for: Evaluate and Readjust. And these two points guide my reviews every time.
If you haven’t read about or started your SMART Goals, check out this post series–it’s a 5 post series that guides you through each letter/step of SMART Goal setting .
My goal reviews typically start with my system where my goals are listed.
Honestly, this changes sometimes, because–although I really appreciate technology–I need something tangible in front of my face. I don’t need to have to search for my phone to pull up the app to sign in to see my goals listed one tiny section at a time. I need the whole shebang right in front of my face where I can see it all and touch it.
So I sometimes use a bunch of papers filled with post-it notes, and sometimes I use my whiteboard. Sometimes I just use a big empty wall space with post-its. (I’d really love a super cool window area like they use at Olivia Pope & Associates on Scandal, but our home sadly doesn’t have giant industrial atrium windows in it…) The point is, you need to figure out what will work best for you. Even though it looks messy sometimes, my husband and the kids know NOT TO TOUCH THE POST-ITS, lest they want the Mommy Monster to come out of her shell. (Like, the bad version, not the fun version that tickles.)
Once you have your system up in front of you, you should go through each goal and evaluate how you’ve been doing the last six months. Is your system working? Are you stuck anywhere? Also determine what you’ve learned: what things should you do more of, and what things should you do less of (or eliminate altogether)? If you’ve got everything set, simply go through -one at a time- your systems and tasks and determine if things are working or not. If they are, great! Keep on keepin’ on! (Please say it in your best Dazed and Confused Matthew McConaughey voice.) If they aren’t, move on to the next step: Readjust.
Ok, I’m not gonna lie–I usually HATE change. But if it’s for a good reason, I’m all for it. In this case, if things are not working out like they should be in your goals, in your systems, or in your efforts at moving forward in any area of your life–by all means, change and READJUST. You can’t grow if you can’t move forward with things. What systems have you not tried yet? What programs? What apps? Do you need to get a fresh perspective? Figure out some way to get through the roadblock and make a new plan. I know this is becoming the new cliche, but if you’re at a loss, Google it. I promise you, you are not alone–others have had the same problems as you!
The best way to do a review is to get it all on paper. See, you’ll be doing more reviews, and it’s so, soooo helpful to have your previous review documented. This helps you see the amount of progress you’ve made. It also helps you see the roadblocks you had before, and how you overcame them. It shows your growth! You can see all the amazing things you’ve done, and how far you’ve come since then! I personally want to save all of mine to show my kids (who are all girls and will hopefully be moms one day, too) how much you can accomplish as a working mom. And isn’t that the point? To be a Wonder Woman and guide your kids to be as great?
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How did your review go? Please let me know, I love hearing from other working Moms (whether WAH or out of the home!) We all inspire each other! And if you know someone who could use this guide, PLEASE SHARE! 🙂