Changing Habits

The Reason You Get It Done – Personal Accountability

Personal accountability
wrote this on January 23, 2012
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So you read about David Allen’s method – Getting Things Done.  Every time the word productivity pops on the web you’re getting a notification via Google alerts.  You organized everything you’re doing online in an awesome productivity app that sends you notifications and reminders to keep you on top of your game.

Still, you’re constantly dropping balls and get discouraged by your lack of success; you just can’t seem to apply what you learned.

Success (or lack thereof), was studied extensively by people like Brian Tracy.  Brian explains that “Most people engage in activities that are tension-relieving rather than goal-achieving” and that’s why they fail to reach their goal.  That means you’ll need to go out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals and to actually apply the techniques you learned…. No online application will do that for you.

GTD is a methodology that teaches you step-by-step how to get things done.  The system was developed through years of extensive trial and error and is working for millions of people all around the world, so how come you’re failing to nail it?

 “The price of success must be paid in full, in advance!”

Human nature dictates that even if you know that something works, you’ll still try to do it differently because you’re always looking for shortcuts through the more uncomfortable tasks, those tasks that require you to do something extra.

But there is no need to invent shortcuts in a proven system, you just need to follow the proven steps and be accountable for the outcome. 

As funny as it may sound, many novice and not so novice GTD practitioners try to “short-cut” around the Weekly Review. The reasons are plentiful:

  • You don’t see it as a part of the regular workflow – you actually need to go back and check what you did.
  • It often may require you to redo and improve something you already did.
  • And let’s face it, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find that you’re probably messing up (at first) quite a lot.

It’s unfortunate that the Weekly Review is “skipped” because, in my opinion, it’s the most important step.  It’s what holds us accountable! 

I’m not going to teach you how to do a weekly review – that can be the topic of another blog post.  I’m going to give you three tips that will help you stay with it and follow-through on this important step in the process.

#1 You can get by with a little help from your friends

Sometimes all we need is a support group.  If you can’t find someone to “GTD with”, follow the #GTD Hashtag on Twitter or join a GTD LinkedIn group.   You’ll be able to interact with a large like-minded community; it’s free and through the relationships you will create there you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable.

#2 Develop your personal accountability – Set a Date with yourself

Treat the Weekly Review as any time sensitive action.  Schedule the Weekly Review as a recurring event on the same day & time every week.  If we treat as a critical part of the system and set up a time for this action, then it will be easier to do, as opposed to ignoring it.  When we ask many GTD practitioners when they do their weekly reviews, you can’t believe how many respond “whenever I have some time in the week…if I get to it…”  The successful GTD practitioners respond succinctly with an answer similar to the following: “Every Friday at 9:00 – 9:45 AM at my local Starbucks”.  The answer says it all – it’s part of their productivity DNA, it’s not a nice-to-have, but rather it’s embedded in their process.

Personal Accountability with IQTELL

#3 Trust yourself

GTD is by definition a “trusted system”, when you can’t trust yourself, how can you trust a system?  If you’re accountable for your actions, you can trust them to serve your purpose.  When an important part of that system is the weekly review, you can bet that you’ll get it done! Try a productivity app to help you review easier, it helps…

Focus and develop your personal accountability – it will stop to be the reason you fail and become the reason you get things done!

* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.

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13 responses to “The Reason You Get It Done – Personal Accountability”

  1. This article is explaining in great depth the importance of the weekly review. Never have I considered making a calendar entry for my review. Even though my review has a recurring task repeated on weekly basis and indeed does show up in my calendar, I wanna move it to some better time, where I have more energy.

    That way I will give it even more priority than it has right now. I am not going to make it Sunday evening, before the bed week summary.

    • Team IQTELL says:

      Hi Bojan,

      I transferred my weekly reviews to Wednesdays, 9-10 PM. I think that it works better for me since I’m hitting the review without taking a break from doing…and during the weekends I’m usually in “unwind mode”.

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