At the beginning of January I like to buy a new stock of stationery. It’s a girl thing probably, but who doesn’t like a smart new book to write in? One of my regular ‘acquirements’ is a homework diary. We’re talking the kind a school pupil would use – with the little triangle in the bottom right hand corner that you tear off after each day is completed.
I very much live in the digital world, but I like a clean page upon which I can write my three, or at most four, urgent tasks for that day. These are tasks which I have to get done, come rain or shine.
When we were at school we were regularly assigned homework and it’s amazing what a deadline and a prescribed task can do in terms of boosting productivity. Somehow, despite all the distractions of television, bike rides with your friends and the latest pair of luminous socks, we all managed to keep focused and get the tasks done.
Three years ago, I was inspired to get myself an ‘accountability buddy’ after I read a book called ‘The Four Disciplines of Execution’ by Chris McChesney. This is a book based around how we manage to achieve tasks, despite all the chaos in our work lives, despite the whirlwind.
The idea is that you make a promise to carry out small, achievable tasks, which builds towards an ambitious big goal, called a ‘Wildly Important Goal’ or ‘WIG’.
Your WIG buddy knows your goals, and you know theirs. Every week, you have a short ‘WIG’ meeting, and you hold each other accountable! I choose to sit down every Thursday at 8pm with a glass of wine and two fellow accountability buddies and we go through the small tasks that we set for ourselves during the week.
Do not underestimate the power of the WIG!
So far in the last two years it’s enabled one of us to achieve a major work qualification, to have received £15,000 for a ‘PPI’ claim (that would never have been claimed for otherwise), and the setting up of two new businesses. If you don’t have an accountability buddy you invariably end up with a fanciful looking list of ‘to do’s’, which you fail to execute upon.
Good intentions without action = Zero progress.
I actually consider that a little panic is a good thing. Do you remember when you might have been learning a musical instrument, and that dreaded feeling when you knew that your piano lesson was later that day, and you hadn’t learned your scales?
It really doesn’t matter how late you action the WIG task, as long as it is actioned.
Many a time I’ve managed to complete a twenty minute piece of work on commute home, and felt smug that I could turn up at the WIG meeting, with the job done. This would never have happened otherwise.
It’s also a great opportunity to celebrate the small successes!
Sometimes a task seems huge, procrastination gets in the way, and we never get started. Every little milestone that we reach, proves to us that we are able to divide and conquer, and this needs to be a key feature in the growing of your private practice.
Get yourself an accountability buddy – it doesn’t have to be somebody clinical, in fact my two accountability buddies work in the field of Tech and Home Office Organisation, and neither of them have ever seen a patient in their lives. Yet somehow we all face the same business challenges.
Start your WIG group today.
Set yourselves a weekly date, order some good wine and tuck into those tasks that are really going to push the needle on growing your private practice.
Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in building our practices – from a business perspective, as well as a clinical one.
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