I Suck at Being Accountable…

There is no productivity system or tool that I can't ignore and make useless. Honestly. I am the worse. In order to juggle three jobs (attorney, podcaster, business owner) - or maybe it's four or five if you add social butterfly and family - I have an elaborate productivity system designed to keep me on track, moving forward, and accomplishing great things. And yet, it is a system that I can successfully ignore or change whenever it is needed such that I don't get nearly as much accomplished as I ought to or want to.

Am I the only one like this? No really... who else is this bad? It's kind of like my fitness regime. I collect gym memberships. I don't use them, I just collect them. Don't believe me? Why, because of these washboard abs? I have a lifetime membership to LA Fitness, access to the gym at Lakewood CC, and I have a freaking full gym downstairs in my home. Not to mention my expired memberships at CrossFit, LifeTime Fitness, and Orange Theory. WTF?

And it's the same way with systems for getting things done (GTD). I subscribe to the productivity channel on my FlipBoard app on my phone and read probably half a dozen articles a day regarding productivity tools, schemes, methods, etc. I am a freaking GTD junkie. And still...

The most successful tool in my arsenal is Daylite in which I manage my law practice. All of my to-do's, appointments, and tasks are maintained in Daylite which runs on all my Apple platforms and syncs seamlessly between them all. And this works very well. It better. Because the failure to manage these things correctly can result in a malpractice claim and disbarment. THAT, boys and girls, is a real accountability partner.

But it is the rest of my world that flounders because I know how to, and often do, beat the system. OmniFocus is my choice as a task management tool for everything else (podcasting, law business, household projects, and personal growth). There is nothing you can't manage in OmniFocus - but there is no threat of disbarment. That's my achilles heel. So I push deadlines back, delete tasks, give up on projects, and then finally stop opening the app. Poof! Problem ignored.

So calendar everything people say. Block out time on your calendar, shut off the phones, get things done. I have a great calendaring system and in fact, I really can't manage my life without it. It runs on all of my devices including my Apple Watch. And yet... same thing. If I miss a self imposed deadline or fail to do the work that I have blocked out the hour for - there is no consequence. My feet really aren't held to the fire.

And then there is Reminders. This is a very robust system, much more capable than most people realize, in the Apple ecosystem. And the beauty of this system is that it can bug the heck out of you until you complete the item. And you can share the Reminders with family members or colleagues who then too will bug the bejeezus out of you to make sure things get done. So I reserve this tool for things that I really want people to bug me about - which is almost nothing.

So what is the answer! Hell if I know. All I know is that as hard as I work, I am really only working at about 50% efficiency and maybe not even that. I know in my heart of hearts I could get more done if my system just held me more accountable - if I had to answer for my failures more. I had an accountability buddy for awhile but I was able to fool her to the point that her eyes glazed over and she begged me to fire her - which I did.

I have got to get a handle on this. So here is my plan. I am rededicating myself to using the systems I have and sticking with them. I am trying to adopt the philosophy found in Gary Keller and Jay Papasan's book "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results". In this book, the authors advocating focusing on "the one thing I can do today, such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary." And I am trying to build my "accountability muscles". For more on that, stay tuned to our next blog post.

About the author, Neil Tyra

All through his legal career, Neil has been a pioneer in the use of leveraging technology to allow for the growth and prosperity of his law firm while providing outstanding client service. Recognition of his expertise and leadership in the legal technology space culminated in his creation of the popular legal podcast “The Law Entrepreneur”.

The podcast addresses the statement “What They Didn’t Teach Us about Running a Business in Law School”. It focuses on what it takes to start and run a solo or small firm law practice. Mostly the podcast includes interviews with successful solos and small firms to learn what they are doing right, what they have done wrong, what they wish they would have done differently. In addition, Neil interviews other entrepreneurs and business owners whose skill sets might be of interest to new law firm owners. Lastly, he loves to have what he calles “gadget folks” - those who have a product or service to sell that might help solo attorneys - on the show.