From waking up late in the morning till sleeping late at night, we have someone in our arsenal to blame.
There is always a wretch lurking around us to combat and foil our attempts to do anything we want in life.
Lack of personal accountability makes a person take the easy route to blame others in life and excuse themselves from their path to success.
What is Personal Accountability?
It means knowing what you need, taking actions to meet your need and be there to be answerable for your achieved results.
It is taking responsibility for your actions and having the commitment to achieve it without finding an easy way to blame others.
Let me explain it with a simple example.
Imagine that, you need to finish a project report today. Personal accountability means planning and taking up the necessary work needed to complete it. And in case, if you fail to do so, you should be answerable to the concerned on why you can’t finish the report?
Importance of Personal Accountability
- To understand what works: When you stay accountable to your work, you will learn to find a solution for each issue that prevents you from finishing it. You will learn what actions are working and what is stopping you.
- To avoid procrastination: You won’t wait for the perfect moment to begin your work. You know there is no such thing called perfect. Personal accountability is all about not providing excuses.
- To achieve goals: Personal accountability is the only way by which you can retain your focus on the end That is your goal. If you need to be there to be answerable for your success and failures, then either you will learn to reach your goal or you will learn lessons on why something is not achievable on life.
- To avoid distractions: Often our work gets hampered by the unexpected external factors. An ordinary person would get distracted by the first disturbance. However, a person who stays accountable knows what to anticipate and how to tackle those distractions.
- For progress: It is absolutely essential to show progress on anything you set out to do. Otherwise, you will escape from your work when the first excuse knocks you out. Accountability will help you track your progress.
- To hit the deadline: It is not just enough to finish our work, but also on time. Accountability helps a person to not only reach the target but also on time. It helps you to remain focused.
How to be Accountable to Yourself?
We human need someone else to monitor and tell us whether we are on track on each of our activities.
That’s why we go to the office each day and report all our tasks to our boss. The boss sets up our weekly, monthly, yearly goals. You know what will happen if you delay your work. You will be fired without consideration.
That’s why we stick to deadlines at the office. However, if you look at the responsibility you have outside the office, you will understand your laziness and your lack of focus.
If that is your case, you need to stay accountable in all areas of life. For the areas where you don’t have a boss, you need to remain as your own boss and do your job. Because that’s going to make you stay more productive. In the long run, it will pave the way for success and achievement.
Below are the few crucial steps you need to take when you begin to practice accountability.
Goals are not a term in office glossary. If should be used in all your day to day activities where you like to achieve anything significant. Every action of yours should make you take a step towards your goal. Remember, goal defines your direction and target.
Plans to meet the goals:
Next, is the sequence of steps you need to take to meet the goal. If your goal is to finish a project report before the end of the day, then your plan should be to find 2-hour distraction free time to finish it off. It also means planning the exact time when you can start working (ex: 11:00 A.M to 1:00 P.M)
Once you figure out your plan. You need to consciously measure your progress at specific intervals.
In the case to finish your report, you need to ask the below questions to measure the progress. You can take 2-minutes break for each 30 minutes and check on your progress.
- Have you started the work at 11:00 A.M?
- Have you completed 1/4th of work at 11:30 A.M?
- Can you meet the goal at 1:00 P.M?
- Do you foresee any delay/difficulties?
This tendency to measure your progress is the beginning towards staying accountable for your work. You don’t wait for others to ask these questions. You are being proactive and taking steps to make sure that you can attain your goal in the defined time frame.
If the goal is small enough to achieve on a day, measuring progress once or twice would help you to stay accountable.
However, if you are trying to stay accountable for your long term goal then weekly, monthly and even yearly reviews with yourself is essential to find out how you are progressing. In the case of any digression, you can pull yourself back to the track.
Making Necessary Changes:
The purpose of measuring progress and reviews are just to keep you on track. They will help you to identify why you can’t hit your target and what you can do about it.
For example, while you work to finish your project report on the planned time 1:00 P.M, you receive an unexpected phone call that takes 30 minutes of your time. When you check back your progress, you find that you can’t complete by 1:00P.M.
So you make a plan to allocate 30 minutes post-lunch to work on the task again. You also switch off our mobile to avoid further distraction.
When you track your progress, you will find out where exactly you go wrong and what action you need to take to fix the issue. You won’t expect your boss to tell you on how to resolve this.
Personal accountability is the single most successful trait of entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. They know what needs to be done without others reminding them constantly. That makes them not only successful in professional life but also in personal life.
The world is too busy to notice our faults and try to correct our mistakes. It should be our responsibility. Next time, when you are late to office don’t blame the traffic. Plan on how to start early so you can avoid being later.
Be responsible and accountable for your life.