By Ellen Bari
Spring has officially sprung and with that comes spring cleaning, which though inevitable, is still daunting for many of us. Endless closets need cleaning out, winter wardrobes need to be switched over and a general collection of winter clutter needs to be expunged. At times the task is overwhelming as it seems like the minute you begin to see progress in one area, it dynamically leads to another unexpected, but totally pressing, clean-up project in another.
As all of us ‘hybrid’ moms keep amassing great skills at work and at home, we have to become more adept at adopting best practices from work and bringing them home and vice versa. In Motherhood is the New MBA, Shari Storm reminds moms to value the skills they have finessed at home, and describes how they translate seamlessly into better management in the office. Whether it’s about understanding how to engage coworkers on their terms or remembering to behave in a way that assures someone that they matter, the ‘people’ skills you use with your kids, work very well with adults in the office.
In this case, I was thinking of reversing the flow, and taking a system for setting goals that is very much in vogue in the workplace and using it to get things done more efficiently at home. S.M.A.R.T. is a simple acronym for defining goals that meet the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Accurate-Achievable, Relevant -Realistic and Timebound. By using these to describe the tasks at hand, it is likely that you will not only achieve your goals, but will also feel generally more satisfied with your accomplishments.
Imagine that your house is crying out for a spring overhaul. By applying SMART goals, you will be able to define the overall project, piece by piece. Let’s say you decide to start with the home office, believing that if it were cleaned up, you would be much more efficient at home generally. First assign a particular weekend for this job. Then, divide the weekend and project into chunks. You will not only feel a greater sense of satisfaction, but you will probably also be able to build in breaks and opportunities to reward yourself along the way for a job well done.
For example, choose a Specific part of the office, maybe your desk, or the filing cabinet as the first task. Now set a goal that is Measurable, like removing all unnecessary files from before the year 2,000. To make this task Achievable, allow yourself to keep up to ten files from before that year, acknowledging that it may be hard to part with some things for sentimental reasons. In order for this project to be Relevant or Realistic, pick up a paper shredder before the weekend, if you don’t already have one, so the task does not lead to a whole different set of storage problems, like what to do with all the extra paper that contains information that you still consider sensitive. Finally, assign a certain number of hours you will devote to each piece of this project, making each task Timebound, i.e. finish the filing cabinet in the morning, work on the desk top in the afternoon, the supplies cabinet that evening. By the end of the first day, you will feel great, and energized by the fact that you have actually accomplished what you set out to do.
Once you get the hang of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, it will start to feel like second nature, and you may even begin using them with your kids. Who knows, you all might end up a little happier, less worn out for wear and, well….even feeling a little smarter.