accountabilityLast week our son was unscheduled so he and I tackled some projects around the house in between my work commitments. The result of one of our projects? — A porch-full of items for charity. I wanted to get rid of that stuff for a long while.  But last week it was like a fire had been set under us.  Why the change in attitude about getting started?

While working with a client, we tackled an office project that had been weighing on her mind.  As we worked on it, she looked at me and asked, “Why is this so much easier when you’re here?”

In both cases the reason we had so much success is because there were two of us.

Facing a Deadline with a Partner

When you have someone to back you up on a project, many of the roadblocks disappear.  With a project partner you have someone to bounce ideas off of, to keep you focused, to take momentary breaks with you to restore your energy, to think of strategies you may not have come up with on your own, and to hold you accountable for your choices.

As connected as we all are electronically, I still see people every day struggling to forge ahead with tasks or projects with little or no support. Posting a quote on Facebook is easy. Confiding to someone about project struggles or the frustration that comes with procrastination when a deadline approaches takes more guts.

Like that philosopher’s quote, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”  Of course it does.

Even if you are the only one who knows that your project is looming and not yet started — procrastination exists and suffering results.

If you’ve been putting off a project and it’s eating away at you, get some help.  Find just one person you can trust and ask them to be your accountability partner or to brainstorm with you the best way to get started.

Pick your project or task. Pick your helper and take one step.


  1. Erin Joy on July 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Mary – You are SO right on this one. I use this technique all the time to get myself going on things that I’d otherwise put off. Oh, and you are brilliant at what you do! 🙂

  2. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on July 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    That you do not put things off doesn’t surprise me one bit. With the energy you have, nothing seems to hold you back! And thanks for the compliment. Maybe it sounds less pompous when it’s not me talking about me.

  3. EBaer on July 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Brilliant, as usual, Mary! Your pearls of wisdom always strike a cord with me — this one especially! Insightful advice! Thank you!

  4. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on July 31, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Thanks EBaer! Means the world that people read this stuff – and get something from it.

  5. Darla Arni on July 31, 2012 at 11:51 am

    You are so right and the situation is universal! As always, getting started is often the hardest part and the feeling that you are not alone in the venture can be very motivating.

  6. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on July 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks, Darla!