Buddy Up: Accountability on a Whole New Level

Do you frequently miss deadlines?  Are milestones unnerving?  Do you struggle to stay on track?

Let’s end the frustration. When facing a big project or pesky tasks with or without a deadline looming, try this.  Find a calendar buddy. What’s a calendar buddy?  That’s someone who will allow you to share their calendar for accountability.  When you are accountable to someone else, you are more likely to view the assignment more earnestly.

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I encourage my clients who are struggling to cart away their discard items to schedule dates on their calendars. Pencil in upcoming household hazardous waste (HHW), E-waste, and shred events. Load filled donation boxes into their cars so the next time they pass their favorite charity store, they can drop off the goods. But what happens when intentions are bonafide, but follow-through is problematic?

When commitments are made to straighten up closets, garage, or pantry but they concede uncertainty about their ability to complete the assignment, I suggest adding the task to my E-calendar.  I am impressed by the success as this process sets up a new level of accountability.  In exchange for posting on my calendar, I let them know that I will be treating this as if it is a “REAL” billable appointment.  There is the expectation that they will be present, and that I am depending upon them.  As they do not wish to let me down (or themselves), they have been diligent about completing their assignments.

There have been cases where extenuating circumstances have arisen, and we have rescheduled.  Those situations have been rare, and they have had the forethought to inform me that changes were necessary. This warms my heart because it means they are not just blowing it off. To keep them on track, my calendar sends auto-reminders to them.  The first goes out at the time the appointment is set to let them know it’s official and the cost of my time if they were billed.  Another is sent a week before the due date, then 24 hours ahead, and then on the due date as a final “you’ve got this.”  We all need reminders, some of us need more than others.  Sometimes they beat the calendar and send me excited messages letting me know that they are celebrating a big win and a sigh of relief. 

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You may think it is silly to get jazzed over something so trivial as a donation run, but I have to say that it truly is a major feat for someone who has been staring at items for months, maybe years not sure how to take the first step, and unable to make a move.  When they finally get those boxes or bags out of their space, the relief is palpable and shedding that excess weight allows them to enjoy their work surfaces, their rooms, their homes with greater appreciation.

As for me, you can bet I am either celebrating along side them or virtually because it is a notable win for me too because it means they “get it” and with this new skill set they will continue to do so. And if they need a tune-up in the future, they know I will be there for them to help make readjustments.

See if you have a willing calendar accountability buddy when task accomplishment is just too darn big and uncomfortable.  If possible, select someone who will be gentle, non-judgmental but firm with you.  No sense in making you feel bad or letting you off the hook too easily. Then treat them to a steamy latte or an icy margarita at the project’s conclusion to share your appreciation and success.

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For more practical tips, check out ThePracticalSort.com.  Need a hand getting started or finishing organizing projects around your home?  ThePracticalSort.com is your source for home organizing solutions.