How to crowdsource your accountability

The daily dilemma…open a text editor or search “puppies playing” on YouTube

After our self-imposed exile in Bulgaria and Hungary where our only means of communication was elaborate gesture, it’s one heck of a relief to be back in Berlin – a place where homeless people will ask for money in five languages, and Berliners have to order their coffee in English to suit the Australian baristas.

Not only are conversations with the locals going better, but we’ve been meeting up with awesome digital nomads practically every day. And we’d forgotten how much we’re motivated and (urgh) inspired by chatting in person with other people who’re living unconventional lives and doing exciting things.

Which is weird, given that Rob has quite literally written the book about introversion and Mish hates taking off her comfy pyjama bottoms to leave the apartment. Really, we should be happiest tweeting rather than meeting, and Facebooking rather than face-to-faceing.

That isn’t the case though. Like, it’s really not. When it comes to “connecting”, “reaching out” or otherwise trying to make friends and influence people in the virtual world, we’re hopeless. We’ll agonise for ten minutes over a status update, go blank when faced with a 140-character box, and Rob throws strops like you’ve never seen before when he’s told to “just find something to respond to”.

So it’s time to do something about it. We’re both as useless as each other so we can’t swap advice, but we can hold each other accountable. This week we put together a shared spreadsheet with individual goals and tasks, and we’re checking up on each other every day.

(Sound like weird behaviour for a married couple? We thought so too, but we were relieved to see that lots of other digital nomad couples do the same thing.)

What if you don’t have a partner (of the business or pleasure nature) to be accountable to? Well, that’s one of the reasons we’re building our forum – of which more in the next couple of weeks.

But for now, we’ve got a lo-fi way for you to stay accountable to us and other people trying to do the same as you.

We’ve put together a shared Google Drive spreadsheet where you can write in your name and your three goals for the week ahead. Just sign up for the mailing list, and we’ll send you the link on Sunday.

Remember: they need to be goals that you’ll know whether you’ve hit or not. So “work harder to find new customers” won’t cut it, but “send emails to two new people every day” works nicely.

The act of putting your goals in writing in a public place should help in itself – and we can use the chat function to update each other and offer encouragement. And if you check in every so often, seeing other people romping through their to-do list might just inspire you to kick up a few gears with yours. After all, as we’re reminding ourselves in Berlin, it’s all about who you surround yourself with: if you feel like you’re the only one who’s trying to build a business or freelancing career, it’s tough to stay motivated. But if you get to see others making similar steps at the same time as you, it’s far easier.

So let’s give this a go – just join the mailing list to receive the link in next week’s newsletter. And don’t be shy – that’s our job…