With each new year comes an opportunity to evaluate your business goals. While setting a goal is great, a lot of business owners struggle to put it into action and stay accountable. Whether they’re taking on too many projects, juggling too many “big ideas,” or struggling to have a clear goal, it all comes down to accountability.
We don’t want to disappoint people and we don’t want to feel like we’re not getting things done. Let’s talk about seven ways you can hold yourself accountable.
#1 Better calendar management
To put yourself in the right mindset for your business, you need to make sure you’re being effective with your time. One easy way to figure out if you’re using your time wisely is with better calendar management. Every appointment, team meeting, or another important event should be on your calendar.
One of the best ways to set up your meetings for success is to schedule a 15-minute buffer before and after the call. This time block will allow you to deal with tech issues at the beginning of the call and answer any lingering questions once you wrap up.
#2 Stop scheduling excuses not to work
Taking time to step away from your desk is important, rather that’s exercising or walking your dog. But these tasks should never be a distraction from your business. How can you expect to get anything done if you’re constantly being disrupted?
At the end of the day, accountability is about staying focused on your daily and long-term goals. Plan to take this time away from your desk either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. This will help you to create a more structured schedule for yourself, and keep you focused when you’re being productive.
#3 Make it digital
One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk into my office are my giant whiteboards. These dry and erase calendars always list out my big projects that I’m focused on. But for my day-to-day meetings and tasks, I always rely on my Google calendar.
Unlike paper planners, which can get lost or damaged, you can take your digital calendar everywhere. Plus, you can set 15 minute warnings and notifications so you have plenty of time to focus before your next appointment or meeting. My team and I even color code our calendar so we always know what tasks we’re working on and easily schedule time to meet. If your business team works remotely, a digital calendar should be your go-to business tool.
#4 Find an accountability partner with similar goals
Even if you have the best of intentions, sometimes you need someone else to keep you accountable. That’s why I encourage business owners to seek out an accountability partner. Rather than relying on your spouse, your accountability partner should be a friend who has your best interest in mind. Steve Dotto has been my accountability partner for over two years, and he is amazing at giving honest feedback that has helped me improve and grow my business.
Not sure how to pick a good accountability partner? Here are few tips:
– Make sure they’re respectful of your time
o Every time I reach out to Steve I always ask if he’s available to talk. This lets him know that I’m respectful of his schedule, and he’ll make time whenever he’s available.
– Be an active listener
o When you agree to be someone’s accountability partner, you’re making a commitment to provide honest feedback and take criticism – even when it’s not what you want to hear.
– Make sure it’s a healthy dynamic
o To avoid jealousy, make sure you let your spouse or significant other know about your professional relationship with your accountability partner.
The biggest issue when selecting an accountability partner is to make sure they’re on the same page as you in regards to their business. Don’t sugarcoat it – this relationship only works if you’re both willing to workshop together.
#5 Join an accountability group
In addition to your accountability partner, you can also seek out a workshop or meet-up to help keep yourself accountable. In my group coaching, also known as “Hives,” my students always say that their favorite part of the group is the accountability.
Since we meet every two weeks, the group members know they need to get their homework done. Even just working together one-on-one keeps my students motivated to bring their best selves to every Hive meeting.
#6 Find an in-person accountability session
One of the bonuses of online courses are the opportunities to meet in-person. Considering that you and the other students are all following the same core lessons, these meet-ups are a great time to hear how everyone is applying what they learn to their business.
As a member of Marie Forleo’s B School, I always look forward to the in-person meet ups at the end of the course. This isn’t just a good time to chat, it’s also a great opportunity to make potential business connections.
#7 Announce your goals publically
I’ll admit, this is a tough strategy for some people. I get it – publicly announcing our goals isn’t easy. But you’ll be amazed at how focused you’ll feel when you know that other people are counting on you.
Last year, I announced to my Facebook followers that my word of the year was going to be “intentional.” It wasn’t easy trying to stay accountable in following through on my weekly Sipping with Sue B. meet ups, especially when trying to deal with time differences in Barcelona and Italy, but at the end of the year I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment.
If you would prefer not to make a public announcement to your followers or customers, write it in your journal or tell a close family member. Making a declaration about your goals helps to put a little pressure of you, and will help set you up for success.
Now’s the time to make better business habits
Simply making a goal at the beginning of the new year isn’t a guarantee that will you accomplish anything. Give yourself the best chance of being successful by setting up several layers of accountability for yourself.
To learn how I personally approach productivity and get so much done, sign up for my Better Business Habits series.