The 5 Ws of Accountability

Once a week I meet with Whitney Ryan for our accountability session and I better have my sh*t together for that call or else!  Há, in all seriousness, we get together to discuss last week’s goals, if we reached them (if we didn’t – why) and we then go over next week’s goals.  By having these calls, not only do you set serious goals, you also make sure you get them done.  Sure, there are times when things fall through the crack, but by having someone there, you make sure this does not become a continuous habit.  And it’s not just to have someone there to ‘reprimand‘ you when you screw up, but more so to have that support to figure out your challenges and ways to overcome them.  And when your strengths & weaknesses compliment each other you have a great fit!  Whitney, thank you for kicking my butt every Friday!

Having goals, a plan, and setting up time to focus on them is key.  Having an accountability partner or group is really the icing on the cake!  Some people hire a business or life coach, others find an accountability partner or group to hold each other accountable.  It can be done to reach a personal goal, fitness goal, business goal, a project, or just make sure you’re getting stuff done every day – the important stuff.

Over the years I’ve been in several of these partnerships and I’ve hired coaches – some with amazing results, some were OK, and some just ended up being a fiasco.  The key to having the right partnership is to think and plan ahead of time.  To help you look into starting or joining one, I’ve broken it down into the 5 Ws:

  1. Why – Why do you want to start or join a partnership?  First and foremost, be clear to yourself why you want/need to do this.  Once you start looking for partner(s), have that discussion.  You don’t all have the have the same goal, as long as it’s something you can support each other in.  It’s also a good idea to discuss your strengths and weaknesses.  Be open – be able to ask for help – and be willing to support and help others.
  2. WhatWhat are the goals of your sessions?  Be clear on what your goals are for your sessions together.  What are you going to cover during your sessions?  Are you going to track these sessions with notes or recordings?  Are you going to have accountability forms that you fill out and possibly track?  Decide and set up a structure for your sessions, because without one you can easily get sidetracked and you’ll leave the meeting feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything.
  3. WhoWho will be your partner in crime?  This is the most important ‘W’ of them all!  Make sure you find the right fit for you and the specific goal(s) you’re trying to accomplish – they don’t have to be in the same industry as you or have the exact same goals, as long as they understand what you’re trying
    to accomplish.  Some things to look for:

    • Say ‘Yes’ to people who are typically:
      • Positive & motivated
      • Take responsibility seriouslyaccountability-right-fit
      • Challenge you to do better
      • Are consistent
    • Say ‘No’ to people who are typically:
      • Late or no shows
      • Always have an excuse
      • Complain or are typically negative
      • Just not motivated
      • Or just don’t ‘get’ what it is you do or want to accomplish.
  4. WhereWhere do you do these sessions?  If you work in the same office or area you can meet for coffee of course, but in today’s digital world, you can practically meet anywhere.  For example:
    • By phone, FaceTime, Skype, …
    • By screenshare or webinar if you need to share something (Zoom, GoToMeeting, …)
    • Via email
    • In an online forum (a private group in LinkedIn or Facebook)
  5. WhenWhen do you do all this accountability?    This depends on the type of goals you have and the availability of everyone.  Sessions can be daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.  Whatever you decide do them consistently.  And remember, you can mix it up – for example do weekly calls and quarterly in-person meetings or daily online check-ins and weekly calls.  I personally like doing my sessions on Friday, it’s perfect timing to close my week and plan for the following week.

All this prepping may seem like a lot, but it’s better to prepare and have the right set up, because if you don’t you may end up wasting everyone’s time and not accomplish what you started – which obviously is counterproductive.

What has your experience been in accountability partnerships?  Did you like the set up?  Were the sessions too structured, too flexible, or kinda perfect?  How did you meet?  I’d love to hear from you.

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9 Time Blocks That Make Things Happen

It’s Friday – are you ready for the weekend?  Heck yeah, right?!?

How did your week go?  Did you get everything accomplished or do you feel like you were running around non-stop all week and yet haven’t accomplished much?

Life is fast and it feels like the days and weeks are literally just flying by.  The only way to get stuff done – the important stuff – is by taking control of your day by managing where you spend your time and focus.

Why is it that we have no problem putting appointments with other people in our calendar, but when it comes to things that matter to us we neglect to put them in our calendar?   Start planning your week by blocking out time for the things that really matter to You!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a paper or digital planner – use these 9 Time Block ideas to plan your week:

  1. Review Time.  Schedule out a couple of hours each week (yes – hours!) to go through this week’s accomplishments.  Scratch off what’s completed, delegate what you can, and prioritize what’s left to do.  Once you know what you need to be doing, schedule time to get them done.  This time block is the most important one on this list, but yet most people neglect to spend time on it – make it your priority!
  2. Project Time.  After doing your Review, you’ll know what projects you’ll need to be working on and what needs to get done next week, so schedule them in.
  3. Office Time.  You know that boring stuff like filing, bookkeeping, cleaning out your inbox?  Yeah, they need to get done – schedule time to do it on a daily or weekly basis to make sure you stay on top of it all.
  4. Research Time.  Use this time to do any kind of research.  For example researching topics to write your next blog, your next topic for a presentation, a new exercise routine, your next vacation destination, you name it.  Research time can be spend surfing the web, going to the library, reading a book, visiting other companies that work with your market, …  And rather than getting sucked into all these shiny objects you see all day long, save them for your Research Time.  Tools like Pocket & Evernote are great for this – I’ll make sure to do a blog about this very soon!
  5. Writing & Creative Time.  If you’re like me and you write articles, social media posts, or maybe you’re writing a book – you need to schedule that time in your calendar.  Pick a time that fits best for you.  For me that’s first thing in the morning, before I start working on any of my projects.  For you it may be late at night when the house is quiet and everyone is sleeping and you’re still wide awake.  Do it when it feels right to You.
  6. Catch Up Time.  Use this time to get caught up on things that you weren’t able to finish, things that just popped up, or anything random you want to get done.
  7. Fitness Time.  Yes, schedule in your health!  No matter what that is for you – a work out, biking, running, yoga, meditation, whatever it is, schedule it.
  8. F&F Time.   Make time for Family & Friends.  With today’s fast-paced tech life we have gotten out of touch with our family & friends.  Life is short – make time to spend quality time together.  And yes, I challenge you to turn off your tech during those precious moments, unless of course you’re on FaceTime spending time with someone special.
  9. Me Time.  Schedule time for You.  Time for to the beach, reading a book, some art, hiking, time with your dogs, cats, horses… wherever your happy place may be!

 

Remember, when scheduling these in your Calendar:

  • Once you start working in one of these time areas, try to block everything out and get totall focused on the task at hand.
  • Think something’s going to take you 1 hour?  Add about 30{14f5d89cdb458448eb9fffe01321f06ef5bef8c8ad6d8f6849e8ec1fe6b49dc7} to make sure you have enough time to get things done.  If you do finish within the hour, you can always take a break or move over to the next Time Block;
  • Don’t over-schedule.  When over-scheduling you get overwhelmed and you’re least likely to follow through.  If this is new to you, start small and slowly build up to where you’re comfortable;
  • When you have appointments that include travel, consider the time it takes you to travel to/from to your appointment and add in traffic delays
  • Be kind to yourself. There will be days that you will miss some stuff and that’s OK, just keep doing your Review Time to make sure you’re on track with the important stuff to get them done.

 

Stay-On-Track Tip:  

Get an accountability partner!  Find that one person – or a small group – that will help you stay accountable & motivated.  Keep on the look out – more on this soon.

 

Do you have a system to get things done?  Or are struggling with this?  Are there any topics you’d like me to cover?  I’d love to hear from you.

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