Why I have an accountability buddy

Do you have trouble focusing when you work from home? Do you often find reasons to procrastinate – whether to get a snack, vacuum under your couch or reorganise your Google Drive? Maybe you, too, need an accountability buddy.

By Camilla Buch, Advisor Editorial Content

I work from home a lot. I’d say I’m at the office a handful of times per month, to catch up with colleagues and attend in-person meetings. But most of my team is in a different country and most of my days I spend in what I call “production mode,” when I need to focus and eliminate distractions. So working from home is generally very beneficial for me.

That being said, being at home all day comes with its own challenges. I might not be distracted by chatting with colleagues, but maybe I could load the dishwasher and perhaps I’ll just read this article before getting to work… it’s easy to lose focus and I’m a master procrastinator as it is.

What is an accountability buddy?

That’s where my accountability buddy comes in. An accountability buddy is defined as someone who supports another person to keep a commitment or maintain progress on the desired goal. So if I know I’m having trouble focusing on writing an article, prepping for a workshop or some other solitary task, I can get on a call with my buddy and we can work together, at a distance. Usually, it goes like this:

I connect on Google Meet with my accountability buddy Aparna and go through what we need to get done during our session, say good luck and put us both on mute. This achieves a couple of things:

  1. You have the knowledge that someone’s there if you need to spitball ideas, but you eliminate the constant sounds that come with being at the office.
  2. You have someone to hold you accountable – someone you respect and trust knows what you’re meant to be doing and will check in on your progress at the end of the session.
  3. Having your camera on means that you are more likely to stay and actually do the work because someone can see you – instead of wandering off to load the dishwasher or some other task not on your current to-do list.

Your accountability buddy can be someone on your team with whom you share goals and tasks, but it can also be someone outside of your team – or a complete stranger! 

Tips and tricks for you and your accountability buddy

  1. Agree beforehand on the time period you both want to get on a call
  2. Use the raise the hand option so you don’t suddenly startle the other person
  3. Have a short talk on some ground rules – like how long you will chat, and how often would you like to check-in.
  4. Set a limit for chit-chat – maybe 5-10 minutes before you go on mute!

If you’re the only one in your team who works remotely, it can be a challenge to find someone to use this method with, but there are a number of services out there that can help. Or you could just share this to get someone’s attention!