By March 11, 2013 Read More →

Working from home with an accountability partner

How an accountability partner increases productivity

Work from Home Wisdom - working from home accountability partners, Delia BourneDelia Bourne is a PR and marketing consultant and blogger, and has worked from home deep in the heart of the French countryside for over three years. Here she describes how she found her accountability partner and how much this helps her achieve her goals:

The joy of living in a beautiful place is sometimes difficult to reconcile with the very real feeling of isolation. I have wi-fi and all the modern technology I need to manage my business but nothing can beat the motivational support from a fellow home worker.

Last year, I did some brand building consultancy work with Angela Chippendale, an Australian living about 30 minutes from me, who runs a handbag making business. We got on very well as friends and often compared notes on hard it is to work from home.

So at the beginning of this year I suggested that she become my Accountability Partner. We discussed our overall goals – some big such as website and e-commerce projects, and building a blog list. Maybe most importantly, we discussed how as creatives we face the challenges of being creative and managing time, as well as running a company, and dealing with cash flow, finance and tax.

We realized that we needed to set some ground rules. We love to chat so we were very aware that we would need to be strict with our time. At the beginning of each week we discuss our weekly goals. Having an Accountability Partner makes me prepare my To Do list every week. It has made us both understand that our weekly To Do Lists must contain specific and clear goals. And that less is definitely more.

For example, stating on the weekly To Do list ‘Make website live’ means it doesn’t happen but listing the issues to be resolved does work. The project needs to be broken down into bite sized items. The feeling of achievement is doubled when you work with an Accountability Partner.

We have found that visualizing our goals, talking about them, and then writing them down has increased our productivity levels. The Monday morning telephone call has a strict time frame. We allow 10 minutes max going “off-piste” onto family and social topics and then we rein each other in and each have 15 – 20 minutes to discuss our goals for that particular week.

During the course of the week we have a “Check-in” midweek on a Wednesday and then a “How was it for you?” debrief on Friday. We do occasionally have a coworking day which is a great way to discuss ideas in more depth and swop new ways of doing things.

What makes the perfect Accountability Partner?

It helps to have:

  • The same or similar goals, to understand the challenges you face.
  • A complementary skill set: Ange recently recorded a TV interview so I was able to give her media training and she has a passion for words and supports me with my writing.
  • A similar spirit and perspective to life.
  • Someone who isn’t a Yes person…. who can detect BS and confront it!
  • You must trust and respect your AP. You must listen to what they say and be open to constructive criticism.

    Above all everything that is discussed is CONFIDENTIAL.

    It has been a revealing process. It is a working relationship that is therapeutic too. We have had to confront areas that we are weak on and find ways of tackling them. We give each other the courage to take a little more risk.

    It is tough love but the benefits have been increased motivation and productivity. We feel that we are now moving forward effectively together to reach our indivdual goals.

    With the right accountability partner there is no hiding place and that’s a good thing!!

    Delia is a freelance writer and PR consultant with hand-picked clients based in the UK. Her blog Mon Coeur Est Dans La Campagne is a visual diary of her life living in rural bliss deep in the French countryside, discovering French life, language and culture.

Posted in: Isolation

3 Comments on "Working from home with an accountability partner"

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  1. Having an accountability partner is essential to surviving running a business. I’ve had a few over the years … as their priorities changes, we’ve each moved on to other things.

    The hardest part of having/being an accountability partner is being tough on each other. You become close when you meet so often and it becomes harder to call each other on your crap. But having the right person really makes your business a joy.

  2. Delia says:

    Hi Andrea I think you have to agree with your accountability partner at the outset that “calling each other on your crap” shouldn’t be taken personally. The fact that we are also friends helps us to be completely honest and truthful with all aspects of our business lives.

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