When it comes to productivity and reaching your goals we are all fabulous at getting right to work every day, never getting distracted, and………. Oh look! Something is happening on Facebook, and I’ve just realised I have one episode of my favourite show on Netflix left. Yes, many of fall foul of the Instant Gratification Monkey. Accountability is one of the best ways to lessen your likelihood of procrastination, to get things done and to achieve your goals.
What is Procrastination
If you want to know more about the Instant Gratification Monkey and procrastination in general, this truly excellent Ted Talk from Tim Urban will make you laugh as well as explain much!
When it comes down to it, most of us have the potential to procrastinate. Some of us excel at it. Procrastination isn’t always necessarily a failure. Some consider it simply a different way of working, and one that is often favoured by creative minds. Whether you see procrastination as a quirk or a pain in the behind, you do sometimes need to overcome it or push past it if you want to get work done on time.
What is Accountability
Accountability is having someone or something (there are apps) that keeps you on track, that gives you a nudge and which prods you when you start to wander off the prescribed task.
Find an Accountability Partner
An Accountability Partner is someone who will check in on you regularly to see how you are getting on. You may also be their accountability partner. It may be someone who you know in “real life” or someone online, perhaps someone from a social media group or similar that you belong to. A Facebook group I belong to, The Freelance Lifestylers, can be a great place to find some accountability when procrastination is taking over and I have deadlines.
Join a Coworking Group
I run a local coworking group which enables a number of freelancers and otherwise self-employed individuals to move away from their office desks and come together to work alongside each other. We work independently but often try and keep each other accountable. A simple “I will get X done by the end of the session” with the knowledge that someone will ask whether it was done can be enough to get it done!
Use An App
Set a timer or use an app. The Pomodoro Technique has an element of accountability as it pushes you to work for the agreed upon 25 mins until it says you can have a break and for how long. There are a number of fabulous accountability apps on the market right now.
Put It Out There
State your intentions to the world. Tell a colleague that you are going to do X, Y and Z by this time and know that they will know if you haven’t. Post it on social media, tell your partner, tell your dog. Whatever works. Sometimes by saying out loud to the universe that you will do something can be one of the best accountability tools of all.
We would all like to spend our time looking on our favourite office furniture UK site (because a new desk will match up brilliantly with all the desk porn you found on Pinterest instead of finishing that piece of work) or catching up on massively important work such as sock matching. We all also want to meet our goal, enjoy guilt-free leisure time and get paid. Accountability, having someone or something to keep you on track and make you responsible for something can be an excellent way to combat procrastination and help you move forward.
What are your top tips for beating procrastination?