Getting Projects Done: Build In Accountability

Getting Projects Done: Build In Accountability

Beth Zeigler
Mar 31, 2009

033109timer-01.jpgWhen we have a big project on the horizon or a DIY project at home to finish, we try to build in accountability. Otherwise, we find ourselves staying up late for three nights in a row and run the risk of paint cans and bags from Home Depot staring at us (making us feel guilty). Over the years, we've racked up a few ways to build in accountability--and don't forget to weigh in with your own approach after the jump.

  • Start small and set a kitchen timer. A kitchen timer works well for two reasons. For those of us that have trouble staying focused, the sound of the kitchen timer clicking will remind you to keep at it when you start to get distracted. A timer is also a great form of accountability for folks that tend to be perfectionists. Instead of organizing for hours on end and losing track of time, set the timer for 30 minutes. Once it dings--you're done. Most folks who hyper-organize for hours on end run the risk of getting burnt out (and never return to the project) leaving the area unfinished. You're more likely to accomplish your goals if you start small and maintain.
  • Enlist a friend. Find an accountability partner and make a date for a weekly check-in. Knowing that someone is going to make sure that you're following through with your tasks is a great way to stay on course.
  • Tell friends what you're up to. We now have Facebook and Twitter to let our circle of friends in our daily activities. Once you tweet about an upcoming project or goal, friends are likely to check in with you the next time they see you. If there's a chance friends or colleagues will inquire about your objectives you'll be less likely to stall on projects.
  • Mark your calendar. When we have a project due (or a self-imposed deadline), we'll mark it in our calendar. Next, we'll break the project down into smaller parts and insert those smaller tasks into our calendar as to-do items. Because we always want to be checking items off of our to-do list, we find that using a calendar as a form of accountability works well.

How do you build in accountability at work or home? Do you already incorporate our tips or do you have your own set of rules you follow?

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