A common question that comes up in productivity spheres online is “how do I keep myself accountable?” Which is a great question. It is easy enough to be organized and make plans, but at the end of the day, if you’re not actually getting to your work, you’re not going to be productive. This can be especially difficult in society today due to the digitalization of literally everything. If your work requires you to be on a computer, it is only a matter of time before something on the internet pops up and takes your attention away from what you should be doing. Even without digitalization, it can be so easy to get distracted with things like food, your beloved pets, daydreaming, anything really.
In today’s post I offer you seven tips on how to avoid distractions and how to hold yourself accountable.
- The first and one of the most effective tips I have for holding yourself accountable is to tell someone in your world that you’re going to do something. This can include telling your partner, a close friend, or even making a Twitter post. It’s best if you tell an actual person in your life because you can ask them to kindly follow up with you to make sure you have done what you originally set out to do.
- My second tip for holding yourself accountable is in the same vein as the first tip, which is to find an accountability partner. This is a good option because it not only provides the other person with an incentive to work with you, but you can also be more sure that they will follow up because they are counting on you to do the same.
- Use an app like Forest or some other timekeeping or Pomodoro app. There are so many options out there as far as time tracking apps go. Forest has been a favourite of mine for many years and I have purchased the full version of it at least twice, quite a testament as to how great it is. That said, it is a very inexpensive yet powerful app and it can be quite motivating. Other time tracking apps can help you to track your time, which can not only hold you accountable but it can also allow you to see where you spend your time and whether or not adjustments are needed.
- Remove distractions whenever required. Use apps like Forest (deep focus feature) or Chrome extensions like BlockSite to help you remove distractions that you know will pull you away from your work. Oftentimes I’ll use Forest’s deep focus mode to ensure that I don’t use my phone when I should be working, occasionally I will use Blocksite to block YouTube because it is the biggest distraction for you. Take some time to reflect on your workflow and what is causing disruptions for you, then look for ways to remove the distraction.
- Use a productivity system that forces you to migrate to-do items that you haven’t done, eventually, you’ll either get sick of migrating it and just do it or you’ll notice how long you’ve been putting it off and make time for it. For example, bullet journalling and calendar blocking force you to migrate items that you weren’t able to get to. This is especially effective if you use an analog productivity system because you won’t want to have to rewrite the same task over and over again.
- Set goals for yourself that are attainable but still under a time constraint. You might even want to go as far as to plan a reward if the goal is achieved, similarly to how the CleverFox Planner does. Just remember, that any rewards you plan to give yourself shouldn’t work against the goal or any others. For example, if you also have a goal of getting more fit and healthy, it might not be a good idea to reward yourself with cake. Or, if you are trying to save money, it may not be ideal to set a reward that requires you to spend a large amount of money.
- The last tip I have for you for holding yourself accountable is probably the most important and one that a lot of people don’t think about and that is to reflect on why you need to do something or what you will achieve by doing it and why you want to achieve that. For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, you will want to ask yourself “Why do I want to lose 20 pounds?”, make a list of the reasons. And don’t worry about the reasons being vain or selfish, it really doesn’t matter why as long as the ‘why’ matters to you. You might want to lose 20 pounds so you can fit into your favourite pair of jeans again, or maybe you want to improve your sex life, or maybe you’re worried about the long-term consequences of being overweight. Whatever it is, as long as it matters to you, it will motivate you to keep going.
At the end of the day, the only thing that can truly hold you accountable is you, but I do hope these tips have pointed you in the right direction on how to make that happen.
Until next time folks, keep on keeping on!