As we continue our self-management journey, I’d like to speak to self-accountability. The concept of accountability fascinates me. It’s one of those things that everyone agrees is important yet many fail to follow through on it for themselves. For leaders, I often find that accountability isn’t properly used to prevent failure. Instead, it is an afterthought that is discussed to find fault.
In the context of self-management, accountability cannot be an afterthought. Doing so will lead to failure. You’ll be constantly searching for what went wrong rather than ensuring things go right. And in addition to self-accountability and time management enable you to reach your goals.
On a personal level, individuals hire accountability coaches to keep progress toward their goals on track. But regardless of whether a coach is feasible for you, you can’t always rely on outside help to ensure you meet your goals. A strong foundation of self-accountability is needed.
We often let ourselves off the hook easier than we do others. So, it is very important your self-accountability system is robust. Start by reverse engineering your goal and setting quarterly targets. You know where you want to be, outline how you get there. Next, create a system to track your weekly or monthly progress. This allows you to break down big milestones into manageable bits. Finally assess yourself regularly. Grade yourself based on how well you've adhered to your plans. The important point is to reflect and take note of your barriers. This way you can refine and adjust your goal achievement plans.
A subset of self accountability is time management. Do not confuse this with time-tracking! While time-tracking can allow you to re-prioritize and exclude activities from your day, it can’t give you very deep insight. Time management can.
To effectively time manage, you need to categorize your time. For example, categories can be, emergency management, interruptions, planned tasks, and working uninterrupted. At the end of the day, make a list of the day’s activities and time spent doing each. It doesn’t have to be completely accurate. The important point is to make sure you categorize activities. This allows you to pinpoint the type of event or events that are not allowing you to spend your time how you’d like. For example, you may find that you’re spending a lot of time with interruptions. Perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and schedule “do not disturb” times during your workday.
I’m a big fan of Stephen Covey’s time management matrix. You may find this tool helpful to identify where and what you’re spending time on each day. Time is a precious, non-renewable resource!
Today’s leaders have so many responsibilities. With so much going on it’s easy to fall behind with personal and professional goals. Developing a robust self-accountability system enables you to be self-reliant in relation to achieving those goals. Additionally, proper time management is an important step to take in order to ensure you spend adequate on activities that will help you reach your goals. Finally, as a leader, you can help your employees achieve their goals by sharing what you’ve learned during your own self-accountability and time management endeavors.
If you’d like to discuss methods for self-accountability and time management further, contact me.