How Smart are your Action Items?


Do you sometimes feel as though your work efforts are in vain? Maybe you can’t pinpoint any significant developments or achievements from the last few years. Perhaps you feel demotivated and listless and despondent about setting goals. Say hello to smart action items and take the next step to fulfilling your goals!

We all have goals, ambitions and aspirations that we wish to achieve. However, we rarely take a systematic approach to them. Do you know that only 20 people of every hundred set goals, and only eight of those 20 achieve what they set out to do?

Many people spend their work days bouncing from one task to the next or racing around, attempting to accomplish more while achieving very little. Creating smart action items helps you clarify your thoughts, focus your efforts, use time and resources wisely and boost your chances of accomplishing your life goals.

To achieve success, you must understand how to break big goals into small action plan items.



What are “action items”?

An action item is a task created from a need that arises out of a meeting, company objective or job role. Consider them to-dos that will assist in reaching the team goals of a project. Action items are as important to project management as effective meetings. They can be part of a wider action plan or to-do list.

Action items can assist a manager in staying informed of decisions during a meeting. These meeting action items might either be deliverables or assets. They can range from small tasks like writing a follow-up email to developing a marketing plan for a new product. Use a meeting agenda and well-defined agenda items to track the various smart action items that must be completed.

Big goals = (small) smart action items

Let’s say you want a 10% boost in sales for your company over the next 12 months.

A strategy is essential.

To make team goals attainable, divide them into small chunks that add to the eventual result. What initiatives will a sales manager take to raise the company’s sales by 10%? Will you spend more money on marketing? Is it preferable to strive to gain new customers or sell more to existing ones? Which of these possibilities is comprised of which timeline?

For instance, you may have noticed that it’s challenging to plan duties with a large workforce. TimeTrack Duty Roster eliminates the stress and manual labor by automatically assigning action items to the appropriate team members. The tool calculates the perfect duty roster for you and your staff, making task allocation quick, transparent and seamless.


TimeTrack Duty Roster

Benefits of smart action items

You’re a responsible project manager who needs to stay updated on your team’s work. Keeping an eye on action items is a great way to do so.

Organize tasks and track progress

After a meeting, a skilled project manager will distribute action items to ensure all employees agree on what should be done next. Some project managers structure their action items based on meeting minutes or notes to categorize their work. This format for drafting action items makes it easy to identify priorities and urgent tasks.

Create team accountability

Decisions can be made quickly in meetings. While debating these choices, smart action items can help you quickly record the interconnected tasks. The team will all understand their responsibilities for each task if someone is assigned to develop an action item list and follow up with task owners after the meeting.

Keep track of work

A useful tool for controlling your teams’ workload is action item tracking. Managers can readily assess all the current team projects and gain an overview on potential problems. You can keep tabs on how long it takes to complete each action item, delays, cost issues and other important factors. Assigning comparable projects in the future will be easier if you keep track of frequently completed action items and know how many resources are required.

Smart action item planning

1. Define the end goal 

Your items should be structured to encourage your team to review and follow through on outstanding action items. Each action item could be enhanced with the SMART goal framework. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: What exactly do you intend to do and who will execute it?
  • Measurable: How do you measure progress?
  • Achievable: Are you capable of completing this task?
  • ‍Realistic: Does it make a difference? Will it solve the issue?
  • Time-bound: When will it be completed? Decide on a time frame when goal-setting.

2. List the steps

The objective is clear, and so are the expectations. What precisely must you do to achieve it? Create a preliminary outline of the tasks that must be completed, their due dates and assignees. It’s crucial that everyone on the team has access to the document and is active in the process to remain aware of their responsibilities and roles in the organization.

Make certain that each process is specific and doable. If you encounter more complicated jobs, divide them into smaller, more manageable chunks.

A work schedule directs team members on when and how to work effectively. Visualizing your team and relevant duties in advance facilitates collaboration and keeps projects on a path. Depending on your business, you may have an hourly, daily and weekly schedule. Still, a daily calendar with time slots is a nifty tool for effectively planning and implementing any task.

3. Set deadlines and prioritize your activities

It’s time to rearrange the list by giving the tasks higher priority. A manager might need to prioritize some stages because they may obstruct other sub-processes. Include timelines and ensure that they are reasonable. Before setting deadlines, speak with the person responsible to determine their capacity.

4. Set milestones 

The smaller objectives before the primary goal are referred to as milestones. The benefit of including milestones is that they give team members something to look forward to and support their motivation, even though the final due date is a long way off. As you set milestones, start at the ultimate result and work backward. Don’t allow too little or too much time between the milestones you establish. The recommended interval between goal-setting is two weeks.


Make the most of smart action items

5. Identify the necessary resources

Make sure you have all the tools you need before you start your job to ensure you can finish the chores. Your spending plan should be part of this. If there are any costs associated with each job, you can mark them in your SMART action plan’s corresponding column.

6. Visualize your smart action plan

This step aims to produce something that can be shared with anyone, and everyone at a glance, can understand that. Regardless of whether your action plan is presented as a flowchart, Gantt chart, or table, ensure that it communicates the components we have so far defined, such as tasks, task owners, deadlines, resources, etc.

7. Monitor, evaluate and update

Set aside time to assess your teams’ progression timeline. On this final action plan, you can highlight your progress by marking items that have been finished as done. This will also highlight unfinished or behind-schedule jobs; wherein you must ascertain the cause and devise workable alternatives. Afterward, adjust the action plan as necessary.

Work fast with smart action items

The combined effect of hard and smart effort can produce incredible outcomes. Although it differs from person to person, executives must understand that effort and intellect have value in and of themselves before they can properly schedule their days, set priorities and manage their time.

A diligent worker who employs all the tricks of smart work is a true asset in any business. It takes time to learn and develop time management skills and productivity. You will have trouble acquiring these talents if your short-term goals aren’t set up in the right sequence.

You must recognize and work on areas that require improvement as you progress in honing your time management and productivity skills. Setting SMART goals in these areas has several benefits, including:

  • Monitoring your progress
  • Measuring success
  • Boosting effectiveness and efficiency

With TimeTrack Appointment Planning, you can streamline your planning sessions, meet commitments, support data management and information accessibility and enhance communication between you and your team members.


TimeTrack Appointment Planning


Now that you understand smart action items, it’s time to implement that knowledge. Whether you’re making SMART goals for personal success or to meet significant marketing milestones, it’s best to start with what you want to accomplish and reverse-engineer it into a tangible long-term goal.

Remember that learning to work smarter and more efficiently will take time and effort. But if you put these recommendations into action and stick with them, you’ll soon be working smarter, not harder.