For many people, the pandemic is causing a lack of structure, motivation, and ability to focus. Being at home alone without stimulation or company, not being on a schedule, or just the cold weather are factors that might contribute to a kind of sluggishness and feelings of laziness or desire to just hibernate! But oh, the deadlines! The clutter! The piles of projects!

Having an accountability partner is one way to help create interest, motivation, and action for getting things done.

Finding and working with an accountability partner would be a great use of our TimeBank! Just post a message saying you are looking for such a partner and then check back to see who else has done the same. Then make a connection!

How does it work to have an accountability partner? The two of you start by agreeing to contact each other on a certain day and time and set up a schedule. Partners could contact each other every day, every other day, once a week, twice a week, once a month – whatever works best for them. Some people meet several times a day when they are both working on projects with intensity. Meetings can be via telephone, Facetime, Skype, or Zoom. Normally, they could also be done in person also, but hey, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so probably that’s not best right now.

With each phone or other contact with your partner, you have an opportunity to talk about your projects, anything you want to get done, how you are feeling about what you need to do, strategies for accomplishment, or whatever else helps you verbalize any aspect about the work or activities you want to complete. Just talking about something to an active listener can provide insight, motivation, new ways of thinking, and help you get past personal obstacles. It’s so interesting how just talking about something can bring in new energy and thoughts.

The listener may provide ideas, experience, encouragement, and cheerleading. Then you swap jobs, so each person gets to have a turn talking.

How that works can be an agreed upon in advance. Maybe you each get five or 10 minutes, maybe you have another suggestion. The frequency of meetings is determined by whatever works for you and your partner. Be creative and make it work for both of you!

TimeBank Boulder members Dorothy Cohen and Jan DeCourtney have started such a partnership, and it’s working great for both of them! They speak every day around noon for 10 minutes – five minutes for each person – although sometimes they alter the amount of time. They talk about whatever is on their to do list for the day, or discuss completing long-term projects. They have found that some days they are just too busy or have other appointments and cannot have a session, so they skip a day, or make arrangements to talk at a different time. The key is to keep the other person informed as far in advance as possible about any need for a change in schedule. No one wants to go to an empty zoom meeting! Both Jan and Dorothy have found that knowing they have to tell another person later about what they said they would accomplish is a helpful motivator that gets them moving.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: finding and working with an accountability partner would be a great use of your $TD. Just post a message saying you would like to have such a partner and check back often to see who else has done the same. Then make a connection!

So far, Dorothy and Jan have not exchanged $TD but, in keeping with the policy that reporting all exchanges helps the TimeBank directors know how many people are making exchanges and what kinds, in the future they plan to exchange an even number of $TD in order to make exchanges and cover the time they have spent talking to and listening to each other.

In the end, because this is a mutual assistance project, there is no actual cost in $TD for either person. And, it can help you get a whole lot done.