One of the easiest ways to foster personal accountability is to make others aware of your intentions. Tell a group of cyclist peers that you're going on a two hour ride today, and I'll bet you do it. You may even invite a few just to make sure it happens. If you're a developer, and you've told the client they'll have “feature X” today, you'd better make it happen.
It seems we all have huge and ever growing to-do lists. We add things left and right, from paying the mortgage to picking up pickles at the grocery store. We get bogged down in the minutiae, often missing the most important thing on the list because something else always takes precedence. Sound familiar?
For many, getting started is the most challenging aspect. Check email, do the Facebook and Twitter. Check out Google Reader (yeah, maybe that last one is just me). But then it comes time for work. You know, work, the things that provide the income necessary to keep doing whatever it is we do. They're all to-dos, yes, but something will always be the most important.
The same holds true for our personal lives. If you exercise, then making sure you get the right amount of time in for the day may be the most important thing you're going to do.
The most important thing is going to vary widely per person, and per day, but the gist is there. There are always important things that we really need to do. It's that one, single most important thing – be it work or play – that when checked provides a sense of accomplishment.
Imagine if, of all of the things you'll do today, you always did the single most important thing on the list. Maybe a challenge – a public challenge would make it more fun. One really important thing per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It doesn't sound like much, but it could add up!
Here's the proposal. At the beginning of every day (yes, seven days a week) we tweet the single most important to-do on the list for the day. A meeting, an action item, a ride, picking your child up from school, whatever – just tweet it. Add the hash tag #1onmylist – which of course means “number one on my list.” Then, once completed, follow up with a tweet that simply says “Got #1done!”
For example: ” I'll get billing done today. It's way over due. #1onmylist “
Then follow up with ” Got #1done! Billing sent. “
I encourage you to abstract the details: “Have to get the proposal for Whole Foods done by 3PM” becomes “Have to get a proposal done by 3PM.” Likewise, “Manipedi with David and Brad at TechStars” might just be “Manipedi.” 🙂
What do you think? Want to see where it goes? What's number one on your list today? Tweet it!