I've been working with an accountability partner for the past twenty days. Before we began, we each stated what we wanted to get out of the experience...which included what we wanted to do each day, how we wanted the partner to respond, and how we'd communicate.
For me, I said I wanted to write and work on my book each day. I'd email my partner with specifically what I'd done. I didn't need my partner to read or respond to it, I just needed to know that she could read it and she might respond. That would make me accountable for not just working but also accomplishing something each day.
After twenty days of emailing each other, I can honestly say that there's been several days I wouldn't have worked on the book without her. I find the emails helpful and encouraging. I worried that it'd be just one more thing on my to do list but it doesn't feel that way. We talk about what else is going on and it's become a quick email to a good friend.
I'll definitely use an accountability partner again. It's been great for building the habit. It provides not just accountability but structure and companionship. I have learned a few things for next time though...
- The partner needs to be someone you don't know that well. It doesn't work for me and my husband to be accountability partners. We see the bad days or the lack of sleep and we are quick to give each other a break. We are too lax. It needs to be someone I have great respect for but don't see often, someone I wouldn't want to disappoint.
- The way I set it up has worked for building a habit. I later realized that my ultimate goal wasn't to build a habit though, it was to finish my book. Those are very different goals. One is ongoing and has a little each day approach. The other has a set deadline and needs a get sh*t done attitude. When setting up the structure, know exactly what you want/need out of the relationship.
- It needs an end. We set it up to last for the month of May. That's perfect for us as we have June 1st deadlines. I wouldn't want it be ongoing. I work better with a finish line. Whether it's a year of creative habits or a month of an accountability partner, I need to be able to see the finish line.
Have you tried working with an accountability partner before? After reading Better than Before, I realized that it works better for certain personalities. Just another good reason to figure out what works for you but I'm wondering...how will you know if it works for you, if you don't try it? :)