How often to you commit to doing something but it never gets done. There is not enough time, other priorities take over (that also might not get done), or it just falls off (one of your) to do lists, and its forgotten for ever! Sound familiar?
From direct coaching and mentoring experience over the last number of years, holding oneself accountable is right up there with as the biggest problem or obstacle professionals face in their work (or personal life). One common example is at the start of a coaching sessions, the client is at pains to apologise for not preparing for the session, not following up on their actions, or doing their ‘homework’. It just didn’t happen as there was no self-accountability.
I’ve learned that most people, even very high performers at work, find it very difficult to hold themselves to account. Especially when it comes to personal development goals, projects or initiatives.
When it’s work related, having a boss, deadline, or both tends to help a lot. Then projects and tasks are much more likely to get done.
So, what can you do to better hold yourself to account when you’re the boss?
From my personal experience, and from coaching successes, here are just a few areas to look at that work.
- Plan – this is basic project management fundamentals like setting dates, breaking down tasks, and taking the time to think through it. It’s a great way of decluttering the mind. Dedicate even 1 hour just to plan out what you’re going to do for the week ahead. It will make a huge difference. By doing this, you’ll quickly see the benefit and ROI. The quality of your work will improve too.
- Prioritize – The goal is not to do everything. So, when you have your tasks and projects listed, tag the must do ones that will bring you the most value/joy/fun/benefit. Make these P1’s. Then go for the P2’s next. Get strict with yourself here. It helps narrow the focus.
- (track) Progress – again, this might sound like work. Well, it is. But work that you should be invested in and will directly benefit from. So, for whatever project or goals you have, make sure there is a way of tracking the progress, on a daily & weekly basis. Create a personal scoreboard or dashboard and keep it simple. If your project is to run a half-marathon, track your daily and weekly distances against targets. Just like you would when budgeting finances. Take the time to come up with these measures at the start and gamify the goal. Some very wise business leader once said what gets measured, gets managed, and then gets done. It’s true though.
- Locus of Control – Are you always blaming others for your lack of progress or failed personal goals. If you are, it’s likely due to having an external locus of control. So, watch your language and self-talk. Stop passing the buck and take ownership and bring the control back in. This is a big one that prevents many of us from achieving our goals. So, take a moment at the end of the day and listen to what your excuses are for not getting stuff done. Is it always someone else’s fault? (external locus of control) or are you admitting it was yours (internal). Notice this and work on it.
- Get some Accountability support – this is huge when working on these personal endeavours. Or work related too. We sometimes just need that ‘boss’ like figure watching over us. A Coach or Mentor is excellent for this. Or maybe just ask a friend. Even better, have your friend take their own goals and you hold each other to account. This works great. And is fun!
Developing personal accountability can be done. It just takes a bit of focus and some help.
If you’re interested in getting that help from a supportive community of like-minded folks, you should join up to the free 1% Better/RoboftheGreen slack community set up earlier this year. We are holding monthly challenges where you pick any goal or project and share it with the group, report progress, and get some friendly support. You can join up via this LINK. The January 2020 challenge could be a great way to start the new year.
Let me know what you think of the above? Any others you’d include to the list?