How Accountability Beats Procrastination

Beating procrastination can be challenging.

You’re well aware of how important your to-do list is, but you can’t find a way to trick yourself into being productive. You start to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, and in the blink of an eye, you fall into a spiral of shame that only makes things worse.

Luckily there’s something you can do to break this vicious cycle.

Let’s jump right in.

Accountability Is the Key

On June 10th Raoul published on his Facebook profile:

“Together with the great Ivana, we’ll be recording our weekly agency secrets. Updates. We’ve been having a couple of them already and found out we can share the nuggets not only with others who are in e-commerce or are running an agency; basically any digital entrepreneur who’s running a business as well as trying to run a family.

No fluff. Real talk.

Our struggles, our wins and the lessons we took from that.

Important: it’s not going to be a “show” where we chit chat. But we’re gonna keep it short, powerful and honest. To start or end the day with. To listen to when you’re doing your afternoon workout. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Stay tuned for more. “

At first glance, this looks like a simple announcement of the podcast.

In reality, it’s much more than that. As Raoul explained in the first episode, this post was a way to hold himself accountable to Ivana and other people:

“When we came up with the idea to set something up like this (podcasts; a broadcast, a talk where we exchange ideas), we both knew we were doing something pretty wildly outside our comfort zone.

I’m a good talker, but I’m also a thinker. So, it’s challenging for me to come up with live talks. I like to talk a lot, but it’s also difficult for me to find topics that I want to talk about. Because I think, “Oh, well, maybe that’s not ideal. Maybe that’s not relevant for people.”

The whole idea of this podcast is in line with the fact that I like to teach. I like to help people out. I want to share my story. Obviously, there’s a psychological side to it. I want to process my thoughts, and it’s a good exercise to put things down, and I’ll replicate them for other people so that you can learn from them or other people can learn from them.

But still, the anxiety was there. And then it’s like you know what? I should just announce it as an accountability part. I have to say out loud.

Because we put the thought on the horizon, now it’s like, “Hey, it’s clear that people expect something from us.”  

Why Is Accountability So Powerful?

We are social animals.

If you don’t have someone to hold you accountable, it’s easier to fall off the wagon. But, if you say to a friend, colleague, or family member you’re going to do something, you have an inner drive to follow through with it. 

At the same time, having an accountability partner can help you overcome analysis paralysis and perfectionism, as Raoul and Ivana pointed out:

“Raoul: I think accountability partnership can be a super nice hack. People have issues finishing something they don’t like to do or think it’s super big and get easily distracted by stuff. There’s always something nicer to do than that one thing you’re supposed to be doing.

Ivana: That you don’t particularly enjoy doing.

Raoul: Exactly. You have to do some things because you know it’s necessary to get somewhere you want to be. But it’s not always in line with what you want to do. When you’re having problems getting something done, say it out loud and share it with other people. Especially when you think: “Oh, it’s so difficult to put effort into that because there are so many other things that are a little bit easier to do, and therefore the bigger one isn’t going to happen.”

Ivana: You have analysis paralysis, overthinking, wanting to be closest to perfect from the beginning.

Raoul: It is part of our excuse – “Okay, this is such a big thing. I need to sit in this room. I need to have my office around. It has to be completely quiet.”

Ivana: You need to have better equipment. You need perfect lighting. You need to have, I don’t know, better tech.

Raoul: It’s raining outside. I don’t feel like it now.

Ivana: No, it’s too late now.

Raoul: Well, that doesn’t put down the quality of your work, as long as you care less about the environment and care more about the output.

Ivana: When you’re a lady, you want to have your hair, nails, face, clothing done. So, everything needs to be sparkling. My biggest breakthrough as a woman was when I clicked the record button, and my hair was messy, uncombed, and I just had my face washed. I went live and was like, “I don’t care. I want to say something that can be important to people. And I feel that’s important for me to do it for myself.”

You need to keep the knife in your leg and pull it. You need to feel the pain; get it real, get it outside. And let all imperfections be visible.”

But How to Start?

If you want to use accountability as a hack to get over that postponing brain, but you don’t have an accountability partner (yet), use social media. Here is how Ivana did it on one occasion:

“I use my Instagram, which is in Serbian. I have a small following there, full of supportive people, and a more of an intimate environment. I go there and say: “Wednesday is the first day I’m getting back in the gym.” No excuses. I don’t care what happens.

So, that Wednesday was terrible. I probably had 20 excellent excuses for why I shouldn’t go, and the weather was awful. But, I said to myself: “You’re going outside, and you are going to sit in your car and drive to the gym.” And that’s what I did. Because that’s who I am. That’s what I do. I promised to myself and others. “

You don’t need a magic wand to be accountable, but it can be a useful tool for overcoming procrastination and perfectionism. And if you need a little bit of encouragement before you put yourself in the spotlight, listen to episode 1 of the eCom Independent podcast!

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