Is there a "buddy system" to encourage accountability?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by rch427, May 26, 2019.

  1. rch427

    rch427 Registered

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    First post here.

    I've read "GTD" and "Ready for Anything", and I have tried to apply their teachings to my life. But I have a question that's diverges a little from GTD, that I'm hoping someone here might be able to answer. Specifically, I'm wondering if there is any kind of an arrangement -- whether it's an app, a website or whatever -- that connects people who need to have someone else hold their feet to the fire, so to speak -- sort of like a "buddy system", but between people who otherwise don't know each other and can be on opposite sides of the world.

    The reason I ask is because I've been left with PTSD and major depression after the untimely death of my wife a couple of years ago, and I find that I no longer feel any motivation to do anything. I'll tell myself that "today I'm going to do X, Y and Z", and then I'll spend 8 hours surfing on-line instead, and end up hating myself for having let myself down once again. I'm concerned that if I don't get some structure and discipline back into my life, and replace the bad habits that have formed since she died with good ones, I'll just keep sliding into the abyss.

    So does anyone know of a group, website or app where people can connect and can help keep each other honest and on-track with their goals and responsibilities for a few minutes a day? These arrangements already exist for people with fitness goals (exercise buddies), who need someone to help push them to stick to their objectives. If there was someone out there whom I knew was going to hold me accountable if I didn't, say, clean up the living room by the end of the day, I think I'd be much more likely to actually stick to my plans. I think that if I managed to replace my current bad habits with good new ones, I wouldn't need oversight for very long; maybe a few months. And in exchange, I could do the same for another person who needs that sort of support.

    If such a thing *doesn't* already exist, here's how I'm thinking it might work: in the morning, before 8am, one would have to send a text, e-mail or IM listing what they plan to do today (wash the dishes, make the bed, work on a project, whatever). The other person would confirm that they got this list. By 6pm, the first person would have to follow-up with proof that they had done these things, via Skype, or sending photos. The second person would confirm that they got those. Any encouragement, advice, feedback, etc., would be welcome, but up to the other person.

    Does this make sense? Does such a group / site / app already exist?
     
  2. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    My wife is enrolled in such a program through her workplace. It just started, but so far it seems a bit gtd, but also a lot of non-gtd material, such as SMART goals. It’s done with teleconferencing and software, and it’s specifically aimed at college faculty who are looking at the next step in their careers. I don’t know if it will be helpful to her or not. However, it sounds to me like you could probably benefit from some coaching and counseling from someone local to help you with the motivational issue. It kind of a pre-existing condition, and I’m not sure gtd would be enough. Please consider, and let us know what we can do on the gtd end. The forums can be pretty supportive.
     
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  3. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    How are SMART goals non-GTD? I thought having goals was an integral part of the Horizons of Focus. :cool:
     
  4. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    There’s actually a Wikipedia entry for SMART goals: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria. The specific meaning of the acronym is interpreted differently by different people, but “The letters S and M generally mean specific and measurable. Possibly the most common version has the remaining letters referring to achievable (or attainable), relevant, and time-bound.”

    Most “time management” books and articles that reference this idea emphasize a specific goal at the outset (S), well-defined metrics along the way (M), and a deadline (T). I think GTD moves away from that rigid framework: it’s ok to have a “look-into” project, and decide not to go forward. It’s ok to have evolving outcomes. Deadlines should be hard deadlines, not made-up. GTD is more aligned with real-world practice, while SMART goals can set you up for what can feel like failure, because you missed an arbitrary deadline.Worse, you may achieve the “goal” but fail to achieve the desired outcome. How many projects are “completed” long after their justification is gone? So goals in GTD yes, SMART goals not so much.
     
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  5. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Okay - I see your point. But a lot of people do not have a problem with setting personal deadlines. I am one of them and I embrace most of the principles of GTD.
     
  6. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Manager-Tools guys get rid of (S). They say (M) & (T) are enough because you can't Measure something if it is not specific and Time is the most important factor. So they use MT goals (Measurable and Time-bound).
     
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  7. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Yes - MT is very important!
     
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  8. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Please don't get me wrong - GTD is the heart of my life system. I could not do without its timeless principles. I have so many major projects on my plate - including two large R01 grants - that I must be strict with personal deadlines to fulfill my responsibilities. Cheers! :)
     
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  9. thomasbk

    thomasbk Registered

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    @rch427 I'm sorry about your wife's death and how difficult the last two years have been for you.

    You didn't mention in your post if you have already done this, but I encourage you to seek counseling and a support group. I think you need more than what an app can provide. We're here to support you and wish you well, but I believe you'll benefit much more from professional help. You're in my thoughts.
     
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  10. Julie_Flagg

    Julie_Flagg Registered

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    Here is another thought - try teaching GTD to somebody who needs it more than you- You find that this helps me to stay up to date with my weekly review and getting things done.

    Untimely death of a spouse is extremely tough. Is there a great coffee shop near by that you can go to a join an informal group? My partner goes to a coffee shop and an informal group convenes and they often discuss what they are planning to do that day or how a job went "yesterday". As far as the specific of writing things down and doing things on your list - think small and force it if you are truly stuck. My go to is wash the car or clean out my desk draw- i think that that is David's go to when he is toast. Beware getting caught up in ever more elaborate systems where you end doing system work instead of the work that really needs to get done ie pay taxes, go grocery shopping with your list. When all else fails write somebody a thank you note or volunteer at the soup kitchen in you community. Good luck. Don't quit.
     
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  11. rch427

    rch427 Registered

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    Thank you, Thomas. Yes, I participated in a 10-week grief support group soon after my wife died, and I've been seeing a therapist for the past two years. It's been hugely helpful, especially in dealing with the PTSD. And I've recently begun Wellbutrin to address the major depression; it seems to be helping.

    But as my therapist has pointed out to me, she's neither a life coach nor a dominatrix, and it's outside of her wheelhouse to ensure I'm making my bed in the morning or getting to other appointments on time.

    I've looked into life coaches, but every one that I've found who seemed like they might be appropriate charged astronomical amounts (especially relative to their qualifications / education), and only offered periodic check-ins. I'm sorry to say that I need daily (hell, hourly!) encouragement and reinforcement in order to change these bad habits for good ones.

    Thank you for your suggestions and concern.

    -- Robert

     
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  12. Gardener

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    For what it's worth, it appears that a useful Google search term for this is "accountability partner". I didn't actually find a solution for you, but a search term can be a starting point.
     
  13. thomasbk

    thomasbk Registered

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    @rch427 I do like the idea of a dominatrix shouting laundry instructions. But a less expensive option would be the Streaks app. Have you seen it? I haven't tried it (I created a simple form for myself that I use to build daily habits), but a lot of people swear by it.
     
  14. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Streaks is very good, but not personal in the way a life coach or dominatrix would be. I suspect that the dominatrix would be cheaper, though.
     
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  15. thomasbk

    thomasbk Registered

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    So I've tried Streaks myself for the last few days. It integrates with health data so it can autocomplete tasks like working out. But I'm going back to my spreadsheet. Normally I like automating things, but for this, I like taking a moment to reflect on my intention as I check items off.
     

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