Are you Accountable?
“I’ll have that to you by 5pm.”
Then suddenly it’s tomorrow, and you never sent it. Sound familiar? Hope not!
In life, reputation is everything, especially in business. As you grow into your life as a young professional you’ll find that you have an increasingly more tasks and responsibility to prioritize and less time to which it can be delegated. This case becomes even stronger for any of you aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
As much as we may feel like we’re invincible, we’re not. We can’t be everywhere at once. We won’t follow through on everything we planned. But you never want to be known as the person that talks a big game, yet does nothing.
No one likes that person.
You want to be accountable. You should expect to be held accountable by others, e.g. your team, manager, leadership team. And you should also hold yourself accountable for your actions.
Remember: you’re a product of the actions and decisions you’ve made thus far in your life.
I realize it’s tough to stay on top of everything. So, being the awesome person that I am, I’ve composed a short list of three things that will help you stay accountable.
Keep A Calendar
My mom used to gift me calendars each year. I never really saw much value in them. And because of this, they usually found their way to the garbage can. It’s clear to me, now, that she was trying to instill simple and proper time management skills in me.
It’s funny how once things are written and visible on paper we start to take them more seriously. At least that’s how it was for me. See, as effective as we think our mental check list may be, they still fail us at times. It might not be often, but it still might cost you. Take some time to sit down and plan out your weekly schedule. Prioritize what needs to get done and how much time you expect to (or want to) spend on each task.
It’s smart to knock our the most pertinent/difficult responsibilities early on in the day. Doing so tends to give me a sense of accomplishment. And as a bonus, it seems to make the day go my more quickly and smoothly.
Organize your social life
“Happy hour… or work?” The infamous question.
I get it. Drinks with friends is fun. It’s awesome. It gives you some energy. And you’re not seen as the social nitwit. But as all of that may be, it isn’t necessarily the best use of our time. No, we don’t want to become workaholics and abandon our social lives, but it is essential to strike a balance between the two.
Choose what days you’d like to enjoy some leisure time and—ahem—schedule other engagements around that. Your friends may not understand, but hey… if they can’t forgive you for taking control of your life… maybe it’s time to look elsewhere and rethink your inner circle.
And if you’re really smart, you’ll mix in some martinis with business and get the 2-for-1. But don’t tell anyone I told you 😉
Don’t try everything at once
In start up mode, it’s easy to convince ourselves that everything needs to be done…Right. NOW. And while a sense of urgency is great and fantastic, you need time to stay level-headed and relaxed. Quality of work. Not quantity.
You’ll find it quite literally impossible to hold yourself accountable by doing a million things at once. Break tasks down into small manageable goals. Then cross each off the list as you complete them. Doing this will keep your from drowning in your work, and it will also provide you some motivation and assurance. Learn to say “No”, and never commit to anything until you’re 100% sure you’ll be able to do it.
And that’s all she wrote… 3 quick ways to stay accountable both with your colleagues and with yourself. If you can’t wait until next Wednesday to see me, follow me on Twitter. Stop by. Say hello. I don’t bite.