How to be more Effective… Get SMART!


I’m sure that none of you woke up this morning, or any morning with the idea of how can I be ineffective today. How can I be unsuccessful, unproductive, inadequate, useless, insignificant? Has that ever been a goal of yours? Of course not! The truth is if we do not possess certain qualities, and if they do not increase then this is exactly what we will be, ineffective.

In sports, you know what the reward is for being effective? It’s more playing time, it’s more opportunity to be effective, to add value and give your team the best chance to win.

Do you also know what your reward is in sports for being ineffective? No playing time, a great view from the bench, watching other get to do what you want to do but can’t because you are a liability, you weaken the team’s chances of winning because you are ineffective. I don’t want to see you on the bench, you need to be in the game.

If you want to be effective, at home, at work, at the gym, at school, at church, in your community, then you need to develop a routine. This year is winding down, we are preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are looking forward to a New Year, a fresh start to have new goals and accomplish new things.

Let me tell you what I have learned accomplishing the same old is easy, accomplishing something new doesn’t happen by chance or luck it takes intentionally it take a new routine.

Developing a Routine will keep us from being Ineffective.

Do you know what it feels like to be ineffective? Ineffective as a husband, as a wife, as a father, as a mother, as a friend, as a boss, as an employee? I do. It doesn’t feel good.
I have watched as people got the promotion I wanted, took the actions I dreamed of taking, had the family life I wished for. I had to make a choice, to make excuses or make changes.

I had to realize that nobody was keeping me from achieving the things that I wanted but me and my lack of discipline, my lack of developing a routine that would allow me to go from being ineffective to effective.

Failure to develop a routine causes us to rely on Luck.

When we don’t plan we plan to fail. When we fail to develop a routine, a repeatable system that is pushing toward the desired outcome, then we are essentially just hoping we get lucky. I can’t tell you how many times I would sit down to have my annual review just wishing, hoping, praying, that I would get a raise.

Here’s the thing I had done nothing to set myself up to be worthy of getting a raise. What I have learned over the years is not to rely on good luck in my marriage, with raising my 3 boys, with my career. Instead to developing a routine, a system that will get me to where I want to go.

Your routine needs to be SMART!

Obviously, you don’t want to start a dumb routine, that is not what I mean by smart. I am referring to SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

As you look to create a routine to get out of debt, go back to school, improve your marriage, apply for a promotion or whatever you need to be SMART about it.

Must Be Specific. What do you want to accomplish? Asking yourself this question is harder than it sounds because we tend to be vague and you need to be specific. Why do you want to accomplish this thing? Why is it important for you to accomplish it. Be Specific.

Must Be Measurable. If you can’t measure it you can’t see progress. If you can’t see the progress you have no idea if you are getting anywhere or just wasting your time. As you set up your SMART routine try your best to make it measurable. We love to win, and you can’t win if you don’t keep score.

Must Be Attainable. You can be specific, you can make it measurable, but if your routine is just not attainable then it is not going to work. If you need a degree to get a promotion, then going back to school could be a new routine you add to your life. Completing a degree in 3 months is probably not going to be attainable.

I have seen so many people come to the place where they want to make some huge changes in their life and this is great, but they set themselves up for failure because the routine they try to follow does point them in the direction they want to go, it is just not attainable. This cause frustration, fatigue, burnout, and failure. Set up a routine that you can do.

Must Be Relevant. Plain and simple is the juice with the squeeze? If the answer is no then no amount of planning will keep you motivated when life happens. If the routine is leading you to something that does not really seem relevant then you are wasting your time and you need to go back to step one and get specific again.

Think New Year’s resolutions and their success rate. It’s not good!

Must Be Time-Bound. This is the key, setting dates motivates us to action. Having goals with no end lets us off the hook. I don’t know about you but I am my worst accountability partner, I give myself way to much grace and except all my lame excuses. Guess what dates don’t care that you had a bad day, or stayed out too late the date is the date.

Start off simple. What do I need to do today, what do I need to do over the next 2 weeks, what do I need to do over the next 6 weeks, the next 6 months. Putting time as the guard rails to your routine will keep you motivated and focused.
I wanted to take a big step in my career and I knew I was going to need a new routine and some SMART goals. So it wrote out my goals, the steps I need to take, the time it would take me, and then I spoke to my boss about my career development.

I explained to him my goals, my plan, and where I wanted this next year to take me professionally. He asked me what I needed to make this happen. I told him I needed to use one of my workdays, Wednesday, to be a part of a leadership cohort from 8am-2pm. In addition, I would need 2 weeks to travel for some onsite intensives.

Guess what? My boss didn’t say no! He was thrilled that I came to him with ideas on my career development. Take the time over these next few months to get your routine figured out. Align your routine with SMART goals, and watch how 2018 become your best year yet!

1 last thing! Here is a link for a template to set up your SMART goals.


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