5 tips to holding yourself accountable
There are many reasons deciding to be your own boss, however that may look for you, is scary. Well, it's actually kind of terrifying. There's this strong tone of excitement with the idea, but there's also a part of you that knows it means you're a little bit crazy too.
One of the scary thoughts for many of us branching out to be a bad-ass boss babe is the question of how to hold ourselves accountable. After all, there's no supervisor or manager to watch over you, ensuring you keep your focus on your work. You're all on your own. How are you going to keep your eye on the prize, day in and day out, as you work to grow your business or side hustle?
If you resonate with this, I've got five solid tips to holding yourself accountable.
1. know your habits - they help frame your mindset
Like my shirt says, my day starts with coffee. And by that, I mean my work day. I could do a million things in the morning but no matter what, when it's time for me to settle down and start working, I'm doing it with coffee in hand. The action of grabbing my mug, and enjoying the scent of a fresh brew, is like a trigger for my brain. It's what gets my head in the game, what gets me ready to work.
It doesn't have to be coffee. For some, it's as small as lighting a candle. For others, they like meditating before starting their work. No matter what, it's a pleasurable habit that helps you enter your work day with a smile on your face. Something that helps create a positive frame of mind.
I also have habits for when I hit a mid-day slump. Sometimes I need a 5-minute dance party, other times I grab a glass of cold-pressed juice to refresh my body, mind, and soul. What are habits you enjoy that you can start incorporating into your working hours to frame a positive mindset?
2. loop in a friend
Like kindergarteners who hold hands to ensure one of you doesn't randomly wander off alone, the buddy system works for entrepreneurs. Have a creative hustler in your life? Support each other in maintaining accountability with weekly (or daily, if you really struggle) check-ins. Rely on that person to crack the whip if you shoot them a text letting them know you're struggling. Be there for each other and encourage the other's business ventures to grow even more.
Don't have a buddy in your life already? Let me introduce you to Twitter. Ignore those who cry out that 'Twitter is dead!'. It's a space full of incredible boss babes working hard on making their goals a reality. I have met some of the most inspiring and rad people from all over the world rocking their entrepreneurial lives. They've always been there to cheer me on, and I for them.
If you need help connecting with other creative hustlers and entrepreneurs, Twitter Chats are great ways to meet your perfect accountability buddy! I suggest checking out #CreateLounge or #NectarChat.
3. consider who will be missing out
As I was struggling with the scary decision of opening myself to the freelance world, a coach of mine said something that eased all (okay, most) of my worries. She told me to think about all the incredible businesses who would be missing out because they didn't have access to the skills I could bring them. Who might not thrive as much because I wasn't offering myself to support them.
Who will be missing out because you don't commit yourself to your work? Who won't be able to experience the incredible gift you bring to the world? How will it impact their lives if you don't stay focused and driven? Think of these folks when you don't want to crawl out of bed at 6am on a Friday morning, or when you aren't motivated to put in a long night to finish your latest project.
4. don't stop inspiring yourself
I love finding inspiration in books, other blogs, podcasts, or the influencers I follow. Reading the very real and human stories of Mindy Kaling or Sophia Amoruso energized me. Listening to The Lively Show as I edit photos puts a little extra spring in my step.
Keep seeking out inspiration. Keep educating yourself and learning of new ideas. Don't ever stop growing, because once you think you're done the rest will become mundane. See each project as a new opportunity and never stop listening to the lessons of others. Find motivation in their stories. Carve out an hour, or even just ten minutes, to read the latest hot book or listen to your favourite podcast in-between meetings. The time is there, and you can find it.
5. set a calendar - and stick to it!
I would be lost without my iCal. Seriously, seriously lost. Due dates, meeting times, I even schedule my 'free time' so I don't find myself just working, working, working. The two problems that cause me to fall out of accountability is feeling overwhelmed with work, or feeling underwhelmed with work. But when I plot out my days (in a pretty, colour coordinated system no less), I can start feeling confident knowing what I have to do that day, and what will come ahead. And if I happen to not have all that much work on deck, I can think of how I will use the extra time to my advantage rather than let it go to waste.
Plans make everything a little easier to handle. Organization is key. And if you fall off plan a little bit - maybe push back working on that projects just another day - don't; a) feel guilty about it, because we all need a break we don't plan now and then; or b) let that become a habit. Calendars only work when you listen to them.
My Day Starts With Coffee Tank: Lofty Living
Grey Jacket: Suzy Shier
Plain White Tank: lululemon athletica
Kimono: My Modern Closet
Black Capris: Addition Elle
Candle: Vancouver Candle Co.'s Yaletown
Locations: Megan's appartment; Central Park, Burnaby
Photographer: Megan te Boekhorst, Kiana Heighton
Camera: Canon 60D