Keep your team motivated by setting goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Learn how to reprioritize to get your work-life balance in check.


Set SMART goals.

Having trouble getting your team motivated? Maybe the goals you’ve set aren’t SMART enough. A recent pair of posts from the thoughtLEADERS blog can help you learn how to create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Be specific. Tell your team what to do, why it’s important, who’s accountable and what the performance standards are. Setting goals like “we should optimize our performance” isn’t good enough.

Make sure your goal is measurable. If you can’t measure a goal, you don’t know if you’re making progress on it or not. Decide what metric you’re going to use, what data you need to pull, how frequently you’re going to track your progress.

Ensure your goal is actually achievable—but don’t make it too easy. If a goal is too extreme, people won’t even try. And if a goal is too easy, people won’t care about it or see it as meaningful. Make sure your team has access to the resources and support they’ll need to be successful.

The goal should be relevant. If the goal doesn’t matter to the organization or to the leader, the team won’t understand why they’re working on it. Tie the goal directly to the outcome you’re trying to achieve. You should be able to explain how the goal drives behavior in just one or two steps.

Set a time limit on the goal. Letting your team know when the goal needs to be completed will create a sense of urgency and help focus the efforts of everyone involved. Setting a time also enables progress tracking and helps you break the goal down into chunks of work that can be completed over time.

Sources: “SMART Goals: How to Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable,” thoughtLEADERS, Feb. 17, 2021; “SMART Goals: How to Make Your Goals Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound,” thoughtLEADERS, Feb. 24, 2021


Reprioritize now or regret later.

Is your work-life balance out of whack? It’s time to free yourself from unhealthy patterns. That means taking a good look at yourself and learning how to reprioritize.

Take a step back and ask yourself: What is currently causing me stress, unbalance or dissatisfaction? How are these circumstances affecting how I perform and engage with my job? How are they impacting my personal life? What am I prioritizing? What am I sacrificing? What is getting lost?

Now it’s time to reprioritize. Think about what’s important to you and what you’re willing to sacrifice. Are you overly focused on work and ignoring your family and friends? Your health? Is it really necessary to work extra-long hours, bring your work home, and immediately answer every email or work call?

Consider your alternatives and take action. You can make small but meaningful changes by setting self-imposed boundaries—choosing not to work on evenings, weekends or during holidays/vacations; turning down new projects and responsibilities. Or you can take a bigger step by taking on a new role that’s less demanding or allows more flexibility.

Source: “Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement,” Harvard Business Review, Jan. 29, 2021