Goals for Productivity
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Setting Goals for the New Year to Boost Productivity

‘Tis the season to talk resolutions, but I would rather skip the resolution talk and focus on goals.   Studies show that one is  1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish a goal that they have vividly described in writing.  Furthermore, the act of completing and then acknowledging the completion of said goal results in a sense of accomplishment which leads, in turn, to happiness and greater productivity.  Today, let’s consider the smart way to craft your goals to bolster your productivity in the new year.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Smart goals are a thing.  S.M.A.R.T.  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

By way of example: Optimistic Arnold resolves he’s going to be more organized in 2019.   Excellent.  Now let’s put some meat behind it; let’s craft a S.M.A.R.T goal.


What’s the Specific act(s) Arnold is resolving to accomplish?  One might be: I’ll set up a filing system so as not to keep everything I am working on, and everything I have worked on, sitting on top of my desk.  I’m going to set up electronic folders and a few–only what is necessary–paper filing solutions.


How will Arnold Measure his success? After considering the best criteria for success, Arnold decides he’ll have accomplished his goal when he a.) can see his desktop, b) has an organized folder system on his computer with scanned hard copies of things once on his desk he wishes to keep, and c.) has a small hard copy filing solution to suit his needs.  Because Arnold knows that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as they say, he makes a final criteria of success to be him actually using the system successfully for two months.


Can Arnold Achieve this goal of clearing off his desk so as to become more organized?  It seems likely.  But if, for example, Arnold is struggling with getting rid of paperwork from his kid’s school days, simply tossing away all the old A+ spelling tests may not make since for him.  (In the past I’ve shared suggestions on how to handle items with emotional significance.)  Arnold may decide that one component of his goal will be to find a handsome box to put all the old school work in. He might decide to tackle that box at a later date, but for now, the papers will not keep him from achieving his goal of seeing his desktop.


Is this goal of setting up the electronic and small paper filing system (with the handsome box for the schoolwork) Relevant to Arnold’s overall resolution of getting organized in 2019?  Sounds to me like it is.  

Time Bound

Arnold has given himself a deadline for measuring the success of his goal: using the system successfully for two months. Now he needs to set a date for getting the desktop cleared off and the systems in place in a Timely manner.  After considering his upcoming workload and family obligations, Arnold picks the date of January 15, 2019.  He’s got his window of time in place to make the system happen.

That Feeling of Accomplishment

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling  you get when you mark an item off your to-do list?  Well, Arnold is going to get that feeling in March when he deems his goal accomplished.  But, it is going to be more than the warm and fuzzy feeling.  Psychology research, including Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, posits Arnold will be bolstered by his since of accomplishment.  He will be happier and this will show up in many areas of his life, including his productivity.  Accomplishment begets accomplishment.  Pretty cool, huh?

What are you resolving for the new year?  Can you sit down and pen it as a S.M.A.R.T goal?  I challenge you to work on at least one S.M.A.R.T goal this year, and I’ll bet you have more than one in you.

Wishing you greater productivity and many successes in 2019,


Sara Genrich is an Organization and Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop.  She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.

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