On Monday, I asked you to tell me all the exciting things you were working on for 2014. Wow! You actually responded.
Ahhh, so validating.
I can honestly say HtS readers are doing some of the most interesting things collectively. Here’s what some of you are working on:
Thanks for getting back to me, guys. I appreciate it.
As we all work on pushing towards our best year yet, one of the most powerful things we can do is get leverage on ourselves by finding an accountability partner. We talked about this briefly last week, but I wanted to give you some background on the psychological underpinnings of this strategy — and the exact way to select a good match.
(Or, if you don’t feel like reading and just want me to find an accountability partner FOR you, you can fill out this form.)
If you’ve been following Hack the System for some time now, you’ll remember that at one point while in San Francisco I hired a girl (Hi Kara!) off Craigslist to slap me in the face, and help me increase my productivity.
The post went viral and took over the front page of Reddit (here’s how I did it), which was great. But It was also an extremely successful personal experiment. My productivity, tracked by Rescue Time, went from 38% to 98% – a four-fold increase essentially from having someone sit beside me for an entire afternoon a threaten me with bodily harm.
At $8 per hour, it was a worthwhile thing to try, and cool to see that the crazy ideas in my head actually work really well sometimes.
But over the long term and with all the traveling I do, it’s hard to find a new “slapper” every time I’m in a new city or country.
And of course, there will be times where I’m not going have a slapper around me, like when I’m doing really early morning or late night work, or when I’m suddenly “in the zone.”
So I had to find a more reliable way of staying productive. After thinking about why the “slap experiment” worked — I realized that it wasn’t the actual slap that was the effective in keeping me on track.
It was simply the fact that another human being was holding me accountable. Someone cared about my progress.
I knew I needed to someone else to me to keep me on track — so I went on the hunt for an “accountability buddy.”
But I didn’t just look for anybody to fill the position. Here’s the criteria that I used to find the right fit. Feel free to use this in your search:
1) Find someone who takes productivity as seriously as you do, and who needs someone to hold them accountable
Try to scout out people in your circle of friends, mastermind members, coworkers, or anyone else around you who is serious about getting their shit together, and ideally, is also looking for or is at least interested in the idea of an accountability partner.
The reason you want them to take it as seriously as you do is because they’ll be really into it, and keep you on top of it when you need it most. You want somebody who is going to keep you on your game when you need it most. You need someone to push you when you really don’t want to work.
Also, if they’re holding you accountable, and you’re holding them accountable, a little competitive nature is always bound to come up inevitably, which pushes you to do more and better.
Look for people who already show signs of interest in being productive. People who use to do lists and productivity apps are great candidates.
2) Find someone who is brutally honest
A person who is straight up with you and willing to call your bluff is exactly the type of person you want. There are always going to be times where you’re going to want to slack off and chill out more than you really should, and these are exactly the times where a straight up person will help you most.
The little bit of discomfort that this person brings to your world by constantly being on your case when you really deserve it is what is essential to growing stronger and getting things done.
3) Set consequences
Put something significant on the line, otherwise there’s no incentive for you to strive for more and stick to what you set out to do. Remember The Bet Switch Mechanism?
Negative reinforcement works wonders as the pressure from fear tends to always motivate stronger than the promise of pleasure.
Brainstorm important things you can put on the line. Things that you know will hurt to lose if you fail to stick to the plan. Money, your favorite pair of shoes, an embarrassing picture, your new ps4, or whatever. Pick something meaningful to you and put it all on the line.
The more painful and risky you make the stakes, the more likely it is you’ll actually follow through.
4) Set regular check-ins
Schedule a regular day and time to see how progress is coming along, through meeting up in person, on skype, through email, or any other medium.
The key is to make it regular, and to have that constant engagement to keep each other on top of things.
The science behind it is that when you proclaim your goal in public or to someone else, your inner psychology can’t help but to keep you moving in that direction.
You could start off by checking in on Skype once a day to go over objectives, then eventually move to weekly check-ins.
Test out different schedules to see what works best for you. The important thing is to make sure you keep it regular.
These four tiny steps might be obvious, but that’s even more of a reason why we shouldn’t overlook them.
If you’re a fan of working smart, and like the idea of doing the little things that produce massive results down the road, finding the right person to hold you accountable is definitely something you need to do.
Sometimes you are your own worst enemy and that’s when a good ally comes in handy.
Want me to help you find an accountability partner? Just fill out this form and I’ll match you up with someone great. All free. My gift to you: