Using a Simple, Yet Scientifically Proven Method
Are you like I was and would LOVE to work on side projects or start a business on the side while still working at your current job?
We all know that is a smarter decision than downright quitting. Trust me, I’ve been there.
You come back from work completely exhausted and can’t conjure the energy to make it happen.
I was like that too. And believe it or not, there are millions of people like us too.
Imagine all the wasted potential.
You could be working on your dream project and make an impact in this world, if only you could find it in you to just start, build some momentum and keep at it.
And it’s so freaking hard. Again, I know, I’ve been there.
But things changed when I changed this aspect of my life:
I became ACCOUNTABLE for the things I’m doing.
In the short span of six months, I was able to accomplish the following:
- I learned 18 new skills, including fiction and non-fiction writing, drawing, NGO photography, storytelling, public speaking, day-to-day Spanish conversations, learning to learn, eComm management, and more;
- I got involved in more than 7 projects, most of which I’ve started;
- I met prolific writers and other personalities;
- I gained 7kg of muscles;
- I wrote and published 2 books;
- I released a video game;
- I opened up the world’s first and only story-driven online store;
- I diversified my revenue sources, getting paid for 4+ different projects;
- I got published by top Medium publications like The Startup;
- I contributed to Entrepreneur Magazine, Thought Catalog, and Thrive Global;
- I became a top writer in 15 categories on Medium;
- and more!
What Does Being Accountable Mean?
In its simplest form, it means you owe “something” to “someone”.
The most powerful “something” are:
- Money; and
The most powerful “someone” are:
- People you love; and
- People you care about.
Think about your previous attempts at starting something. A side project for example.
- Why did you (want to) do it?
- Who did you do it for?
- Was it necessary?
- What/who forced you to do it?
- What were the resources associated with doing it (money, people, etc)?
A powerful method to push you to action is what’s called the SUNK COST.
Think of any membership really. An easy example is a gym membership.
- If you have a gym in your house or building, how frequently do you actually use it?
- Now, if you spent money on your gym membership, are you going more frequently?
Very likely, right?
Back in January, I was in Málaga, Spain, and looked up the most expensive gym. I couldn’t really afford it. If I went there, it meant I had to cut other places I didn’t really want to.
But I decided to go there anyway. Getting up and going there was easy. I “sacrificed much” to have access to that gym. I HAD TO go, otherwise, I would have wasted precious money and time. After it became a habit to go, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Not working out had actually become harder than working out.
This is KEY: Not doing had become harder than doing!
THAT is the power of being accountable!
3 Ways to Become Accountable
1. Involve a Friend in Your Weekly Planning and Reflection
Average Effectiveness Rating: 2-3x
This is probably the cheapest and easiest option but is the least effective in my opinion.
Here’s how it works:
You find a partner/friend to participate with you. Every week, you meet and exchange on:
- Your goals for the week;
- What was — and was not — accomplished towards these goals;
- How you can do better next week;
- What your goals are for the next week; and
- How you will accomplish these goals.
This method is less effective because there’s only one other person involved, and therefore you both have to be accountable to even have the meeting.
In day to day craziness, it’s easy to forget to do it or set it aside because of other “priorities”.
If you fail to achieve your goals, you make a fool of yourself to one person only, usually someone who won’t make you feel bad for it anyway.
2. Make Your Goals and Progress Public
Average Effectiveness Rating: 5x+
This is how it all started for me. I did not do it intentionally, but I did it nonetheless.
At the co-working space I was working from in Málaga, everyone knew my goals every month. They were displayed on my screen at all times, I’d talk about them with people, and they’d ask questions about the progress.
But also, I had started writing on Medium back in January. To make my stories more relatable, I often wrote about my goals and how I accomplished them.
By having everything public, I don’t want to look like a fool that’s all talk and no game. I had to show results. Since I was the top #5 writer in Inspiration for a bit, I also had to make sure that my achievements were indeed inspiring.
I strongly encourage you to try this method.
3. Join an Accountability Program
Average Effectiveness Rating: 10x+
An accountability program is a system that puts incentives for you to do things. Some try the gamification approach, some try punishment, some try community, some try the coaching approach, etc.
There’s no right or wrong here. It depends on your personality.
If you’re driven by gratification, the gamification approach may work for you. Some programs give you rewards in the form of digital currencies or goods, discount coupons, or more. You receive them when you accomplish a goal you set for yourself.
If you’re driven by fear of losing something, the punishment method may work for you. Some programs implement it by having you set a goal and putting a “bet” that you’ll accomplish your goal in time. If you don’t, the money is taken from your account and put somewhere else. Basically, it costs you money to not accomplish your goal.
If you’re driven by social recognition, the community method may work for you. Basically, it’s a paid membership to a group where people report weekly goals and activities for every member to see.
The coaching approach is the next level. It’s more similar to the friend/partner approach from above, but is paid and more importantly, gives the person expert feedback, tips and truly pushes the person. Think of it almost like a mentor-mentee relationship.
Not all accountability methods yield the same results, but one thing is for sure:
Being accountable for what you do does dramatically increase your productivity and motivation.
I’d suggest trying all three methods from above to see what works best for you. I included my personal effectiveness ratings above based on my own experience, but I think it’s important to try for yourself.
The important part is that you can start being accountable NOW, at no cost, and with minimal effort. I can’t promise you the results I’ve had for myself, because we’re all different, but I can promise you it will help your productivity and motivation.
So think about this now:
- Who can I be accountable with?
- Can I make my goals public?
- Do I want to join a program?
- Which program is right for me?
I’m hoping this reflection will bring clarity to you will push you to try to become accountable for what you’re doing.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)
First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/3-alternatives-to-10x-your-productivity-almost-instantly-c507ca6c4c53