It’s April 1 *and* and the first Wednesday of the month. Do you know what that means? It’s IWSG day and the start of the 2015 A-to-Z Blog Challenge. For those of you who are new here, IWSG is the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers blog about their own concerns, or offer encouragement to other writers. And the A-to-Z is a pledge to blog every day in April, except Sundays, which leaves 26 days of blogging fun. 1665 bloggers are signed up so far! Each day is assigned a letter, starting with A.
Let’s get to it! For 2015, I’ve chosen a theme that fits with my personal goals for the year: Productivity! If you’ve got plans and goals for yourself and your family, if you’re busy juggling kids and a job, or if you’re just plain overwhelmed with the everyday things… you’re not alone! Many people struggle with feeling overwhelmed at times, myself included. I’ve made a promise to myself that this year will be different. I am tired of living in reaction mode. I want to get to a place where I’m proactive, prepared, and relaxed.
Today’s A post is fitting for both the IWSG and my Productivity A-to-Z.
A is for Accountability Partners
Having an accountability partner is like having a work buddy, a cheerleader, a confidante, and a stern headmaster all rolled into one. An accountability partner is someone you’ve made a pact with, who will check in and keep tabs on your progress. Whether you meet in person, chat via text, catch up with each other on social media or email, this person keeps you motivated toward getting your stuff done.
Let me count the ways…
Accountability Partners are Work Buddies
I have two friends with whom I am accountable. They are both entrepreneurs and parents with busy schedules. But each week, we make a separate list of tasks we each need to get done. We check in via phone, text, and sometimes in person to keep each other on track. My favorite check-in is on those Wednesday nights when we can sneak out for Free Pie Wednesday at Village Inn! Yum.
Accountability Partners are Cheerleaders
An accountability partner is invested in your success. As you work with someone, sharing goals, talking through road blocks, and offloading insecurities, it’s natural to become connected to your partner’s success—and them to yours. They see what it takes. They know how much work you’re doing. They understand the effort involved. And so when you do hit your goals, they are your loudest cheerleader. They share your pride. They’ve been with you through it all!
Accountability Partners are Confidantes
When the going gets tough, the driven talk it through with their accountability partners! OK, that’s not quite as catchy as it could be, but it’s no less true. Making goals is a private thing. I don’t share my goals publicly. In fact, I only share them with a few trusted people in my circle. It’s hard to stay on track with big goals, and sharing them only with a few trustees keeps the pressure away. It also creates a safe place to unload when you hit a wall, or when you find that your goals are no longer on track. They understand, and they can help you pivot and adjust without judgement.
Accountability Partners are Stern Headmasters
A good accountability partner doesn’t accept excuses. The only way this whole partner thing works is when you both commit. One thing I learned early on in my accountability partnership: be realistic. Set yourself up for success by taking stock of the week’s goals and comparing them to your schedule. Are your kids on spring break? Do you have appointments that will take you away from work? If so, adjust your to-do list accordingly. Nothing builds momentum like a series of small victories… so be real about it. Rack up those wins!
Need an Accountability Partner? Here are some Tips to get started:
- Think of people in your circle who are working toward goals of their own. Reach out and ask if they might want to check-in weekly, or daily, so you can help each other stay on track. They don’t have to be doing the same kinds of things that you are. They just need to have goals.
- Make a list of big goals for the year. Writing a book? Organizing the house? Losing weight? All of the above? These are the things you’re going to focus on. Now break it down, until you’re looking at a weekly to-do list. Share you list with your partner.
- Agree on a schedule and method for check-ins. Email? Text? Skype? Anything goes.
Developing an accountability partnership has been vital to my success so far in achieving my personal and professional goals. I know my partners would agree. Having one can do the same for you.
Do you have an accountability partner? How does your system work? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Check back tomorrow when I share some B tips. :)
Special thank you shout out to this year's A-to-Z Challenge Hosts: Arlee Bird, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, Jeremy Hawkins, Nicole Ayers, Pam Margolis, AJ Lauer, Heather M. Gardner, C. Lee McKenzie, S. L. Hennessy, Zalka Csenge, Susan Gourley, Lisa Buie-Collard, J.L. Campbell, John Holton, and Matthew MacNish