Accountability Partners – How to Get Stuff Done Using a Partner

Mindset Monday: Tips to get your mind right

Getting stuff done and accomplishing your goals can be a tough and lonely journey.  Perhaps you are working on your novel or screenplay.  Maybe you are trying to build up another stream of passive income.  It can be hard to stay on track.  Having someone to support you in accomplishing your goals can help you get there faster.

For the past 18 months, I used this  daily accountability system with a friend that we have learned from others and refined to make our own.

This is how it works:

  • One of us calls, emails, or texts the other person every morning on Monday through Friday.
  • Each person will go through a list of pre-determined questions and  give a brief answer to each.
  • The call is short at about 5-15 minutes each morning.  Typically the call is only 7 minutes long.  We each talk for about 3-4 minutes.
  • We are not working on anything together.  We have our own separate goals.  There is very limited coaching from the other person.  Sometimes there is some but it is not the norm.  What ends up happening is each person ends up coaching themselves and sees the correct course of action to take for themselves.

Here is the list of questions we answer quickly:

  • What do you feel like saying?
    • This can be anything.  How you are feeling.  A quick thank you to the other person for taking the time to be on the call.  Maybe you mention that you are driving or have a meeting coming up in ten minutes.
  • Any news?
    • This is usually limited to news that is related to this space.  For example, if you are using this accountability call to finish your screenplay, you normally would discuss any news related to the screenplay.  But this is not strict.
  • Where are you stuck/resistance?
    • This allows you to confront what may be stopping or slowing you down from accomplishing your goal each day.  Examples of resistance could be poor planning, fear, no motivation, distraction, etc.  Basically, if you are having a hard time accomplishing your daily goal set in this space, here is your chance to figure out what could be holding you back.
  • Report the metric of yesterday?
    • This is as simple as, “Yes, I achieved my goal from yesterday.”  or “No, I did not achieve my goal from yesterday.”
  • Report the metric?
    • Michael LeBouef wrote, “What gets measured gets done.”  Here you create a very specific metric to measure your progress.  Perhaps this is total number pages written of estimated pages for your finished screenplay.  For example, you may have written 2 more pages of your 120 page screenplay.  You now have a total of 40 pages complete.  You could report this as, “I wrote 2 pages yesterday and I am now 33% complete.”
  • Goal of today?
    • Personally, I have found that having the same small goal every day is easier for me to track and accomplish.
    • For example, I try to get my “X “each day.  Where I write for a set period of time on various projects.
    • What has worked for me in the past is:  “Write for at least 10 minutes on my screenplay.”
    • What did not work for me in the past was trying to create a new goal each day then tracking it to see if I accomplished it.
    • Your mileage will vary.
    • If you need to change the task each day due to the nature of your overall goal, consider keeping the goal broad with the task getting filled in as necessary.  For example, if you use  this accountability call to lose weight but each day you do a different exercise then you might set the goal each day as “I will exercise for at least 30 minutes.”  Instead of “Today I will run for 30 minutes.  Tuesday I will do 30 pushups, 40 situps, and jump rope for 20 minutes.”
  • What are you grateful for?
  • At least one success from the day?
    • This can be large or small.
    • It is important to acknowledge our accomplishments.  This is a continual journey and our goals will constantly be changing.  We set the bar higher each time we accomplish a goal.  We have to remember to enjoy the journey.
  • What do you feel like saying?
    • This can be a quick wrap up, share an insight, a favorite quote, a quick thank you, or whatever you may feel like saying.

Several notes that help with this process.

  • You see positive or negative trends in your behavior very quickly.  It gives you a chance to adjust as necessary.
  • You build momentum.
  • You have someone to share your journey both the triumphs and tribulations.
  • You can do this with anyone.  My friend is in real estate and I am in filmmaking, photography, and video.
  • Different time zones don’t matter.  He is in Arizona and I am in Hawaii.
  • Stay open to adjusting your goals to something challenging but doable in a day.
  • Larger groups than two will take more time overall.  I personally like it with two people.  I have tried a group of four but it would take 30 minutes.  That was too much time each day.
  • My friend calls me when he is driving in the morning.  I am already awake before I go to the studio, so it works out during times we are not very busy.  Find a time that works for you.
  • This is extremely powerful.  I have accomplished a lot with this system.  You can too.

This system reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Discipline over time equals success.”

(I can’t find who wrote it.  If you know, let me know in the comments.  I remember reading it in the Chicago Tribune when I was a kid.)

Let me know if you give this system a try.  I highly recommend it.

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