Time Management SMART Goals: The Complete Guide With Examples

Written by Domantas Vanagas

January 3, 2022

Did you know that if you spent 10-15 minutes planning your day, you would save yourself 2 hours of wasted time and effort?

Exchanging 15 minutes of your time to 2 hours is a good deal. Therefore, it is a pretty good idea to learn proper time management skills. For example, SMART goal technique.

What exactly are SMART goals, and how will they help you manage your time better? In the following sections below, you’ll discover the answers to these questions and some examples to help you.


What Are SMART Goals? 

Time management goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals are described as SMART goals.

Benjamin Franklin has always set specific goals for his day activities and it help him tremendously to be extremely efficient while only working 8 hours per day

When you start or complete a new project, creating a SMART goal allows you to utilize your time and resources efficiently. However, before you make your SMART goals, let’s dive deep into the different functions of the goal.

  • Specific: It’s clear and precise what you want. Your goal is to improve one particular area. 

  • Measurable: You can track your progress toward achieving the goal in a quantifiable manner throughout the goal.

  • Attainable: The goal is achievable. You have the resources and skills necessary to achieve it within a reasonable timeframe.

  • Relevant: Your goal will significantly improve some aspects of your life. It can be a personal or business goal.

  • Time-bound: You set a deadline for when you would like to reach this goal.

Setting SMART goals will save you time and energy in establishing boundaries for your actions. Setting your goals for your career and personal life can also help you stay focused and avoid distractions.

man working and looking at papers with goals

When taking on too much at once, a person can feel overwhelmed. By breaking the big picture down into smaller, more manageable, specific tasks you can lower your stress.

SMART Goals Time Management Benefits 

There are several reasons why SMART goals can be beneficial for time management. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Monitoring your progress through a project
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • Avoiding procrastination by learning strategies
  • It holds you accountable for reaching your goals
  • Setting goals brings a sense of achievement and accomplishment

A study shows that SMART time management goals enable students to learn more in college. Apparently, students who used SMART goals technique could better focus and procrastinate less. 

student learning in a college with SMART goals

Of course, using SMART goals is not restricted to college students or even people working from home. Actually, while working from home setting correct work from home performance goals is even more crucial, as there are so many distractions around you.

Later on we will address with examples how setting SMART goals for busy adults can be beneficial. 

Why Should You Manage Your Time Better?

It is essential to manage your time for several reasons. Planning, evaluating, and controlling yourself requires finding a strategy that fits your personality. You will be more productive if you effectively manage your time since you will be more organized. 

time management course banner

When you manage your time well, you’ll enjoy less stress since you’ll only take on responsibilities you can handle. Furthermore, you will be more productive, allowing you to leave work for working hours and enjoy your free time without worry.

How to Create SMART Goals: 

Sometimes it’s easier said than done when creating time management SMART goals. So, below you’ll find seven steps to develop SMART goals to help you manage your time.

1. Establish Your SMART Goals

With SMART goals, you can add structure to your day by clearly defining your goals and following the format in an organized manner to ensure that they are completed on time. Consider answering the following questions to outline your SMART goal for time management:

  • Specific: What is the goal I want to achieve?
  • Measurable: How can I determine when I have attained the goal? How can I measure it?
  • Attainable: Given my skills, resources, and workload, can I accomplish this task?
  • Relevant: Which of my overall priorities is related to this goal?
  • Time-Bound: What is the expected completion date of this goal?

See, creating time management smart goals is not hard. So now, let’s continue preparing ourselves to develop SMART goals for time management. 

2. Prepare a SMART Goal List

After creating a SMART goal, you might want to create a list to help you stay on track with the tasks you need to accomplish. A step-by-step list of larger weekly goals is handy if your goal has a deadline within a month. Then, you will have a framework to help you manage each step of the way.

During each week, you can create a list of smaller, more attainable goals to help you achieve your overall goal. You can start by creating a list of daily tasks you need to complete the following day, the night before. By doing so, you may find the list helpful in keeping you focused throughout your day.

list of smart goals on a journal

3. Make Sure to Block Out Time on Your Calendar

You can block time on your daily schedule once you have created your lists. By blocking out time each hour of your day, you may be able to stay focused on your tasks and avoid being distracted by other concerns.

A list allows you to organize tasks according to specific time slots, so it’s a practical tool. Consider prioritizing the more complex tasks at the beginning of your day while leaving the simpler ones for the end. 

This way, at the beginning of the day, you will have the energy to complete the tasks that seem more challenging and wind down the day with something simpler.

4. Assign Tasks to Others Whenever You Can

As much as possible, delegate your work to others. Doing so may demonstrate to your coworkers that you value their input. You can also utilize the skills of others to assist you in accomplishing the task at hand.

Leaving tasks to others reduces stress and allows you to complete other tasks more efficiently, such as customer service issues or performance reports. Some tasks you may want to leave for another coworker to do are organizing files or answering calls for a bit.

5. Always Remember to Relax and Take Breaks

Taking breaks throughout the day is an essential part of time management. If you want to avoid work-related fatigue, you should take time to focus on something else besides work. Take time-specific breaks that are not lunch breaks into your schedule to focus on activities that aren’t work-related.

For example, eat something, walk, or play a game on your phone. Whatever you choose, giving yourself a break from strictly work-related activities can improve the quality of your work and life.

6. Get Rid of All Distractions

It is easy to become distracted while working, so eliminate any distractions that hinder your productivity. A common distraction is taking a phone call, checking emails unrelated to the task, chatting with colleagues about unrelated subjects, or playing music or videos.

After eliminating these distractions, it becomes much easier to concentrate on specific tasks. You can become more productive and efficient at work when you set boundaries and eliminate distractions.

7. Concentrate on a Single Task at a Time and Never Multitask

Multitasking is a common method of accomplishing tasks during the workday, but focusing entirely on one item at a time lets you complete the task at hand. In addition, it is generally quicker and more effective to focus all your time and energy on one task at a time than to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously.

Examples of Smart Goals in Time Management

Now that we discussed what SMART goals are in time management and how to create them let’s show you some examples in play. Below you’ll discover two examples of time management smart goals.

Example 1: Ashley and Her Freelance Writing Business

Ashley is a single mother of two looking to find a way to bring in an extra income for her home. However, she struggles with setting time aside each week to find time to build her freelance writing business on the side. 

mother of two is trying to write

Due to her working a full-time job and caring for two small children, prioritizing is very important. She created SMART goals to help her manage her time better in building her freelance writing business. She wants to spend at least ten hours a week writing and finding clients. Below are her time management smart goals for her freelance writing business. 

She wants to achieve an income goal of $1,000 monthly within four months. To achieve this goal, she will work two hours each night after her children go to bed and eliminate any distractions that would keep her from working.

  • Specific: Ashley’s goal is to build a business by earning a certain amount of money within the time frame she plans on completing the goal.

  • Measurable: Her goal is measurable because she intends to do certain tasks during her working hours. As part of her working hours, she will write for an hour and pitch for another hour to reach her goal.

  • Attainable: Her goal is achievable because she plans on completing a portion each day at a specific time. Furthermore, she has the skills and resources necessary to accomplish the project.

  • Relevant: Her goal is appropriate because the business can help her make more money. As she builds her business, she will have extra income for herself and her children.

  • Time-based: Ashley has given her four months to achieve her goal.

Example 2: David and His Weight Loss Goal

David is a busy father of four who struggles with his weight and finds it hard to find the time to exercise more to help him get into shape. So, he develops time management smart goals to help him get on the right track to losing weight and becoming healthier.

He decides to start eating better and setting a time every day in his schedule before work to walk around his neighborhood for 30 minutes to help him lose weight. David set a deadline to lose fifteen pounds in three months.

  • Specific: He also laid out clear goals, a specific number of pounds he wanted to lose, and the timeframe for losing it.

  • Measurable: He can measure his weight loss by setting a concrete weight loss goal. He can then determine whether he succeeded or failed at the end of his journey.

  • Attainable: His goal is possible because he plans to exercise when he has the time to do it and has the tools to help him. Walking is a simple exercise and can help you lose weight when eating healthily.

  • Relevant: He wants to become a healthier person, so losing weight will help him achieve this.

  • Time-based: David has set a deadline on how much weight he wants to lose within three months.

As you can see, setting time management smart goals are not complex. The hard part is following through with your SMART goals. If you’re struggling with your SMART goals, then start small. For example, David can set a smaller goal of losing at least two pounds each week by eating healthily and walking.


Be sure to always think about an end date when creating SMART goals. Otherwise, you might never achieve your goal, which you don’t want to happen. When you don’t set an end date, you risk dropping your productivity and start procrastinating, as you never will feel the pressure of time.

You are setting yourself up for failure when you don’t set an end date. Another extremely important thing is to clearly define your goals and to be realistic about it.

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