As freelancers, our time is our most valuable asset. The more clients we can serve in a given time, the more we can earn our goals. But these goals are not so easy to get. There are times when we set goals but fail to get them. And it’s frustrating!
But worry not. If other people can hit their goals, you can too! You just have to be SMART! Yes, that capitalization is intentional. This is how to make your goals SMART!
What are SMART Goals?
In November 1981, George T. Doran, the consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, created the acronym SMART in his paper “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” to help people set meaningful goals. SMART means:
If you say, “My goal is to be productive today.” What do you want to be productive about? Is it in your work? Your dishes? Your mobile game?! You need to make your goals as specific as possible to focus on it.
Anything you don’t measure, you don’t improve. And we need to know if we are progressing in our goals. Like in fitness, you measure your progress by using a weighing scale.
So if your goal is to earn this much money in your writing career, estimate how many articles you should finish per month. If it’s graphic design, check how many clients you shold be talking to.
If you check your statistics and you are far from hitting the goal, you can readjust your course and strategies to hit it. And you wouldn’t have known if you haven’t been measuring.
“People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in five or ten years.” This famous adage is applicable more than ever.
People try to set audacious goals and feel bad when they don’t hit it. Lose 100 kg this year. Earn 1 Million this year. And with constant defeat, it kills us inside one failed goal at a time.
This has to change! What you can do is set actionable goals. Try using the “MTO method.”
MTO means “Minimum, Target, Outrageous.” For example, in a month, you need 30 articles to reach your desired income. You can set an MTO goal like
- 20 Minimum
- 30 Target
- 50 Outrageous
In this way, if you hit your minimum, you won’t feel bad that you’re not reaching your goals. And just in case you hit your target, you won’t be complacent and might try to target the outrageous one.
Next is to make your goals relevant. If your target is earning an X amount of money in writing, you might not want to study graphic design for now. It is a good side goal, but if you are pressed with time, focus on tasks that are relevant to the outcome you want.
Goals are dreams with deadlines. If you remember your high school years, how many times did a teacher assign a project with a deadline at the end of the quarter?
And when did you actually start doing it? Probably 1 week before the end of the quarter. Or for most, the day before the deadline.
Imagine if the project doesn’t have any deadline, you probably won’t make it anymore. That’s why you need a deadline for your goals.
A deadline gives you the urgency to do it. It also gives you the flexibility to plan your strategy well. If you are targeting 30 articles for your freelance writing business, you can plan to make at least 7 – 8 articles per week.
And just in case your plan doesn’t go well, you can adjust accordingly. For example, if by the second week, you just have 10 articles written, you can adjust your strategy to hit your target still.
It’s Not a One Time Process
Now that you can make your SMART goals, remember that it’s not a one time process.
Our goals evolve over time. After every action, you need to reevaluate your goals. And readjust your strategies to reach your goals. Cheers to achieving your freelancing goals this year!