boost-productivity-accountability | Photo Courtesy of When you want to increase productivity in your small business, it makes sense to work on streamlining core operations, prowling blogs like Technorati and Lifehacker for the latest automation ideas and cloud tools. But when you’re facing fear, fatigue and procrastination, it’s time to re-examine basic principles before downloading the latest app or trying a high-tech workaround.

An article on the Fortune Magazine website explains that if you want to improve your overall productivity, the tools for the job are self-knowledge and an accountability partner. These five tips can help you recover your productivity.

  1. Identify your most focused working hours: The first step is to map out the times and days of the week when you tend to do your best work. Many people have more energy and can concentrate better in the morning. Depending on your business, the morning tends to be fairly quiet, while people are more interactive later in the afternoon.
  2. Tackle your most dreaded tasks first: Arrange your schedule so that you tackle important tasks at your most productive times. For example, if you’re having trouble completing invoices on Friday afternoons (a low energy time for many people), try moving the task to Monday morning.
  3. Find a suitable accountability partner: Having someone else who expects you to deliver on your word is a powerful motivator. Choose a person whose work ethic and discipline is equal to (or greater than) yours, then identify concrete, measurable goals and timelines for which you’ll hold each other accountable.
  4. Check in weekly with your accountability partner: A regular check-in establishes a routine and keeps up your momentum, allowing you to accumulate small successes and move on to new projects. By waiting longer than a week to touch base, however, you give each other more time to build up resistance and procrastinate.
  5. Don’t worry, just do: If you’re home from work and find you’re preoccupied by an unfinished task, wrap it up right away. Sure, it may be the weekend, but spending a little time to finish the task beats wasting time worrying about it (and still having to do the job on Monday morning). It’s better to have peace of mind than be distracted the whole weekend.

These five tips can help you use accountability to increase your productivity and develop a more natural, enjoyable work rhythm.

We’d love to hear your feedback. Which of these five productivity tips have you found most effective? Why? Please share your experiences below in the comments section!

Source: Fortune Management, May 2013