Three Steps To Increase Your Productivity With Accountability

As a new freelancer, I’m always looking for ways to increase my productivity. Getting more done gives me more time to practice writing, increases the flow of money, and gives me time left over to learn new skills and enjoy the writer’s life.

Recently, I’ve discovered an easy and effective trick to increase my daily productivity. It’s something anyone can do, and I guarantee you’ll see results.

Make yourself accountable to someone else.

Yes, that’s it. Enlist others to make sure you get things done, and watch your freelance productivity soar. Without a supervisor or boss looking over your shoulder, it can be tempting to procrastinate. But with an Accountability Partner, you’re forced to keep going.

Accountability works in other areas of life. It is a common tool in weight-loss programs. Weight Watchers has members weigh themselves publicly at meetings. When people know that others are going to see if they met their weight goals, they work harder. It’s all about accountability.

I’ve even used this to keep myself on a fitness regimen. When I tell my friends my fitness goals, I know they’ll ask me how it’s going the next time they see me. This keeps me from skipping workouts.

This is a simple yet effective tactic to improve your productivity, and it’s really easy to apply to your freelance career. Follow these three steps to start ramping up your productivity today.

1. Find an accountability buddy (or group).

This can be someone you’ve met online through the AWAI forum or at a writer’s conference. Or it can be your whole peer review group, a mastermind group, or your Circle of Success group. The important thing is to find someone you feel comfortable with, who you can share your goals with, and who will keep you accountable.

For instance, my husband is wonderfully supportive of me and my freelancing goals, but he’s not a good Accountability Partner because he won’t get on my case if I stop meeting my goals.

So instead, I rely on the accountability buddy I met at AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair in October. We email each other every week or so. I tell her what I’m planning to do, like contact a potential client or update my website, because I know she’ll ask me about it later. She keeps me honest.

An accountability buddy can actively help you, too. If you’re having trouble reaching your goals or feel stuck, your buddy can be a fresh set of eyes to analyze the situation, help you figure out what’s going wrong, and formulate a new plan.

2. Share your plans with your buddy or group.

Schedule time to talk to your buddy or group on a regular basis. Tell them what your goals are, and how you plan to achieve them. Bounce ideas off of them, and get their feedback. (And do the same to support them and their goals.)

I recently joined a mastermind group that gets together once a month on a conference call. We all put our goals in writing and shared them with the group, and share our progress on our calls. Each of us is accountable to the other members.

Thanks to writing down my goals and reporting to the group, I’ve been able to identify places that I need work. For instance, I set a goal of completing a unit of the Accelerated Program Live Companion Series every week. But after several weeks, it’s just not getting done. So, I’ve gone to my mastermind group for suggestions on how to fit this program into my schedule.

3. Be accountable to yourself.

You and your buddy or group may not be in touch every day, or even every week. So keep track of your goals and progress on your own, and report in to your group when scheduled. Write everything down — your goals, your successes, and where you fell short. Be honest with yourself … you’re doing this not to find fault but to find areas of potential improvement.

I have a simple Excel spreadsheet that has my goals for the year, broken down into monthly and weekly segments, and a success journal to keep track of things that go right.

Because of this process, I’ve focused in on exactly what I plan to accomplish this year instead of just floating along and wanting to do “better.” People are watching, so I don’t just randomly pick things to do — I narrow down my goals to what’s really important and work toward them.

Following these steps has helped me move my freelance business forward. I have defined goals, get more done on a daily basis to move toward them, and I’ve identified places that I still need to work on my schedule and my priorities.

I also don’t feel like I’m working all alone anymore. My accountability buddy and mastermind group are there for emotional support and to celebrate my successes with me, as well. These are the best “coworkers” I’ve ever had.

What do you do to you hold yourself accountable? Do you have an accountability buddy, and has it helped you? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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Published: March 20, 2012

1 Response to “Three Steps To Increase Your Productivity With Accountability”

  1. You're right about spouses not being good accountability partners, Li. We've tried! Thanks for the reminders.

    Steve RollerMarch 20, 2012 at 11:04 am


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