SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Each element of the SMART framework works together to create a goal that is carefully planned, is clear, and trackable.


Idea Dumping

List all tasks or goals in the left-most column Task List that need to be accomplished this month. This provides an overview of your monthly goals, whether those are immediate client projects or personal goals. Fill these 10+ bullets with the title of your project (e.g. Make PBJ Lunch).

Monthly Cheat Sheet

Next, you’ll want to fill in each bullet with a Priority Number, with #1 being the most pressing and/or most important project to make progress on this month (Relevant). This list most likely may seem like a lot and it can be overwhelming and that’s why the next steps are important.

Using the top three projects, transfer their title to the SMART Goals section. This is where you’ll assign a date (Time-Based) to complete this project. Using the Eating An Elephant metaphor, you probably won’t put Eat Elephant as a task here. (You could, it’s just not likely). Ideally, you’ll put “Eat front right leg” (Achievable).

Next, you’ll break this larger task down into three sub-tasks (Specific). Let’s say, Foot, Leg, and Upper Leg. (I think I’m going to have to stop with this metaphor before it becomes too graphic in the Daily Matrix Sheets.) These are the mini-tasks you’ll need to accomplish to get to the larger task. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.


Specific vs General: I will create a to-do list outlining my daily agenda (specific) vs I will be more productive (general). I will eat an elephant versus I will eat the front right leg of the elephant.


A successful outcome should be observable and tangible. Can I put a priority on the task? For example, a complete daily agenda list itemized according to priority. First the foot, then the lower leg and finally the upper leg.


I have the tools and resources to create my to-do (Yes, you now have the To- Do Scout). Fork and knife (to be less graphic).


My goal is relevant to my needs or a larger goal. Eat the entire elephant.


I will complete my to-do list by such and such date (and is attainable). Set a timeline. I will finish the right front leg by the end of the third week of the month.

Another way to think about how to create mini-tasks for your project is how you would explain the process to an outsourced, or temp employee. Let’s make lunch. Peanut butter and jelly, some chips, a pickle, and chocolate milk.

PBJ Sandwich

Make The Sandwich
  1. Take two pieces of bread.

  2. Get the peanut butter, open the jar, and spread the PB on one slice of bread. Put the lid back on the jar and put it back where it belongs.

  3. Get the jelly, open the jar, and spread enough to cover the second slice of bread. Put the lid back on the jar and put the jelly jar away.

  4. Put the two slices of bread together with the toppings together, in the middle.

Make The Plate
  1. Put the completed PB&J sandwich on the plate.

  2. Open the bag of chips and add 2 handfuls next to the sandwich. Close and put the chip bag away.

  3. Gather and open the pickle jar. Use a fork to pull one pickle out and place it on the plate where there’s room. Close the pickle jar and put away.

Ok, so you get the idea. It may seem quite elementary, but this is how a more complex project happens. Mini-tasks are our goal for the Daily Matrix. You will take the three sub-tasks on the Monthly Matrix and use them as a leader for the Weekly Matrix (further sub -tasking each until you can accomplish each task during a segment of your day (eating toes have I gone too far with my metaphor?).

Want To Master Time Management

Find out here by learning more about the To-Do Scout Time Management Planner

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The Key to Productivity & Time Management

Word Cloud Weight: Complex project; Idea dumping; Time based; Task;

Word Cloud

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