Accountability has been a subject of fascination for me recently. While skimming a homemaking group on Facebook recently, I came across this idea of “accountability” posts. Being a work from home mom currently, this was interesting to me. A self-professed workaholic, I spent yesterday (Sunday) cleaning my office and digitizing most of my files while my laundry and housekeeping ended up being completed in a frenzy around 8 pm.
I hyper focus. I always have. Finding one thing that completely befuddles me or feels undone, I will make said thing the focus of my hyper attention until it is perfect, even while other responsibilities end up suffering in the meantime. Several business coaches have commented on my perfectionist tendencies, and have tried to help me learn that Good is Good Enough (I am reminded of these session by Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, which I just finished reading).
My office is spotless now, by the way, which has completely boosted my Monday morning attitude. I was excited to “come” to work today via the commute up the stairs. A side effect of my cleaning frenzy was that I returned to my organizational roots. In the past I have always kept a paper planner as my workday “brain”. Through the pandemonious and frenzied rush to the cloud, I left my paper notebook, thinking it was out of date. I moved to Google calendar, tossed the paper planner, and moved on.
It never felt right. There, I said it.
Now, in 2020, most people are in the cloud, whether private (through VPN and other tools) or public (through moving to cloud apps like QuickBooks Online). I feel like there is less judgment when you see someone with a paper planner, which is a nice change from the looks you get as a cloud consultant who has a paper planner.
Studies have actually shown that writing things on paper helps you remember them better, and the recent worldwide outage of Google calendar for half a day will no longer disrupt my meeting schedule, though it may disrupt the other attendees!
So, this weekend I pulled out the paper planner (I still buy them, but they sit mainly unused in my desk), got on Asana, made a new project called Daily Plan, and mapped out everything I needed to do at that moment. I added to it through the evening. Guess what I found? 3 pages of to dos. I’m not just talking about things I need to do as a one off, but a disconcerting number were responsibilities I’ve taken on as the founder of KHB, and have never delegated. Could they be delegated? Probably. Will I delegate them today? Baby steps.
From Asana, I printed (sorry for the leaves I killed during the printing of this document, but it is critically important to my not losing my mind) the list, pulled the agenda from my Google calendar, and proceeded to highlight the most critically important things I needed to get done today. At the end of today, I plan to update the calendar and my planner, update Asana, and do the same thing for tomorrow.
Routine kills chaos. And the planner adds more accountability, which is sort of like my own personal accountability group.
The accountability thing has sat with me, mainly because even though the theory was that you post before and after pictures of your clean space, there was little to no judgment. People encouraged the poster to get the job done, and many times the OP would try to beat the time they completed the job last time. Such a simple premise, with great results.
How can we use that to be more efficient professionals? Can accountability kill chaos? I think it can. For now, I’m using my new routine and my paper planner.