Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There are many challenges that individuals working from home face every day. One of those challenges is holding yourself accountable. Your to-do list is full, your calendar heavily jotted with various scribbles of tasks to be completed each day—but, who do you answer to if the work doesn’t get done? The answer is no one. Now granted there are exceptions. If you have clients, you most likely have deadlines—when deadlines are missed, you lose clients. It is that simple. However, you can slack on deadlines if you don’t hold yourself accountable. Slacking can cause you to miss out on other clients and/or jobs and cause you to not complete other non-client work on time.
So, how do you continue holding yourself accountable when working from home? Below are a list of items to help you stay on track and stay accountable for your daily task list.
1. Keep a daily list of tasks on your calendar, notepad or note application. I personally use Evernote and my Google calendar. I also find it helpful to jot down a simplified list on a sticky note and stick it to my computer monitor. The more you see this list, the better. It is hard to ignore something that is continually staring you in the face. Don’t make it a long drawn out process, but take some time each evening to write, or type, down tomorrow’s list and then place it in areas you check frequently throughout the day.
2. Share your list of tasks or goals with a friend. I have a good friend, who is also a work from home mom, whom I share my list with. We actually started this process recently. We have agreed that each Sunday night we will send each other our weekly list. During the week we will check in with each other and ensure that the other person is working on their list. There is something about making your tasks or goals visible to someone else that can really make you step up to the plate.
3. Work on one task at a time. While we all need to multitask from time to time, you also want to ensure that you prioritize your tasks and finish each one. Sometimes it can be difficult to work on only one thing at a time, but certain tasks are going to need your undivided attention in order to be completed on time.
4. Evaluate your work. At the end of the week step back and take a long look at what you have accomplished during the week. Look at your completed—and uncompleted—tasks as if you were a supervisor evaluating another employee. Where did you fall short? What were your strengths? Look at your work objectively and then write a plan that will allow you to fix any issues that may have occurred that week.
5. Don’t forget to reward yourself. Rewards are great incentives to make us work harder, even when we work from home. Think about something that you really want to do, but have been putting off because you had too much work to do. Maybe there is a movie you have wanted to watch for a while. Perhaps you have been longing to go on a shopping trip. It might even be a food that you normally don’t indulge in, but have really been craving. It doesn’t really matter what the nature of the reward is—what matters is that you set a certain number of tasks to be completed before you earn the reward. Rewarding yourself may sound a little silly at first; however, if you stick to the rules, you just might find that it will give you the encouragement you need to hold yourself accountable.
Do you have trouble holding yourself accountable when working from home? How do you hold yourself accountable? Leave a comment, I would love to hear your suggestions.