I am really good at being busy. I don’t mean at work, although that’s usually a cross between a three-ring circus and my own real-life episode of Mastermind. I mean outside of work. A friend recently joked that, by the time most people are just getting out of bed at the weekend and contemplating whether it’s time for lunch or they could get away with still calling it brunch, I’ve been out running a half marathon, taken a thousand photographs up a mountain and then baked a 10-layer cake. Okay, I exaggerate, but you get the point. He wasn’t wrong – I’m always doing something.
With that though comes something else … I am really good at not getting things DONE. I have half-finished needlework projects that have settled in for winter in the storage unit. I have lists of things to do and plan and organise and … well, they’re lists, and that’s about it. I have great intentions for changes I want to make in my lifestyle, in my relationships, in my worklife … the road to hell is paved with such intentions, apparently. And this blog hasn’t had a post in a while because there are half a dozen ‘starts’ written and not a single finish.
None of this is a recent phenomenon, but it has intensified. It seems there’s an inverse correlation between my ability to get things done and the amount of options I have for doing something else. Rocket science, that’s not. London is VERY distracting!
That’s why, when a friend introduced me to the concept of an accountability buddy, it piqued my interest. Apart from being a psychotherapist by profession, she’s also a very smart lady, so I have a habit of listening to her. Well, most of the time anyway!
She’s described what an accountability buddy actually is in an Instagram post, which you can find here:
In a nutshell though, you share your goals with that person and report back regularly on progress, or lack of progress. You tweak your goals, breaking them down into manageable steps with timelines. You stretch those goals and develop them further. And it’s a two-way street. You’re accountable to your buddy, they’re accountable to you.
At first, I was skeptical. Not about the concept, more about my ability to make it work. If you know me, you’ll know that saying I’m stubborn as a mule is actually an affront to the mule! But desperate times, desperate measures …
A few weeks in, I can report that it is actually working. I found myself thinking at the weekend that I needed to make some progress on certain goals so I had something to say at our weekly meeting other than ‘nope, haven’t done that yet’. I’ve not completed any of the goals yet per se, but I have made a lot of progress. I may even get one complete by our next meeting! Maybe even two! What has become of me!?!
It’s also, I think, benefitting my buddy. We dumped a goal that she really wasn’t committed to and identified a few others for her to aim for instead. Goals which, if she doesn’t stick to … well, I’ll resort to violence! Well, maybe not violence, maybe just the death stare.
Seriously though, I’m starting to notice a change in my behaviour because of having someone I need to be accountable to. I’m more focussed and a bit more driven. And I’m also becoming more accountable to myself, which is no harm at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very easily distracted, but a bit less so than I was a few weeks ago.
So the accountability buddy idea may be worth a try. I’m definitely becoming an advocate for it! I’ll still probably run a half marathon, take a thousand photographs up a mountain and then bake a 10-layer cake before most sensible people have had brunch, but I might actually get some stuff done after all of that! As long as there’s coffee, of course. Otherwise … well I’m not getting out of bed!