Accountability When You Work From Home



For a short while, work from home included yoga pants and intermittent runs to change laundry and dinner prep.  As the pandemic has gone on, and with close to 90% of the work force working from home, we have found a real need for accountability and focus. There is gap in getting done what is required, doing what we intend to do, and prioritizing getting things done. Add to that, if you have ADHD, there is the inability to make yourself do what you know you should do. Now you are looking to accountability as a solution.


External Accountability through Routines and Organization

We have all set alarms only to ignore these. External accountability can be more than a sound. It can include powerful routines that give us reason to do our important work. Determine your best start to the day, whether that is a morning run or meditation. Giving yourself time to warm up to your work with an intentional “star your work day” plan.  That might be jotting bullets at the end of a work session to prepare where you left off or reviewing notes from the previous work session to catch up. Planning a warm up that is part of your work plunges you into your work.


Do you remember that it was harder to work in your dorm than the library?  Create your work space as a dedicated, organized spot to be accountable to your work. That is a streamlined space with few distractions, good light, an ergonomic chair and little else.  Get in the zone with quiet or headphones. Organize your space to get your work day started and declutter each evening.  These steps can be a warm up and a wind down for work.


External accountability with a team

If you are struggling with being accountable, a team approach helps. A colleague, assistant or virtual assistant is an asset in keeping you accountable for deadlines, next steps and moving forward with purpose. A mutally supportive, open minded and understanding discussion leads to success.  This can be a coaching conversation to start this connection. In your conversation you create agreements that honor the way you want to interact going forward. Similar values, work and life priorities, and understanding your strengths make for accountability.


Coaching conversations during these meetings take many forms. Curiousity and clarity help focus the solutions and drive the conversation forward.  Championing successes and diving into why that success happened creates a learning opportunity.  End these conversations with a realistic deadline and set the next meeting date.


If you want a body double, someone to work parallel to you, try using  This online tool matches you with a partner for each of you to work on your own projects simultaneously.


Accountability with data

Data and metrics drive our work. Set specific goals for your day, week and month to help your accoutability.  Power up those goals with written tracking, such as a chart, check list or graph.  Use your weekly planning time to prioritize and review next week. You will be excited to see all you have accomplished.  In this way, you are checking off more than tasks. You are gaining traction for your big picture goals. The key is finding the right partner to share values.


Wonder what this might look like for you? A simple excel sheet with tracking a project is useful.

Task Sub Task Primary


Additional Participants Description Time to Complete Deadline

Time blocking ensures accountability

Accountability and time blocking go together. Coordinating a time and a task help you be accountable to yourself and your work. It’s less stress because you know your assignment. You can fully engage in deep thinking because you have given yourself permission to work for the duration on one topic.  Be specific on what you are accomplishing during your time block and leave notes for yourself at the end of your time. Write in the next time you will be working on this content.



There are many ways to be more accountable including publicly sharing successes, posting on social media and using technology tools to track your work. Find what works for you to be sure you are doing your best work.

4 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    I think it feels pretty vulnerable to invite people to hold you accountable, but I think it is incredibly motivating. That’s why I always end meetings with a “who” next to every task, so everyone knows who is supposed to do what. This model could work really well in a family, which might feel safer. Maybe a family meeting when you ask your spouse or children could even help as a first step. The body doubling really works. It’s amazing how effective it can be. Julie’s post this week talked about just having an accountability partner through audio, if visual feels uncomfortable. All of these are great ideas!

  2. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    Accountability is the secret sauce in accomplishing goals. It’s one of the reasons my clients engage in my organizing services. When I was doing mostly in-person organizing, my showing up at their home or office provided some of that. Now that I’m offering virtual organizing exclusively, the accountability piece plays an even larger role. It’s incredible to see what clients are accomplishing during and in between sessions with the virtual support.

    I’ve always been self-motivated and typically haven’t had an issue with reaching my goals. This year was different. Things were in slow-motion with the pandemic and all of the changes going on around me. Recently, I discovered the power and value of accountability help for a project I’m working on. And in reading your post, I am grasping that value for myself even more. Thank you.

  3. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    More and more we are hearing about accoutability. It is getting more notice because of the impact. It’s exciting to hear about your pivot and the success your clients are having.

  4. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Thank you @Seana for bringing vulnerability into this conversation. That is truly what will hold people back from using this strategy. Trust is an important element in accountability and finding the right partner for this type of productivity is important.

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